Democrats blast safety net cuts in Trump budget as 'malicious'

Donald Trump

Now the hurt will be all the more excruciating if he breaks his promise and cuts Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Trump's budget, like previous presidential budgets, won't become law, so this is in some sense an argument about vague cuts that nearly certainly won't happen.

President Trump's latest budget proposal retains a controversial $8.6 billion request for a border wall with Mexico, while calling for swingeing cuts into government-sponsored National Institutes of Health research including cancer.

First, dishonesty. There is, to be sure, a smidgen of candor in the fact that the plan does not purport to balance the federal budget within the next decade, though it does suggest that balance may be achieved by 2034; so much for the pretense that growth sparked by the 2017 tax cuts will solve the United States' fiscal problem.

Trump's budget "proposes that USDA responsibly and efficiently use taxpayer resources by making targeted reforms to duplicative programs and overly generous subsidy programs", according to the document.

Trump has allocated $34.5 billion for the NIH, a cut of between $4.5 and $6 billion compared with the current financial year.

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The plan to winnow funding away from Medicare and Medicaid contradicts campaign promises Trump made in 2016.

Democratic leaders in both the House and the Senate pronounced the budget "dead" when it arrived on Sunday evening. It does not include spending for the military or for mandatory services like Medicare and Social Security, which have steadily become a bigger and bigger part of the budget.

The Federation of American Hospitals called the proposed cuts "arbitrary and blunt" and the American Hospital Association warned they raise "serious concerns about how hospitals and health systems can ensure they serve as the safety net for their patients".

Perhaps Sanders and Warren believe that reimbursement cuts would force providers to reduce service: Pay doctors less, and you'll get less from them.

The Congressional Budget Office, a non-partisan arm of Congress, in January pushed out its projections for the deficit to top $1 trillion until 2022 from an earlier expectation of 2020 amid lower disaster relief spending. Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, applauded the administration's efforts to tackle these inefficient programs.

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Obama also curtailed payments to private insurers in Medicare Advantage, which Trump does not do. "Nearly a trillion dollar cut in Medicare".

"The proposals generally target hospitals and other health care providers", Neuman said. "We are heartened that President Trump's budget continues to highlight the need to address prescription drug prices", said the group.

The Democrats also denounced Trump's proposed cutbacks in education, community development, student loans and free school meals for low-income students.

The Medicare Rights Center said "it is hard to envision a situation where these changes do not profoundly impact the lives of people who depend on the program".

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