Advocates for minority communities say President Donald Trump’s proposed budget answers the question he famously posed to black Americans during his campaign: “What the hell do you have to lose?” His USD 4.1 trillion spending plan for the budget year beginning Oct. 1 generally makes deep cuts in safety net programs, including Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Social Security’s disability programme.
“Here is the reality: Many poor black families and brown families and Asian families and indigenous families will be devastated by this budget,” said Bishop Dwayne Royster, founder of Philadelphia’s Living Water United Church of Christ.
The White House said its budget would put the country back on track for a healthy economy.
“We’re not going to measure compassion by the amount of money that we spend, but by the number of people that we help,” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said this past week.
Critics decry the priorities in Trump’s budget, which Congress is unlikely to pass as submitted. Still, it will serve as a guidepost for what the White House wants lawmakers to deliver to the president.
“It is an attack of unimaginable cruelty on the most vulnerable among us, the youngest, the oldest, the poorest, and hardworking people who need a little help to gain or hang on to a decent middle-class life,” Hillary Clinton said Friday.
Trump’s budget would slash Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provide health insurance for millions of poor families, by $616 billion over the next decade. It would cut the food stamp program by $191 billion over the next decade and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program by $22 billion.
“Great nations are known by how they care for the old and the vulnerable, not by how much they can take away from them to give to their wealthy friends,” NAACP Chairman Leon W. Russell said.
Several people pointed to the targeting of the Education Department for a 13 per cent cut as particularly troubling.
That “will undoubtedly hurt our most vulnerable children, especially those from low-income and working-class black families, who rely on access to special education programs, well-trained teachers, smaller class sizes, literacy grants, and before and after school programmes all of which will be at risk for cuts or elimination,” said Jacqueline Cooper, president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options.
The head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., said Trump’s budget “wastes billions of dollars on a costly and ineffective border wall and deportation force” while proposing cuts to programs that have been essential to helping Hispanic families.