Trump to Pitch Deep Cuts to Anti-Poverty Programs, Medicaid

By Erik Wasson and Steven T. Dennis

White House to call for cutting food stamps by a quarter
President’s plan aims to balance the budget within a decade

May 22, 2017 "Information Clearing House" -   President Donald Trump plans to propose $1.7 trillion in cuts to a category of spending that includes major social and entitlement programs for lower-income Americans, as part of an effort to balance the budget within a decade.

The White House will issue a formal budget request Tuesday that includes $274 billion in cuts over 10 years to means-tested anti-poverty programs, including food stamps, according to a Republican congressional aide and a White House document obtained by Bloomberg News.

The administration has prepared talking points for Republicans on Capitol Hill touting that the “budget strives to replace dependency with the dignity of work through welfare reform efforts.”

The upcoming budget request for fiscal 2018, which include dropping the top individual tax rate to 35 percent, is already attracting criticism from Democrats. Trump’s proposal will also call for $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid, the health program for the poor, the Washington Post reported.

“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,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement Sunday.

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During the presidential campaign, Trump promised not to cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. He has already broken that promise on Medicaid by backing cuts to the program called for under the Obamacare repeal bill passed by the House on May 4. The White House has said that the president intends in his budget to keep his pledge on Medicare benefits and Social Security retirement benefits.

Trump is proposing to cut $193 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, over the next decade. The cuts, which would amount to an approximate 25 percent reduction, would be achieved in part by limiting eligibility for food stamps and by requiring work, according to the document.

Spending on the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit would also be reduced by $40 billion, in part by requiring proof that recipients are authorized to work in the U.S. Traditional welfare payments, known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, would be cut by $21 billion.

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, although Republicans in Congress have already rejected many of them.

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Trump won’t likely get any help from Democrats cutting food stamps, which are up for reauthorization in the 2018 farm bill.

“A budget is a statement of our values as a nation,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in an emailed statement Monday. “Gutting this critical safety net initiative by more than a quarter is cruel and short-sighted, and is sure to receive bipartisan condemnation from Capitol Hill.”

In an interview with Bloomberg News last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Congress would ultimately write its own budget and reiterated his opposition to significant reductions in medical research and the State Department budget.

The White House document claims that Trump’s tax plan will provide “one of the biggest business and middle-class tax cuts in history” and will also eliminate loopholes and deductions. It reiterates that Trump wants to shrink individual income tax rates into three brackets of 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent.

This article was first published by Bloomberg -