More details from President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal are trickling out via a flurry of overnight reports from The Washington Post, Associated Press and Bloomberg News.
Here are some of the highlights from the latest batch of trial balloons:
The budget will slash $1.7 trillion in spending on entitlement programs, according to Bloomberg.
Trump’s budget will include a massive nearly $200 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the modern version of food stamps, over the next 10 years – what amounts to a 25% reduction, according to The Washington Post.
The food stamp cuts are part of a broader $274 billion welfare-reform effort, according to a report by The Associated Press.
The budget calls for about $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid for fiscal year 2018, WaPo reported.
The budget also calls for $2.6 billion in border security spending, $1.6 billion of which will be earmarked for Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.’s southern border.
The budget is also expected to propose major domestic discretionary spending cuts – an earlier version of the budget called for $54 billion in such cuts next year alone.
Predictably, Democrats are already up in arms over the proposal, even though a formal draft isn’t expected until Tuesday.
In a statement cited by Bloomberg, New York Senator Senator Chuck Schumer clumsily compared Trump’s campaign rhetoric to a “Trojan Horse.”
“This budget continues to reveal President Trump’s true colors: His populist campaign rhetoric was just a Trojan horse to execute long-held, hard-right policies that benefit the ultra-wealthy at the expense of the middle class,” Bloomberg noted.
Well, at least Trump didn’t promise that if Americans liked their healthcare plan, they can keep it.
To be sure, Republicans have also expressed some discomfort with the cuts, particularly Trump’s plan to whack $54 billion in discretionary spending. Mitch McConnell even told Bloomberg that Congressional Republicans would ultimately end up writing their own budget, the same way Senate Republicans are rewriting Obamacare repeal.
Trump has promised to balance the federal government’s budget in 10 years, though, as Democrats have noted, the projection is dependent on economic growth accelerating to 3% following the passage of massive tax cuts, and no recession over the next decade, a rather bold assumption. Meanwhile, growth collapsed to an annualized rate of just 0.7% in the fist quarter, the slowest rate in three years, while loan demand has plunged to the lowest level in 6 years. Meanwhile, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget claims that rather than reining it in our national debt, Trump’s tax cuts would make the debt much worse.
The House legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act — President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law also known as Obamacare — would significantly curtail federal support for Medicaid.
Under that bill, in 2020, states that expanded the program would no longer receive enhanced funding to cover low-income adults, while states that did not expand previously would not be able to do so, starting immediately. Some 11 million adults have gained coverage under Medicaid expansion.
Also, the bill would reduce federal funding for the entire Medicaid program, which covers more than 70 million low-income children, adults, disabled Americans and the elderly. States would either receive a set amount of funding per enrollee, known as a per capita grant, or fixed funding in the form of a block grant.
Either option would limit federal responsibility, shifting that burden to the states. However, since states don’t have the money to make up the difference, they would likely either reduce eligibility, curtail benefits or cut provider payments. The block grant would be more restrictive since the funding level would not adjust for increases in enrollment, which often happens in bad economic times.
The GOP bill would slash federal support of Medicaid by 25% by 2026, compared to current law, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
What to do about Medicaid was a major flashpoint of the House GOP bill, with many Republican members expressing concerns about cutting a program that has provided insurance to so many of lower-income constituents. It has also provided treatment for Americans battling drug addiction, an issue of concern for many Republican governors and GOP representatives.
The issue has already emerged a sticking point in the Senate, where several Republican senators look poised to vehemently oppose major cuts to the program.
Sources: AP, Zerohedge, WaPo, Bloomberg, and CNN