Trump Proposes $3.6 Trillion Cut To Welfare State

PHOTO: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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President Donald Trump is expected to release a proposal Tuesday that he promises will balance the federal budget within the next decade and bring about his administration’s goal of 3 percent economic growth.

The president seeks to drastically reduce the role of government in the U.S., proposing a $3.6 trillion spending cut to the American welfare state over the next 10 years. Programs slated for the chopping block include Medicaid, food stamps, student loans and disability benefits, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Trump Administration is taking a hardline approach in selling this bill to members of Congress and the American people.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told reporters Monday that the administration is “no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs.” Bringing back the conservative talking points of personal choice and individual responsibility, Mulvaney said, “We’re going to measure compassion and success by the number of people we help get off those programs and back in charge of their own lives.”

Mulvaney also promised that the White House is not proposing cuts to two of the most popular entitlement programs: Social Security’s retirement insurance program and Medicare.

The proposal will make its way from the president’s desk to Congress, where lawmakers will either move forward with the bill or stop it dead in its tracks.

Some members, like Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, are signalling a tumultous road ahead for Trump’s proposed spending cuts. Cornyn described the bill Monday evening as “dead on arrival,” but also wanted to remind voters that most spending proposals start out that way, “including President Obama’s.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in early May that he did not expect whatever proposal the White House put forth to gain traction in Congress.

The president’s spending cuts actually constitute a $4.5 trillion cut to overall federal spending over the next decade. The proposed cuts reportedly equal out Trump’s calls for increase defense spending, the funding for a border wall along the Mexico-U.S. border and his daughter Ivanka’s push for paid family leave.

One aspect to watch is whether or not the administration is able to successfully pass tax and regulatory reform. While Trump’s proposal could push the economy towards his goal of 3 percent growth, it relies on an overhaul of the U.S. tax and regulatory code to stimulate that growth.

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