Trump administration sending Congress $4.1 trillion budget

by Antonio Miles May 24, 2017, 4:51

President Donald Trump would dramatically reduce the US government's role in society with $3.6 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years in a budget plan that shrinks the safety net for the poor, recent college graduates and farmers.

The Trump administration's proposed 2018 budget cuts billions from public health and biomedical research programs.

The White House on Tuesday will ask Republicans who control the U.S. Congress-and federal purse strings-to slash spending on healthcare and food assistance programs for the poor as they push ahead on plans to cut taxes and trim the deficit.

Planned Parenthood officials said Tuesday that many of their clients don't have other places to get health care. Those cuts follow a partial plan from March that targeted domestic agency operations and foreign aid that were quickly dismissed by lawmakers.

"There's a certain message here and it's from the president of the Congress that say, 'look here are my priorities in terms of what I want to spend more and here's the big ticket items, '" Mulvaney said. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said as he predicted the Medicaid cuts wouldn't survive the Senate. Over a decade, it calls for hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid, food stamps and disability benefits.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney explained this problem away (with Trump in Israel) by asserting in a Monday night briefing that proposals in the plan to cut Social Security disability benefits don't count because they're not retirement payments.

The White House proposed changes that would require more childless people receiving help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps, to work.

"We need folks to work", Mulvaney said.

Perhaps the most damaging sign for Trump's budget is that many lawmakers in his own party have taken issue with all or parts of the plan.

Higher growth means lower deficits and Mr Trump's plan folds in more than 2 trillion dollars (£1.5 trillion) in unspecified deficit savings over the coming decade from "economic feedback" to promise balance.

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Even with this flawed document and the poisonous atmosphere, the administration's proposed $200 billion for infrastructure projects over 10 years could pave the way for some congressional accord.

Trump would keep campaign pledges to leave core Medicare and Social Security benefits for the elderly alone but that translated into even deeper cuts in programs for the poor such as Medicaid and food stamps.

Tom Frieden, M.D., the former director of the CDC, took to Twitter and called the budget cuts to the agency "unsafe at any level of enactment".

Trump has promised a wall on the southern US border that Mexico will eventually pay for, and the budget includes $2.6 billion in 2018 - $1.6 billion for "new and replacement border wall" in certain locations and about $1 billion for other items including aircraft, equipment and surveillance technology to deter illegal activity.

He then outlined the direct impact the cuts would have on CDC's programs, including to emergency preparedness programs and immunizations.

Also, because the ACA allowed states to expand Medicaid eligibility, millions of people qualified for health coverage.

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. 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. Its proposal calls for significant cuts to social safety net programs and assumes more robust economic growth. The proposal also promises to lower corporate tax rate to 15 percent.

The budget proposal includes nearly $670 billion in defense spending (split between base military accounts and overseas contingency funds) and $180-billion plus for the Department of Veterans Affairs, both totals the White House has touted as fulfilling Trump's promise to take care of troops and veterans.

-Border security: The proposal includes $2.6 billion for border security technology, including money to design and build a wall along the southern border.

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