Trump's food stamp cuts face hard sell in Congress

The budget proposal envisions cuts to the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program, a cornerstone of US global health assistance, which supports HIV/AIDS treatment, testing and counseling for millions of people worldwide.

It didn't take long after the release of the Trump administration's first budget for the criticism from both sides of the aisle to begin. "Grow the economy, balance the budget". He calls it "immoral".

The plan drew immediate fire from lobby groups, including from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which said it relied on "rosy assumptions", gimmicks and unrealistic cuts.

On taxes, Trump promises an overhaul that would cut tax rates but rely on erasing tax breaks and economic growth to avoid adding to the deficit.

Trump's budget holds true to his campaign pledge to leave Medicare and Social Security pension benefits alone and contains spending increases for the military and veterans, but it treats most of the rest of the government as fair game.

"The last time we looked, we couldn't find a President Obama budget that balanced ever", he said.

Unlike many parliamentary democracies like India and the United Kingdom wherein the finance minister personally delivers speech on the floor of the Parliament, in the U.S., the White House sends hard copies of the president's budget proposals.

Ryan isn't making any promises about passing the Trump budget, though.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi branded the budget "a killer for the American people - literally a killer".

Trump's budget proposal, however, faces tough hurdles.

Another senior Republican lawmaker, Fred Upton of MI, questioned inclusion of money for Trump's border wall, remarking: "I thought Mexico was going to pay for the wall, why is this in our budget?"

Sanford told Mulvaney that the budget "assumes that the stars perfectly align" by promising an economic growth rate of 3 percent but that such an economic surge wouldn't increase inflation and bond yields.

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House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer says he can't recall in his 36 years in Congress any budget sent to the Congress with a "less realistic" chance of being enacted than the one President Donald Trump unveiled on Tuesday.

Some of the proposed cuts to programs like Social Security's disability benefits are created to push more people into the workforce. For instance, the administration did not account for the ways in which simplifying the tax code could allow the government to collect taxes that normally go unpaid, because people either do not understand their taxes or are too frustrated by their complexity to pay them, according to Mulvaney.

He also describes the president's recommendations as a "message budget to the right wing of the party".

The budget does not call for big changes to the Social Security retirement program or Medicare, which Trump promised during the campaign to preserve.

He noted that the proposal cuts "billions of dollars" from Medicaid, while also shifting greater responsibility to the states.

Administration officials say they want to tighten work requirements to get millions of people off government support programs and back into the labor force, saying that will help them achieve their ambitious goal of boosting economic growth on a sustained basis to 3 percent annual gains.

Panel Democrats charged that Trump's cuts would rip apart the social safety net. Trump's budget is cruel and deviant.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says he is pleased the budget projects a balance and says he's never encountered a presidential budget that people didn't declare "dead on arrival".

On Capitol Hill, Trump's budget won polite praise from some Republicans, but Democrats were dismissive.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney speak to the media about President Donald Trump's proposed fiscal 2018 federal budget in the Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

The proposed budget, for the fiscal year that begins October 1, was being delivered to Congress May 23, setting off an extended debate in which Democrats are already attacking the administration for trying to balance the budget on the backs of the poor.

Under the proposal, 66 federal programs would be slashed, representing a savings of $26.7 billion.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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