Who are the winners and losers in Trump's budget proposal?
- Author: Leroy Wright May 24, 2017,
May 24, 2017, 9:31
This year's budget debate, Republicans hope, would grease the way for a major overhaul of the loophole-cluttered tax system.
Longtime GOP Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky, a longtime appropriator, declared proposed cuts to safety net and environmental proposals 'draconian'.
The budget proposal envisions cuts to the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program, a cornerstone of US global health assistance, which supports HIV/AIDS treatment, testing and counseling for millions of people worldwide.
"I appreciate the president's commitment to cutting the deficit and balancing the budget for the first time in several years". He calls it "immoral".
The proposal projects that this year's deficit will rise to $603 billion, up from the actual deficit of $585 billion last year, But the document says if Trump's initiatives are adopted the deficit will start declining and actually reach a small surplus of $16 billion in 2027. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., who listed what he said were a number of problems with the budget proposal's effect on rural America, in particular its call to cut crop insurance by 36 percent.
Todd Harrison, a defence budget analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said the switch from grants to loans for military aid may mean that countries will not be able to afford U.S. military equipment, forcing them to go elsewhere for supplies.
Trump would keep campaign pledges to leave core Medicare and Social Security benefits for the elderly alone and his cuts to domestic spending would be redirected to the Pentagon.
Mulvaney insists that the proposed reduction in spending isn't a cut - it's simply growing less than the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office expects the needs of the program to be. Trump's budget would slash spending on these programs by $616 billion over the next 10 years.
The budget allocates $2.6 billion for improved border security, including $1.6 billion for Trump's physical wall on the Mexican border. Medicaid cuts finance the plan to "repeal and replace Obamacare", i.e.to cut taxes.
Trump's budget proposal includes $5 billion of the proposed $200 billion in 2018. Many Congressional Republicans are already deeply skeptical, and without support from the administration it's dead on arrival.
Food and Drug Administration: A 31 percent proposed cut, from $2.7 billion to $1.89 billion, would be offset by $1.3 billion in proposed increased fees to be paid by drugmakers and device-makers.
House Speaker Paul Ryan stopped short of embracing the administration's budget projections.
He also describes the president's recommendations as a "message budget to the right wing of the party".
Trump, who is traveling overseas this week, wants lawmakers to cut more than $800 billion from Medicaid and more than $192 billion from food stamps.
The White House proposed changes that would require more childless people receiving help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programme, better known as food stamps, to work.
And as a statement of Trump's governing principles - which is really all the presidents' budgets ever amount to - Trump's focus on spending restraint, entitlement reform, work incentives and on removing government impediments to growth is spot on.
"If you're thinking about things from a conservative perspective, they've got the good part of what the tax plan does, which is the growth, but they don't have the bad part, which is the reduced Treasury receipts", Alan Cole, an economist at the Tax Foundation told The Washington Post. "I say 'assumed economic growth, ' because they don't show us any math of how they get there".
THE FACTS: Former President Barack Obama's expectations for growth were in line with accepted economic views at the time. "[The budget summary] just gives us a little more of a roadmap", said Timothy Jost, JD, an emeritus professor at the Washington and Lee University School of Law.
Repeatedly, though, the Trump administration's leading budget officials portrayed their cuts in the 2018 fiscal year as a necessary course correction, as the White House tried to write a budget "through the perspective of the people who are paying [for] it", said Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, during a briefing with reporters on Monday.
The proposed budget, for the fiscal year that begins October 1, was being delivered to Congress Tuesday, setting off an extended debate in which Democrats are already attacking the administration for trying to balance the budget on the backs of the poor. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a fellow Republican, said lawmakers would have to reform both programs to save them.