Trump's budget calls for deep cuts to social safety net

Olive Rios
May 27, 2017

What Mulvaney never addressed is the effect all of this would have on state budgets, 31 of which are run by Republican governors, and almost all of which would have their budgets obliterated by the cost-shifting that the Trump budget achieves.

Medicaid, the government insurance program for the poor and many disabled Americans, would be cut by more than $600 billion over 10 years by capping payments to states and giving governors more flexibility to manage their rosters of Medicaid recipients.

The administration also proposes to privatize the nation's air traffic control system, which budget documents suggest would boost the budget deficit by about $45 billion over 10 years.

To be sure, there are tons of assumptions priced into the budget, which factors a projected 3 percent annual rise in GDP - something many economists are calling "optimistic." Why? The Congressional Budget Office estimates that would reduce federal Medicaid spending by $839 billion over 10 years.

"Many in agriculture and rural America are likely to find little to celebrate within the budget request", Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt, the Republican chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees agriculture spending, told Perdue.

Mulvaney asked the bipartisan panel. "We stand by the numbers", he told reporters yesterday. It had been expected that Congress wouldn't have to act on the politically painful measure until sometime this fall, but tax revenues are coming in lower than previously estimated.

There is some new spending in Trump's plan for fiscal year 2018, which starts in October.

The proposal also adds $2.6 billion for border security and immigration enforcement - including $1.6 billion for building a wall on the U.S. -Mexico border, one of Trump's controversial campaign promises. The announcement surprised oil markets and briefly pulled down US crude prices.

Mulvaney, however, has signaled that the Trump administration is more concerned about reducing tax burdens than preserving services for those who rely on them.

But the effort has stalled as the White House grapples with the political fallout from allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

Those are the values and priorities in Donald Trump's first budget as president.

"Can we justify this to the folks who are actually paying for it?" he asked the committee about the programs Trump's budget seeks to eliminate. It foresees an overhaul of the tax code, which analysts say could direct most of its benefits to upper-income earners.

"This trump budget is shockingly extreme", Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said. By contrast, the plan seeks far fewer reductions in the departments of homeland security, interior and justice - and accompanies major increases in defense spending. He called the assumption at odds with the historical record - pointing out that the current economic expansion of 94 months has already long outstripped the average American economic expansion: "But what you presume in this budget is not only will we not have a recession - though we're in the third-longest economic expansion in history - but it's going to keep going for another 214 months".

"Every Republican wants to do a big number on Social Security, they want to do it on Medicare, they want to do it on Medicaid - and we can't do that". "I will fight tooth and nail in opposition to these unsafe and devastating cuts to programs Hawaii families depend on every day".

The budget not only slashes funding for food stamps by $191 billion over the next decade - that is, by more than a quarter - but also proposes charging retailers a new fee if they want to accept food stamps from customers. Sen. Lindsey Graham called the plan "terrible" because of cuts to the State Department.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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