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White House tells poor to get a job as it aims to slash social programs

The Trump administration on Tuesday finally sent a line-by-line $4.1 trillion budget for fiscal year 2018 to Congress, dubbing it “The New Foundation for American Greatness.” The previous budget proposal was a so-called skinny budget; this one has details.

The president is proposing a $1.7 trillion cut in non-defense domestic programs over the next 10 years, which would have a serious effect on both Medicaid and federal food stamps. He calls for spending tens of billions more on defense and border security, but does not suggest cuts to the massive Medicare and Social Security entitlement programs.


The Trump team, in slashing federal programs for the poor, appeared to signal that they would like the disadvantaged to do more work.

“We need folks to work,” Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney said in a conference call with reporters Monday. “We need people to go to work. If you’re on food stamps, and you’re able-bodied, we need you to go to work. If you’re on disability insurance and you’re not supposed to be, we need you to work. There’s a dignity to work, and there’s a necessity to work.”

Trump’s proposal would not decrease the $20 trillion national debt, despite his campaign promises to do so. And in order to balance the budget in a decade, it assumes the economy will start growing by 3 percent per year — an estimate far above what the Congressional Budget Office and other economists predict.

Congress will almost certainly make significant changes to the proposal — and might ignore many of Trump’s requests entirely — as members haggle during the next several months. The second-highest-ranking Republican in the Senate, John Cornyn of Texas, told the Associated Press that White House budgets, including Trump’s, are “basically dead on arrival” in Congress. Both houses of Congress must pass and Trump must sign a budget — or some sort of stopgap spending bill — by the end of September to avoid a government shutdown.

Here are some of the most significant proposals for the next decade in Trump’s budget:


• $880 billion less Medicaid spending as part of the Republican’s Obamacare repeal and replace bill

• $610 billion in Medicaid cuts over and above the $880 billion in Trumpcare cuts

• $192 billion in cuts to food stamps and nutritional assistance as part of a $272 billion cut from welfare programs

• $40 billion less spent on the earned-income and child care tax credit by preventing undocumented immigrants from collecting even if they have children who are U.S. citizens

• $50 billion less agriculture subsidies

• $19 billion in new spending on a parental leave program, Ivanka Trump’s signature initiative

• $1.6 billion next year in spending for a border wall. “I thought Mexico was going to pay for the wall,” Republican Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan said Tuesday. “Why is this in our budget?”

• $500 million raised next year by selling off part of the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, 687.7 million barrels of oil stored in Texas and Louisiana

• $54 billion in new defense spending next year

• A 31 percent cut in the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget

• A 6 percent increase in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ budget