WASHINGTON President Donald Trump wants Congress to cut food stamps and other anti-poverty programs in order to pay for more military spending and a border wall, according to a budget proposal the White House will formally unveil on Tuesday.
Trumps budget for fiscal 2018, a summary of which the administration released late Monday, would plow the savings from welfare cuts into higher military spending and deficit reduction. It also adds $2.6 billion more for border security, including $1.6 billion to construct a physical wall.
The document honors Trumps unorthodox campaign promise not to cut Social Security or Medicare, but it shows how the presidents domestic agenda is being shaped by Capitol Hill Republicans eager to cancel benefits to supposedly undeserving recipients.
We need people to go to work, Trumps budget director, Mick Mulvaney, said in a briefing with reporters on Monday. Mulvaney is a former member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
Mulvaney expounded on the meaning ofTrumponomics, saying its all about rapid economic growth. This budget relies on optimistic growth projections that would help eliminate the federal deficit within 10 years. Though Trump himself hasnt said a lot about social programs, such as food stamps and disability insurance, Mulvaney said reforming the safety net is key to achieving faster growth.
If youre on food stamps and youre able-bodied, we need you to go to work, Mulvaney said. If youre on disability insurance and youre not supposed to be, if youre not truly disabled, we need you to go back to work. We need everybody pulling in the same direction.
White House budgets are generally wish lists that serve as opening bids in annual spending negotiations that are ultimately decided by Congress. The new spending outline is a fuller version of a blueprint the Trump administrationunveiled in March, which lawmakers in both parties panned.
The new proposal incorporates Medicaid cuts that were already included in the Republican health care bill approved by the House last month, and it adds more cuts on top. It also includes the very broad outline for tax reform that the Trump administration released in April. And the Trump budget would eliminate federal reimbursement for womens health care services provided by Planned Parenthood, but it would also create a paid family leave program.
Mulvaney said the paid leave proposal would help people remain attached to the workforce.
We try and create the environment where people are more comfortable going back to work and staying at work knowing that if they do have a child, theyll be able to spend time with that child under the paid parental leave program, Mulvaney said.
The proposed cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is significant, as the $193 billion reduction amounts to more than a quarter of the food stamp programs projected cost over the next decade. Thats proportionately bigger than the proposed cut to the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Its a much sharper reduction than conservative House Republicans tried to achieve the last time lawmakers debated food aid on the House floor in 2014.
The proposal would achieve some of the food stamp savings by requiring states to help pay for benefits, which are currently fully funded by the federal government. The burden would give states a strong incentive to limit eligibility for the program, and the budget would give them the flexibility to make changes.
I believe in the social safety net, Mulvaney said. And what weve done is not to try and remove the safety net for folks who need it but to try and figure out if theres folks who dont need it that need to be back in the workforce.
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