Trump budget cuts may stir backlash in rural America

Olive Rios
May 24, 2017

Lawmakers from both parties have said major changes will be needed as the measure moves through Congress.

A GPO worker stacks copies of "Analytical Perspectives Budget of the U.S. Government Fiscal Year 2018" onto a pallet at the U.S. Government Publishing Office's plant in Washington on Friday.

A 2018 fiscal year budget plan released Monday by the Trump Administration proposes slashing the Department of Transportation's budget by almost $17 billion annually by 2022, as well as allowing more tolls on U.S. Interstates and boosting efforts to draw private investors to fund highways. The truth about this purportedly balanced budget based on magically creating three percent economic growth each year is just another Trumpian "alternative" fact.

Administration officials say they want to tighten work requirements to get millions of people off government support programs and back into the labor force, saying that will help them achieve their ambitious goal of boosting economic growth on a sustained basis to 3 percent annual gains.

"Trump's budget would cause disproportionate pain in the rural communities he promised to help - including those in Southern and Southwest Virginia and the Valley - by eliminating the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Economic Development Administration, and clean coal research that could help revitalize Southwest Virginia's economy", Kaine said in a prepared statement.

Food stamp cuts would drive millions from the program, while a wave of Medicaid cuts - on top of more than $800 billion in the House-passed health care bill - could deny nursing home care to millions of elderly poor people. "States would be required to provide six weeks of parental leave and the proposal gives it broad latitude to design and finance the program", stated the budget. To maintain coverage for the state's most vulnerable (children, people with disabilities, and older adults) North Carolina will have to raise taxes or make draconian cuts - to provider payments, benefits, enrollment or all of the above. "That said, I believe some of the cuts requested -particularly the drastic cuts aimed at the federal crop insurance program - are misguided and fail to address the biggest drivers of debt in our country". But that program is the safety net for poor people, right? Ryan said Trump's plan should be praised for seeking balance over ten years.

Members of the House Freedom Caucus said earlier this year that Trump would have to show how he would offset the cost of a wall, which Democrats flatly oppose. The new program has been championed by Trump's daughter, Ivanka.

Trump told Mulvaney not to make any cuts to Medicare benefits or the retirement program within Social Security, two of the government's most expensive line items.

The National Institutes of Health programs that this year will provide more than $210 million for University of California researchers would fall by about 20 percent.

Trump is seeking $52 billion more for the Pentagon as part of an overall defense spending increase of $54 billion. Of the 10 states that have the most food stamp recipients, seven went Republican in the 2016 presidential election - Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

The budget also includes sharp cuts to agencies and some entitlement programs. In agriculture, it would limit subsidies to farmers, including for purchasing crop insurance, an idea already attacked by farm state lawmakers.

Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said Tuesday morning that he preferred the title, "A Taxpayer-First Budget", insisting the document takes the perspective of an American handing over money earned. Trying to balance the budget isn't in the plan in Congress, but conservative Republicans are pushing for some action this year on spending cuts.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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