Blue state blowback? Less money for Oregon during Trump administration?

By the end of President George W. Bush's two terms, federal funds made up just under 20 percent of the state's budget. By the end of President Barack Obama's two terms, federal funds made up just over 29 percent of the state's budget. Yellow = general fund; red = lottery funds, and green = other funds. (Graphic: KATU)

Decisions on the amount of federal dollars Oregon will receive during a Trump presidency will likely be driven by a way of thinking about the role of government and not on how the state voted in the presidential election.

Oregon votes heavily Democratic in presidential races, and on many policy issues it comes to a head with the Republican-controlled Congress and the executive branch. Will Oregon’s well-known Blue-state status affect how much federal spending is doled out for the state?

A look at history may shed some light on that question.

Under Republican President George W. Bush’s two terms, Oregon’s federal funding started at just over $8 billion and 21.9 percent of the state’s budget. It grew to 9.4 billion but less than 20 percent of the budget.

During Democratic President Barack Obama’s two terms, Oregon federal funding was at $15 billion and 26 percent of Oregon’s budget. It jumped to $18.3 billion and more than 29 percent of the state budget.

“Those sorts of decisions are not dependent on Oregon is a Blue state and Republicans control Congress,” said PSU political science professor Chris Shortell. “That’s a much bigger policy question about which direction the Republican Party wants to go in.”

He said everything, including from the ongoing Robert Mueller investigation into Russian election meddling to midterm congressional election results could sway federal spending.

The coming state biennium budget counts on even more federal funds -- $21.7 billion, or more than 29 percent of the state budget through 2019.

Shortell said funding cuts based on policies, in programs like Medicare, will likely hit every state whether Red or Blue.

“So I would say, on the whole, most of the expenditures that Oregon is expecting are likely to come, but there may be some shifts to that that happen as a result of Republican control of Congress and the presidency,” Shortell said.

He said those federal funds are often distributed by congressional district and Oregon Republican U.S. Rep. Greg Walden could have a big say in whether Oregon gets its share of federal money if Republicans hold onto control in Congress.

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