Proposed budget's cuts to Medicaid, affordable housing elicit concerns
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 28, 2017,
May 28, 2017, 10:06
Democratic lawmakers and many private economists have expressed skepticism about the budget and its ambitious 3 percent growth target.
And that need should be more than getting members of Congress re-elected.
"I'm aware of the criticisms and would simply come back and say there's other places where we were probably overly conservative in our accounting", he said.
During a hearing about the $3.6 trillion in cuts to domestic programs included in President Trump's proposed budget, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney made a case that the fiscal interests of the unborn should take precedence over the lives of present-day Americans - or at least those who rely on food stamps to eat or public schools to educate their children. Already, the House GOP bill would roll back former President Barack Obama's Medicaid expansion while also capping future federal financing for the program. Food stamp cuts would drive millions from the program. He said that labor participation growth would have to go to 1980s levels - a time when many women were going to work for the first time - and that even returning to a '90s level of labor participation would only nudge the overall economic growth needle.
"The Medicaid cuts being proposed by Republicans and Donald Trump are not only unconscionable but also represent a monumental lie to all of America - particularly Trump voters - who were told that Medicaid cuts would not happen if he was elected", he said in a statement. "I don't think there's a person living in poverty today who wouldn't be affected by this budget". The new program has been championed by Trump's daughter, Ivanka.
The proposed cuts to food stamp cuts would hurt millions who now depend on it and cuts to Medicaid could deny nursing home care to millions of elderly poor people.
He defended the budget against charges it drastically cuts funding for important safety net programs like Medicaid, as well as tightening eligibility for disability insurance, a move set to save more than $70 billion over 10 years. "We want to measure compassion, true compassion, by the number of people we help to get off those programs".
King asked how the cuts would account for rising healthcare costs. The problem: The budget forecasts about $2 trillion in extra federal revenue growth to pay for that tax cut, but that same money is used to reduce the budget deficit. It would create three tax brackets - 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent - instead of the current seven, but specific details were left to further negotiations with Congress.
The budget plan calls for boosting defense spending by $54 billion, a 10 percent increase, for this year, with that increase financed by an equal cut to nondefense programs.
The White House said numerous proposed cuts were aimed at ineffective programs and that the savings were needed to help balance the budget in 10 years and finance increased spending for defense and other programs. The other cuts fall mainly on what is known as "discretionary" spending because it is controlled by Congress.