Trump’s $4.1tr budget takes hatchet to safety net
The White House has unveiled Trump’s $4.1tr (£3.1tr) budget that would take the axe to the social safety net for the poor.The plan would sharply slash food stamps, healthcare for low-income patients, disability benefits and eliminate student loan subsidies.
The budget also features an Ivanka Trump plan for paid parental leave. The US military would receive a 10% boost while $1.6bn would be allocated for a wall on the border with Mexico. President Trump, who is travelling overseas, missed the unveiling of his first full budget, titled A New Foundation for American Greatness.
Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, told reporters on Tuesday the proposal is “simply the president’s priorities put on paper”.
Critics say the plan would hurt some of Mr Trump’s supporters hardest.
- Its proposed $190bn reduction in food stamps surpasses previous cuts put forward by Republicans to a programme serving about 42 million people
- Representatives from agricultural states are objecting to a plan to limit farm subsidies
- Mr Trump promised on the campaign trail not to cut Medicaid, the healthcare programme for the poor, but his budget would cut the scheme by $800bn
- Republicans are also squeamish about proposed cuts to Meals on Wheels, which provides food to the homebound elderly, disabled and veterans
- But the funding cut to family-planning groups that offer abortions, such as Planned Parenthood, is likely to be welcomed by conservatives
Past budgets by past presidents have been treated by Congress with attitudes ranging from indifference to contempt – and this one is sure to be no different.
Instead, this proposed budget should be seen as a presidential statement of principles – and those principles often run counter to the ones Mr Trump campaigned on last year.
The plan promises to cut tax rates, relying largely on hoped-for economic growth of 3% to avoid adding to the deficit.
But that forecast is well beyond the independent Congressional Budget Office assumptions of 1.9% growth.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said it relied on “rosy assumptions” and “does not add up”.
The White House budget director said on Tuesday 3% growth “will be the new normal for this country”, but conceded that without it “budget will never balance”.
And of course Demonrats are ticked off.