Trump budget cuts food stamps, consumer protection, EPA
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will release a budget today that is bold, brash and, according to many, faces a grim future in Congress.
It’s bold because it presumes a 3 percent annual growth rate for the economy and, if its assumptions are correct, would balance the budget within the next decade.
It’s brash because it proposes a whopping $3.6 trillion worth of cuts over the next decade — “the most proposed by any president in a budget,” according to summary sheets put out by the White House. The cuts would encompass both discretionary programs but also entitlement programs for low-income Americans.
And it’s unlikely to pass because lawmakers already have said as much.
“I do not believe the president’s proposed budget will be Congress’ starting point,” said Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington.
“It is abundantly clear to me that the Trump budget proposal will not make America great,” said Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Jefferson Township.
The budget includes at least $610 billion in cuts to Medicaid — it could be more if the House-passed health-care bill ever goes into effect. It would slash $190 billion from food-stamp programs, cutting $272 billion overall from anti-poverty programs over 10 years.
But it also would hit other agencies, chopping 31.4 percent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget over one year, 29.1 percent out of the Department of State and other foreign programs and 19.8 percent out of Labor’s budget from 2017 to fiscal year 2018.
Among the agencies cut under the Trump administration’s proposal: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the consumer watchdog agency that Republicans have lambasted since its inception. The bureau, led by Ohioan Richard Cordray, would see sweeping cuts over the next decade as part of what the administration calls a “restructuring.”
The bill also would defund Planned Parenthood and virtually eliminate funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, said White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.
“Ohio families know that making a budget is about choosing priorities,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, “and so far, Ohio families have not been this administration’s priority.”
Meanwhile, the budget would boost defense spending by 10 percent and begin to pay for the border wall that Trump made a centerpiece of his campaign, according to Mulvaney. The budget includes $2.6 billion for border security, with $1.6 billion going toward the “brick and mortar” construction of the wall, Mulvaney said. The balance is going toward enhanced technology and other infrastructure measures aimed at reducing illegal immigration.
Mulvaney said the budget would boost programs encouraging school vouchers — which pay for public-school students to go to private school — as well as a $25 billion program that would create nationwide child leave for mothers and fathers of newborn and newly adopted children.
The budget also would include $200 billion for infrastructure — another follow-up on a Trump promise.
In a briefing with reporters Monday, Mulvaney called the plan a “taxpayer-first budget” that was “written through the perspective of people who pay taxes as much as the people who receive the benefit.”
He dismissed the notion that the budget would target the poor, saying many taxpayers would prefer to have their money go to pay for law enforcement or defend the nation rather than go for programs that have not been proven to work.
“People don’t mind paying taxes as long as they know their money is not being wasted,” he said. “And for too long the federal government has been unwilling to prove that’s the case.
“We are going to measure success by actually helping people,” he said, saying he considers that to mean “helping them get off programs and helping them get in charge of their own lives again.”
Mulvaney said that also means requiring a Social Security number for the earned income tax credit or the child tax credit — a distinction that would effectively bar taxpaying undocumented immigrants from being able to use two tax credits highly popular among the working poor. “How do you go to someone who has paid taxes and say, ’Hey, we want to give the earned income tax to someone working here illegally?’” Mulvaney asked. “That’s not defensible.”
Wendy Patton of Policy Matters Ohio, a left-leaning research group, said that in Ohio, many of those at the bottom of the income scale pay about 12 percent of their income into state and local taxes while people in the top 1 percent pay about 6 percent. “To say poor people have no skin in the game is just mistaken,” she said.
She said roughly 1 in 3 dollars spent by the state comes from the federal government. Seventy-six percent of the money spent by the state’s Department of Aging is federal. Sixty-six percent of the Ohio Department of Health’s budget is federal. “If there are big cuts, where they will hit Ohio is health and human services,” she said. “That’s our safety-net program.”