Published: Fri, May 26, 2017
Local | By Adrian Hale

Trump Budget Promises Balance In Decade, Relies On Deep Cuts

Trump Budget Promises Balance In Decade, Relies On Deep Cuts

During a hearing about the $3.6 trillion in cuts to domestic programs included in President Trump's proposed budget, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney made a case that the fiscal interests of the unborn should take precedence over the lives of present-day Americans - or at least those who rely on food stamps to eat or public schools to educate their children.

President Trump's budget keeps to his campaign pledge to leave Medicare and Social Security pension benefits alone and contains spending increases for the military and veterans, but it treats most of the rest of the government as fair game. Even before its release, it was widely panned by Republicans and Democrats.

Trump's proposed budget cuts $610 billion from Medicaid over the next decade. People familiar with the plan were not authorized to discuss it by name and spoke on condition of anonymity. The cuts include $800 billion from Medicaid and $193 billion from food stamps. The program presently serves about 42 million people.

The facts are that the proposed budget cuts Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program by $616 billion, food stamp program by $191 billion, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program by $22 billion and Social Security disability benefits by almost $70 billion -- all over the next decade.

Rep. John Carter, a Texas Republican who chairs the subcommittee, described the proposed cuts as "worrisome" and also questioned the need to add thousands of new immigration jail beds. Aderholt said that program "is something we should be proud of" and eliminating it "runs entirely counter to the idea of buy American, hire American" that Trump has championed. "Production agriculture is in the worst slump since the depression - 50 percent drop in the net income for producers".

"We don't want to measure compassion by the number of programs we have and the number of people on them". Trump's plan, drawn up by White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, lands as Trump's GOP allies in Congress are grappling with repealing and replacing former President Barack Obama's health care law and looking ahead to a hard rewrite of the loophole-clogged USA tax code. It would create three tax brackets - 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent - instead of the current seven. "Sometimes it's not about health, it's about basic needs if it's transportation, and also the importance of child care, and early childhood education because when children start early in childhood education, it enforces their whole lifeline, so a lot of times we want to let them know that it's important", Michelle George said.

Trump's budget will not stand, of course, as even Republicans in Congress will balk at food stamp cuts and the crop insurance cuts and perhaps even the cuts on the rolls of Social Security disability - something Democrats will rightly characterize as the first GOP volley against Social Security itself.

Job training for unemployed coal miners would be threatened and drug treatment programs would face cuts at a time when heroin and prescription pill addictions are tearing at rural America.

"I would think that the health care bill is our best policy statement on Medicaid going forward", said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the program.

The budget also slashes funding for other low-income assistance programs, the State Department, global aid and the Department of Education.

The grants are appropriated by Congress every year but were never authorized.

The proposal cuts funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In an op-ed published yesterday, he wrote that the budget represents a reversal from prioritizing the interests of the poor to "putting taxpayers first". There's little sign they will have a change of heart now, especially with Trump's administration in turmoil and his poll ratings at historic lows.

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