CHN on President Trump’s “Bully’s Budget”
Editor’s note: Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director of the Coalition on Human Needs, issued the following statement Monday, March 11 in response to the Trump Administration’s budget proposal:
“President Trump’s budget for FY 2020 is consistent with his presidency so far. It is all about denying help to those who lack power or wealth and lavishing advantage to those who have both.
“Chief among the bully’s victims are immigrants. The President continues his attack on them, seeking another $8.6 billion for the wall, thumbing his nose at Congress by asking it to replenish the $3.6 billion he diverted from military construction projects towards wall building, and continuing to put massive amounts of resources into jailing more and more migrants, including children, with funds sought for 60,000 detention beds (10,000 for families).
“But there are many more victims. What do they have in common? They are mostly low to moderate income. Most are workers, whose earnings are low, with work often sporadic. Instead of helping these workers to get better jobs, the budget uses their unstable employment against them, seeking to deny them Medicaid, food assistance and housing if they cannot document sufficient work hours.
“The budget seeks an unholy alliance between the Trump Administration and states wishing to save money on their Medicaid programs. The Trump budget calls for cutting Medicaid by well over $1 trillion over a decade, from letting states restrict eligibility or benefits and making its own restrictions. We have every hope states – and Congress – will not take the bait. In addition, hundreds of billions in cuts are proposed to further weaken the Affordable Care Act.
“Similarly, the Trump budget once again targets poor people struggling to have enough to eat by proposing nasty cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) totaling nearly $220 billion over ten years. Apparently deaf to ridicule, it is repeating its foolish and mean Harvest box idea, which would slash the benefits families now receive through debit cards they can use in stores and very partially replace that assistance with boxes of food. The budget also proposes once again to restrict states’ authority to allow poor individuals without dependent children to receive food assistance, despite Congress’ complete rejection of that approach in its recently enacted farm bill. It even cuts child nutrition programs by $1.7 billion over a decade.
“The budget targets the poorest of the poor by cutting Temporary Assistance for Needy Families by more than $21 billion over the next decade. It would deny the Child Tax Credit to certain immigrant families, most of whose children are citizens. It reduces assistance for low-income people with disabilities. Trump, the real estate billionaire, would move to dismantle public housing developments by seeking to shift units to the private sector, also eliminating the Public Housing Capital Fund, which is needed to maintain units. Trump would end federal contributions to the National Housing Trust Fund, which is creating low-income units and would terminate the Community Development Block Grant as well.
“The budget would cut appropriations for education and threaten student loans. Instead of making the investments people need to secure affordable housing, child care, and health coverage and to get better jobs, the budget piles money into the Pentagon and continues the multi-trillion-dollar tax cuts overwhelmingly benefiting the rich and corporations. The 2020 Census, essential to ensure that funding for services reaches the people and communities who need it most, does not receive the funding needed for an accurate count.
“Even where new initiatives are cited, a closer look reveals harms, once again to vulnerable people. The paid parental leave plan described in the budget would apparently be funded through cuts to Unemployment Insurance, at a time when state funds for UI are dangerously low. There is $1 billion in funding to encourage private sector investment in child care, but the $1.2 billion afterschool program 21st Century Community Learning Centers is eliminated.
“Bullies pick targets they think cannot fight back. That is what the Trump presidency and this budget have done, targeting people without much money and immigrants without even a vote. But his $2.7 trillion dollars in cuts are an overreach. Americans know we cannot build our future by slashing Medicaid and other health care, nutrition programs, and education. Far too many of us are living too close to the edge, and know that our economic security depends on investments, not useless walls and ever-increasing Pentagon excess.”