Trump’s budget proposal, announced Monday, seeks large cuts to domestic programs like Medicare, in favor of increased military spending and funding for the Mexican border wall. The call for Medicare cuts comes despite promises from Trump during his campaign to leave Medicare and Social Security intact. The proposal would reduce the program’s budget by $236 billion over the next decade, according to Reuters.
However, administration officials said that budget cuts would not affect benefits, instead coming from reforms to the Medicare system itself.
Presidential budget proposals generally just serve to outline the priorities for an administration in a given year. Congress, which has the final say over the budget, is not likely to make the proposal a reality. Nonetheless, the administration faced immediate criticism from Democrats.
According to a statement from John Yarmuth, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee:
“These cuts to critical federal investments are so extreme they can only reflect a disdain for working families and a total lack of vision for a stronger society.”
In addition, budget reductions for other non-military spending would reduce the federal deficit by over $3 trillion in a decade, according to the White House. For the next fiscal year, the proposal would spend $57 billion less than the budget deal passed by Congress earlier this week. That deal increased domestic and military spending limits by $300 billion.
The Trump Administration proposal serves as a call to Congress to reduce the spending already agreed to in that deal.
“The message is really simple: You don’t have to spend it,” according to Trump administration budget director Mick Mulvaney.
The proposal’s $4.4 trillion dollars of spending includes $716 billion for the military and the nuclear arsenal, and $200 billion for an overhaul US infrastructure, as well as $23 million for border security, most of which would go toward the construction of Trump’s hallmark campaign promise – a wall along the Mexican border to combat illegal immigration. It also includes 25 percent cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Small Business Administration, in addition to large cuts to the State Department and the Departments of Transportation, Agriculture, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, and the Interior.
Veterans Affairs, as well as the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and Commerce, would enjoy substantial budget increases.