President Trump has released his budget, and it puts programs for vulnerable Americans on the chopping block. Along with food stamps, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and CHIP (the Children’s Health Insurance Plan), Trump proposes to slash Social Security, expressly violating his campaign pledge not to touch Social Security. All told, Trump’s budget slashes $1.7 trillion from these programs over 10 years.
Trumps plan would cut as much as $62 billion from Social Security Disability Insurance and $9 billion from SSI. It also ends the Community Services Block Grant, which supports the Meals on Wheels programs that provide hot meals to older adults in their homes; it cuts $193 billion in food stamps. And, it ends the low-income Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which helps older adults pay for the cost of their heat. Under the plan, Medicaid cuts would total $610 billion, putting at risk long-term care for vulnerable older adults.
Trump’s budget plan is in line with those of the Republican-controlled House, which is also looking to pay for massive tax cuts by stripping funding from programs for vulnerable Americans, according to Politico. People in need of help paying for food, housing, education assistance are all at risk. Republicans are even considering cuts to veterans’ benefits. The American Health Care Act (AHCA), if passed, would cut $880 billion from Medicaid.
Bottom line, to balance the budget in ten years, President Trump and Republican leaders are willing to slash hundreds of millions of dollars currently supporting programs that protect low-income and working families. At the same time, their goal is to come up with the money needed to enhance funding for the military and cut corporate taxes. Balancing the budget will require about $8 trillion.
Which specific programs serving vulnerable Americans get cut likely won’t be determined until the fall.
Politico further reports that the Republicans in charge of the 2018 fiscal budget are likely also to propose privatizing Medicare, essentially adopting Speaker Ryan’s plan, though that would be symbolic this year.
Republicans hope to get their plan through Congress without a filibuster, using the budget reconciliation process, which only requires a majority vote to pass. But, it’s not clear whether they will be able to get support for slashing low-income programs from moderate Republicans.