Trump's first budget calls for deep cuts to Medicaid

2017 a GPO worker stacks copies of
Trump's first budget calls for deep cuts to Medicaid
Author

23 May, 2017

The cuts are part of a budget blueprint for the upcoming fiscal year that begins on October 1. He has already broken that promise on Medicaid by backing cuts to the program called for under the Obamacare repeal bill passed by the House on May 4.

Details of the budget circulating in Washington on Monday drew outrage from Democrats and a mix of anxiety and praise from Republicans, illustrating the political minefield that policymakers face as they debate whether to turn the proposals into law. It would reduce spending on programs like food stamps (or SNAP), Social Security disability insurance benefits, additional income for poor seniors, disabled adults and children (SSI), and public assistance for needy families (TANF).

"This is, I think, the first time in a long time the administration has written a budget through the eyes of the people paying the taxes", Mulvaney told reporters.

Enrollment in SNAP soared in the years after the Great Recession, leading some critics to label former President Obama the "food stamp president". "We need everybody pulling in the same direction".

Trump is proposing to spend more on defense, border security and infrastructure. Special exemptions would be made for Israel and Egypt. It proposes to get to 3 percent growth by radically redistributing federal money away from programs for the poor and toward an enormous surge in defense spending and tax cuts.

The program cost $71 billion in fiscal 2016. Separately, the budget would eliminate all federal support for Planned Parenthood, the health-care provider that conservatives often attack.

Presidential budgets are mere suggestions, and the White House has discretion to assume higher economic growth rates of up to 3 percent or so under Trump's agenda of tax changes, loosened regulations and infrastructure spending. Medicaid is the third largest program domestic program in the federal budget, behind Social Security and Medicare.

The Trump budget also assumes major tax reform will occur, and he's called for major tax cuts that could disproportionately help wealthy individuals and corporations.

Agencies have speculated over the extent of the cuts for the past two months, but all the guessing will end with the line-by-line budget request being unveiled in the morning. "What he's trying to do is work with Congress, where a lot of these ideas started, and put something together". The White House can only make suggestions about spending, after all. "Where's the outreach to them?" he asked.

Trump's initial budget outline for discretionary spending received a tepid response from Congress, which controls the purse strings, and, ultimately, government spending.

He said: "I just think it's the prerogative of Congress to make those decisions in consultation with the president. This week he's more ideological, next week he could be less ideological".

He said the budget includes a fully paid-for plan to provide six weeks of paid family leave to new parents, though it was unclear how it would work. He said in March he wanted to boost defense spending and slash foreign aid. Mulvaney said the difference was due to the White House's use a formula that would grow Medicaid spending at a slower rate.

The White House also proposed radically slashing farm supports by $38 billion over 10 years, including new limits on premiums for crop insurance and caps for commodity payments.

In addition, Republican senators and representatives from swing states and districts may be concerned that voting for Medicaid cuts could hurt their chances of re-election in 2018.

Trump promised during the campaign, however, that he would not touch those programs. He promises a new parental leave program championed by his daughter Ivanka, but will fall short on his promises for a massive tax cut.

Liberals decry the cuts to the poor, especially programs like food stamps that keep millions of American children from starving. The goal is to prevent illegal workers from claiming them, even if they have children who are American citizens.

More economic growth means more revenues and fewer expenditures on programs such as unemployment.

The projections were published alongside scores of the broader budget originally proposed by the Trump administration earlier this year, which counts on a dramatic reduction in the federal budget deficit over the same period. "People actually resent neighbors who are getting goodies they haven't worked for. How this plays out will depend on how he handles it".


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