Trump's food stamp cuts face hard sell in Congress

Trump's food stamp cuts face hard sell in Congress

It is being released, unusually, with President Trump out of town on his first foreign trip in office.

The White House delivered President Donald Trump's first full budget to Congress on Tuesday, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director Mick Mulvaney promptly tried to spin $4.1 trillion in proposed cuts to social services as an act of "compassion" for wealthy taxpayers. "We don't have enough money to take care of people, everybody who doesn't need help". "This heartless proposal would slash Medicaid and disability insurance, cripple our health care system, and gut programs that help New Yorkers warm their homes, feed their children, and find quality affordable housing", he said in a statement. "Whether they're here illegally or not", Feinberg noted, "those families have American-citizen children".

Such cuts - which include "zeroing out" programs like community development block grants and heating aid to the poor - were ignored when Congress earlier this month wrapped up a massive spending bill for the current year.

At this, another reporter in the room interjected: "You're cutting that, too".

Although it is not expected to survive on Capitol Hill, the proposal puts numbers on Trump's vision of a government that radically cuts assistance to lower-income Americans.

In a message with the budget, Trump called it a chance to "reprioritize federal spending so that it advances the safety and security of the American people". That, the Trump administration seems to have realized, is a more worthy goal than fulfilling a campaign-trail promise not to touch it at all. In other words - a cruelty wrapped in a lie.

"More for the military, less for the poor", "Trump's draft budget breaks the promise of the campaign with cuts worth 800 billion dollars to Medicaid" and "Trump's budget strongly strikes his own voters" are some of the headlines in US media. He lops a total of $1.7 trillion off that and similar programs, including food stamps, school lunches and Habitat for Humanity.

"The proposed budget appears to be punitive, appears to target groups of people who can't lobby on their own behalf", Savage said.

Perdue had no defense: "I think your comments are essentially irrefutable", he said.

The budget predicts a sweeping tax overhaul package that would strengthen economic growth while providing few details of how the tax code would change. The poor and working poor pay little or nothing in federal income taxes - and they would get little or nothing.

The disability benefits will see over $72 billion in cuts. NNSA Administrator Frank G. Klotz said the budget would ensure "that US nuclear forces are modern, robust, flexible, resilient, ready and appropriately tailored to deter 21st-century threats and reassure our allies".

In the end, however, said NYU and College of New Rochelle political science professor Jeanne Zaino, the budget is much more about politics than it is about economics, which is why the budget that passes Congress is likely to look very different from the one that the Trump Administration just proposed.

Experts are also skeptical of a core assumption being factored into "Trumpenomics", as described by Mulvaney on Monday: a forecast of three percent sustained economic growth.

The Trump administration said its plan would balance the federal budget in 10 years - but critics say it will come at the expense of people like the 1.7 million Arizonans on Medicaid.

The budget also calls for the shifting of air-traffic-control functions from towers run by the Federal Aviation Administration to "nonprofit, nongovernment" entities for the sake of reducing both air-traffic congestion and federal spending on the FAA.

Those families may thrive under the pressure, or they may crumble, but this budget says it's a risk worth taking.

A sizable portion of the cuts to domestic spending would be made to Medicaid. Mulvaney's response was about Obamacare. "It's wrong. If a central policy is tax cuts, you should include tax cuts in your budget and account for them". "The short answer is I don't know", Mulvaney said.

The plan is laced with $3.6 trillion in cuts to domestic agencies, food stamps, Medicaid, highway funding, crop insurance and medical research, among others. But he wasn't really fooling anybody - certainly not the man from Sputnik. Trump promised during his campaign that he wouldn't touch the people's retirement, as well as the Medicare, although these two are the top contributors to the United States' debt.

Feinberg's reports were true.

But he argued that Trump's budget plan, unlike Obama's, focuses on balancing the federal budget.

Milbank is a columnist with Washington Post.



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