Trump's New Budget Guts Social Welfare Programs

The Trump administration recently unveiled its 2020 budget proposal that includes $8.6 billion for the US-Mexico border wall and a hike in defense spending to $750 billion, a $34 billion increase from 2019. While military members and HIV testing are considered the winners in the new budget, those who depend on social programs and food stamps are not so favored.

Trump’s “Budget for a Better America” will not become law, but it does reveal which programs the White House prioritizes. The budget’s plan asks Congress to increase funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement by 16 percent, which would ascribe $8.8 billion for the agency. Likewise, the blueprint requests $140 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and $750 billion for the Department of Defense. Other beneficiaries include the Federal and Drug Administration and a children’s health program.

Trump’s plan intends to cut $17 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as well as an additional $220 billion over the next 10 years, Politico reported. The budget proposal wants to trim $28 billion in crop insurance and farm subsidies over the next decade, and wants to slash hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare and Medicaid by blocking grant funding and strengthening eligibility standards. Farmers, cancer research, sanctuary cities, NASA, and the Department of Education would see considerable reductions in their budgets as well.

Interest payments and the federal deficit, which stands at $22 trillion, are “the largest threat” to economic growth, the Trump administration said. “That is why this budget lays out the president's continued vision to drive down deficits by bringing spending below the post-war average while continuing to make investments in critical priorities,” the budget noted. “Such spending restraint, coupled with the president's tax cuts and deregulatory policies, will keep our economy thriving and America prosperous for generations to come.”

The 150-page plan was met with contempt from both sides of the aisle. “In all the years I’ve been here, there has never been a president’s budget that has passed as submitted, and I don’t think this will be any different,” Senator Susan Collins, (R-Maine) told reporters on Monday.

The Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said, “Most of the president’s budgets, and I have been here a while, are mainly suggestions,” adding that “You know, we look at them. But I don’t know any of them that have been enacted into law.”

Freshman Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) did not mince words. “For many children, school lunch is the only meal they eat all day. Trump’s budget would cut $1.7 billion from child nutrition and eliminate food assistance for millions — literally taking food out of kids’ mouths,” she tweeted on Tuesday. “This is not humane. This budget isn’t humane. He is not humane.” According to Washington, DC-based think tank the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 42 million people in the US relied on SNAP in 2017.

While the budget proposal proves detrimental for those in need, the wealthiest would reap the benefits. The president would continue carrying out tax cuts for America’s richest people and corporations.

“Trump’s budget is a massive transfer of wealth from working-class families to the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations in America,” Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote in a press release on Monday. “This is a budget for the military-industrial complex, for corporate CEOs, for Wall Street, and the billionaire class. It is dead on arrival. We don’t need billions of dollars for a wall that no one wants. We need a budget that works for all Americans, not just Donald Trump and his billionaire friends at Mar-A-Lago.”


About the Author

Robert Valencia is the breaking news editor for The North Star. His work as editor and reporter appeared on Newsweek, World Politics Review, Mic.com, Public Radio International and The Miami Herald, among other outlets. He’s a frequent commentator on foreign affairs and U.S. politics on Al Jazeera English, CNN en Español, Univision, Telemundo, Voice of America, C-SPAN, Sirius XM and other media outlets across Latin America and the Caribbean.