COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - With the release of the Trump administration's FY 2018 budget proposal, the potential impacts on South Carolina residents are slowly beginning to surface.
A big cut for residents in Aiken County – funding would be halted for a program altogether that creates fuel for nuclear power plants. The project is the Mixed Oxide Fabrication Facility Project, or "MFFF."
MOX stands for "mixed oxide", which is essentially nuclear waste turned into nuclear fuel to be used in power plants.
It has not been produced in the U.S. yet.
Both South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Representative Joe Wilson have issued statements in opposition to the cut.
Senator Graham's statement reads in full:
"The reasons were clear. It violates an important international non-proliferation agreement. It also doesn't take into consideration the legislative and regulatory changes needed to store the excess material underground. And it fails to account for the political opposition, on both sides of the aisle, that is likely to occur and will undoubtedly result in extended delays. This plan
"This budget proposal, much like the Obama Administration's, embraces a process of 'dilute and dispose' for surplus weapons-grade plutonium. There are several shortcomings with this approach. First, it has already been considered. Second, it was rejected.
"I was hoping the Trump Administration's budget proposal would mark a clean break from Obama's failed approach to MOX. Instead, it appears they are doubling-down. will strand the material in place – which is unacceptable. The only option with a clear disposition path is MOX.
"In Congress, I will continue to work with the members of our delegation and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry on the correct path forward. I think we should work toward a fixed lifetime contract negotiated between the Department of Energy and the contractor. Let's see if we can get a better price in place without crippling this important national security program."
Meanwhile, Representative Wilson told WIS he's concerned that jobs would be jeopardized. He says as many as 2,000 people are employed there who may travel from across the state. He's also concerned about the health and environmental impacts.
"I am concerned that by not completing the MOX facility that we will have storage of weapons-grade plutonium dumping which could have a negative impact on the people of South Carolina and of Georgia."
The Trump administration justifies the costs by saying the facility is not almost complete, and the cost to complete it would be steep.
Another significant cut that could affect many South Carolinians is the proposed cuts to the SNAP program, or food stamps. The budget calls for $193 billion in cuts for the SNAP program. As of 2016, more than 765,549 South Carolinians received SNAP benefits.
According to the South Carolina Department of Social Services, 45 %of SNAP recipients are children under the age of 18.
The 2018 budget proposes cuts to many domestic programs including social welfare programs like SNAP.
But, while the MOX facility and SNAP are on the chopping block, another major employer and economic driver in South Carolina is getting a boost.
The president's budget calls for a $54 billion increase for the Department of Defense. According to the administration, this is in an effort to rebuild the armed forces.
The budget calls for funding for 56,400 more soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. That means more funding for Fort Jackson in Columbia and Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter.
Fort Jackson would receive $60 million in 2017, and Shaw would receive $25 million, according to D.O.D. paperwork.