Economy On the Hill

Trump’s New Budget Cuts Benefits for the Most Vulnerable

President Trump released a $44.8 trillion budget on Monday which includes deep cuts to student loan assistance, affordable housing, food stamps, and Medicaid. It does however include an increase in spending for the military, national defense, border enforcement, individual income tax cuts, and even allocates money for the “Space Force” initiative.

The budget plans recommends completely eliminating subsidized federal loans and ending the public service loan program, designed to incentivize teachers, police offices, government workers and other public servants by cancelling their remaining student debt. The proposal also includes cutting funding for programs in rural and magnet schools, and funding for homeless and migrant students. The measure would overhaul the Education department reducing staff and administrative costs in the name of empowering “states and districts to decide how to best use federal funds to meet the needs of their students”.

As for the budget’s approach to healthcare, the massive cuts would be detrimental for those who rely on Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. The combined cuts to both programs add up to a trillion dollars – ensuring substantial program changes and deficiencies. The budget for the first time did not include a proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but instead asks Congress to “develop policies that would “advance the president’s health reform vision,” with a corresponding price tag, which it says would save $844 billion over the decade”.

The budget is unlikely to pass, with Democrats dismissing the budget and have vowed to prevent the changes from happening. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the budget and subsequent cuts “a statement of values, and once again the president is showing just how little he values the good health, financial security and well-being of hard-working American families” and a “a complete reversal of the promises he made in the campaign and a contradiction of the statements he made at the State of the Union”.

President Trump calls the budget “an attempt to put our nation on a fiscally sustainable course,” and Senator Michael B. Enzi (R-WY) said that “Presidents’ budgets are a reflection of administration priorities, but in the end, they are just a list of suggestions, as the power of the purse rests with Congress”.

Sources: New York Times 2/10/20, 4/14/19; Washington Times 2/10/20

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