10 Things to Know About the Trump Budget

The White House’s proposed budget is unsurprisingly a sea of red ink, including $1.7 trillion in cuts to welfare and entitlement programs. If the budget has you seeing red, you’re not alone — many organizations are very concerned about the potential ramifications for low-income Americans.

Here’s the good news, though: The White House can propose a budget, but it’s up to Congress to draft and pass an appropriations bill to enact it. That means that your elected officials are going to play a vital role in implementing (or resisting) this budget, so get your speed dialing fingers ready.

Think of it this way: The White House is a little kid begging mom or dad (Congress) for an allowance, and Congress can decide how much that allowance is, and how it will be doled out. Time to pressure your elected officials to do some tough love parenting!

There is a lot to go through in this massive document, but here are some highlights you should know about.

1) The president is breaking his promise to refuse to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

During the campaign, the president promised to protect and defend entitlement programs. This budget includes an $800 billion cut to Medicaid, tied to the American Health Care Act. The cut works by shifting Medicaid to a block granting program, in which states are given lump sums to work with, and no more. When they run out of money, they cannot afford to continue coverage. Consequently, many states will cut Medicaid funding in order to control costs.

It also includes substantial cuts to disability benefits, a particularly large concern for the nearly 20 percent of Americans who identify with some degree of disability.

2) It includes major cuts to anti-poverty programs

Spending on anti-poverty programs can be an extremely efficient way to lift Americans out of poverty. Under this budget, programs like nutrition assistance, welfare, and earned income tax credits will all be slashed. This will hit low-income Americans extremely hard — including more than one in five American children.

 3) It includes significant education cuts

Even as it threatens to cut billions of dollars from after school programs, teacher training and class size reduction, the budget will be boosting vouchers and “school choice.” With Betsy DeVos helming the Department of Education, we should be concerned about who will benefit from proposed education reforms.

Notably, the budget also guts the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which offers student loan forgiveness to people who are willing to commit to a decade of public service, including in teaching — a fantastic way to increase education rates in the United States and recruit talented and passionate young people into fields like education and public health.

4) It includes slashed funding to public health initiatives

As we learned during the Zika outbreak, we never know when and where disease will strike, and we should be forearmed. This budget includes cuts to funding for a number of major scientific research institutions, disease prevention, and health care for low-income children. It’s also reducing funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which do critical work on the front lines of public health.

5) The Department of State will experience a nearly 30 percent drop in funding

Cuts to the State Department reflect a turn-away from soft power — in which the government uses diplomacy and friendly actions to strengthen relationships with allies and negotiate with other countries. America’s role as global peacemaker and responsible statesmanship is heavily influenced by the department, and it needs funds to do that. Instead, the U.S. will be sinking significant resources into military might. Think bombs, rather than bombes, at state dinners.

6) The Environmental Protection Agency will lose more than 30 percent of its funding

Trump’s antipathy to the work of the EPA is well known, but this is a sharp cut. This agency is responsible for developing, strengthening, revising, and reinforcing rules that make America’s air, water, and rivers cleaner. It also conducts important environmental research. Without these services, upward trends for the environment will likely be reversed.

7) Big increases for the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense

Unsurprisingly, the State Department cut is being offset with more funding for militaristic agencies, an indicator that the White House is pushing for a hard power approach to international relations as well as domestic security. Running military operations and investing in the development of new equipment and programs is expensive, and Trump is clearly interested in bolstering America’s military might.

8) Key social programs would be eliminated under the budget

No more funding for the Chemical Safety Board, Corporation for National and Community Service, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Legal Services Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Rural Economic Development Program, Rural Business and Cooperative Service, NASA Office of Education, Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, Development Assistance, Green Climate Fund, National Wildlife Refuge Fund, OSHA training grants, Community Development Block Grants, Flood Hazard Mapping Program, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, numerous NOAA grants, National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, NeighborWorks, and much, much more.

9) It includes $1.6 billion for the wall

As expected, the budget includes a demand for funds as a “down payment” on the border wall — Trump’s lofty promise that he’d make Mexico pay for it has appeared to fizzle out.

10) The budget doesn’t utilize dynamic scoring

When it comes to the budget, the math isn’t as simple as “take money from here and put it over there.” Instead, when a budget is developed, people need to think about the economic ramifications of cuts. For example, the CDBG program brings in substantial revenues for communities and offers a net economic good. Eliminating the program could create a ripple effect. By refusing to score the budget, the administration can’t speak with any authority when it comes to the economic impacts of slashing social services programs, important government initiatives, and other elements of the government.

The budget is often treated as a “presidential wish list,” and never passes as presented. (For much the same reason your teenager asks for more allowance than she knows she’ll get — to have some room to negotiate.) However, even as a wish list, the budget reveals a great deal of information about the White House’s priorities for America, and how the executive branch views millions of hardworking Americans — including the nearly 63 million Americans who voted to Make American Great Again, and who may be surprised by how the president chose to return the favor.

TAKE ACTION!

You can help by signing and sharing this petition asking the Congress to protect ten million people from losing health care under Trump’s budget.

Photo credit: State of Israel

153 comments

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 months ago

Most of the government is very poorly run, by cutting their budgets Trump is making them streamline their spending,

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Carol S
Carol S4 months ago

Trump Must Go!

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Mike H
Mike H4 months ago

Thank you

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Philippa Powers
Philippa Powers4 months ago

Thanks.

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Sandra V
Sandra Vito4 months ago

Thanks

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Peggy B
Peggy B4 months ago

Roberta E ..... As a Canadian your news is usually news that is reported unbiased. Too many Americans read left or right biased news and never get the whole picture. Some, like David, for their own reasons just like issuing blame instead of constructive debate. Reminiscent when I tell my grandchildren they have done something wrong, the first thing out of their mouth is their sibling did it first. Putting the blame on others instead of holding their hand up and saying I was wrong or how do I do it better. Classic behaviour for the immature. David clearly has a chip on his shoulder and using this site to anonymously troll. He is not caring and I have never seen him sign a petition or comment on a non political article. Maybe he does, but I haven't seen it. He knows this is a 'liberal' site and he keeps his profile private. I believe it is simply to troll us or he is a coward to his convictions so needs to remain safely hidden. We really should stop feeding his ego and reacting to his hateful comments. BTW, since moving back to US I still have my news set for UK and read the facts before I see the US's news takes on the same news. Eye opener. ;-)

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S J
S J4 months ago

Sadly noted. Thank you

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Marianne R
Marianne R4 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Marianne R
Marianne R4 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Daniela M
Daniela M4 months ago

I really feel (and hope) that, now, Governors and Mayors will step up to the plate in the US. I was so touched and saw a glimpse of hope when, after Trump withdrew from Paris, so many Mayors and Governors fiercely made a point of saying they are all in for Paris agreement and will act themselves. I thought this was wonderful and shows us that Trump in not the be all and end all. There are other avenues and also let us never underestimate the power of the individual. And with any luck the schmuck will soon be impeached! :)

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