Trump's budget boosts military spending, slashes programs for the poor

Brunilde Fioravanti
Mag 24, 2017

To reach its objectives the plan envisages dramatic cuts to various humanitarian and welfare programs, Social Security and Medicaid, which provides health coverage for millions of Americans including low-income adults, people with disabilities and children.

-Veterans: The budget proposal calls for an increase for the Veterans Administration, including $29 billion over the next decade for the Choice program. "This requires laying a new foundation for American Greatness", the budget message of the U.S. president says".

"We're no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs, but by the number of people we help get off of those programs", Mulvaney said, according to The Week.

After the release of the President Trump's budget on Tuesday, a diverse array of urban and rural advocates, including Republicans, were united in opposition.

Mulvaney said Tuesday that "sustained, 3 percent economic growth" is the foundation of Trump-enomics that everything the administration does is based on. "They're talking about 3 percent growth for the long-run future, and we haven't seen 3 percent growth for a long time", said Alice Rivlin, former vice chair of the Federal Reserve and founding director of the Congressional Budget Office. The administration, MacGuineas points out, has put far too much pressure for the cuts on too small a sliver of the budget, that is, non-discretionary defense spending, rather than on entitlements, which make up the majority of the federal budget.

Republicans have already signaled, seemingly in a way to cut off focus on Trump's budget, that the document will undoubtedly be changed.

"All POTUS budgets are", he tweeted.

Deborah Weinstein, executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs, an advocacy group representing more than 100 anti-poverty organizations, called on lawmakers to "reject the bleak and unsafe vision in President Trump's budget". Susan Collins, R-Maine, added.

Trump's budget would cut Medicaid by a lot, despite the president telling the Daily Signal days before launching his White House bid, "I'm not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I'm not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid". "Democrats and Republicans will tell President Trump and his minions to stay at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue".

Overall, the tone from Republicans on the Trump budget was that the cuts in the plan were not good policy - and almost impossible to sell politically.

But to achieve balance, Trump is seeking sharp cuts in a variety of programs for the poor from Medicaid to food stamps and disability payments. The fiscal 2018 request is for eight vessels, including $1.2 billion for one Littoral Combat Ship, two Virginia-class submarines for $5.5 billion and two DDG-51 Flight III destroyers for $4 billion - all as planned under Obama.

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.

Some of Trump's most far-reaching cuts slice into the social safety net.

"You would hope that they would want to ask the folks who know the most about it", said Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, adding he and his staff were not consulted.

"We are not kicking anyone off of any program who really needs it", he said.

"If it picks up on the House version, I think it risks pulling the rug out on people who are now getting coverage", Portman said. "And we will do that".

$143bn would be cut from student loan programs.

On Tuesday, Mick Mulvaney, Trump's budget chief, did not provide a direct answer or explanation to questions about double-counting. "The CBO assumes that we'll never grow at more than 1.9% again", said Mulvaney. EPA would lose about one third of its funding, including a steep cut to the office dealing with clean air and global climate change. He has called it a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese multiple times, although he has seemingly softened that stance in recent months.

President Trump's inaugural budget proposal claims to eliminate the nation's deficit in 10 years, thanks largely to faster economic growth that it projects will come from the president's sweeping tax cuts.

But it could be the start of real bargaining that goes something like this: Trump doubles his offer (unlike Mulvaney, he doesn't care about budgetary red ink), uses some money from a tax on foreign income of US companies, gets Saudi Arabia and other countries to chip in for energy-related projects and some public-private deals.

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