POLITICS

Trump Donates His Salary To National Park Service

President Donald Trump donated his salary to the National ParkService (NPS), White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced ina press conference Monday.

Trump previously pledged during his first post-election TVinterview to refuse the $400,000 salary he would earn aspresident. Spicer announced that Trump would donate his salary to afederal agency every quarter.

Trump made that same pledge during a campaign rallyin September 2016.

Only John F. Kennedy and Herbert Hoover have declined to take the salary of the presidency, asthey were both extremely wealthy.

The Parks Service really needs the money.

U.S. national parks and forests owe $17.2 billion in deferredmaintenance and other backlogged expenses. Currently, NPS owesalmost $12 billion in deferred maintenance and other backloggedexpenses, meaning the agency would need to spend five timesthe amount it gets every year from Congress to fix its maintenancebacklog, which is expected to grow each year. The U.S. ForestService has a similar backlog of roughly $5.2 billion.

Much of the enormous backlog facing the two agencies is causedby expanding operations at the expense of basic maintenance. TheNPS added 18 new units to the national parks system since2009, costing the agency an enormous amount of money. Asthe mission of NPS expanded, the agency became increasinglyunable to fund necessary maintenance projects.

The correlation between new park units and deferred maintenanceis quite direct. The U.S. government has spent more than $10billion acquiring new public lands, according to the Congressional Research Service.

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