Cabinet members head to Capitol Hill to defend Trump budget

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 24, 2017, before the House Budget Committee hearing on President Donald Trump's fiscal 2018 federal budget. Who is going to pay for all the stuff you just mentioned? Us?

Numerous press corps regulars were traveling, so Brian Karem, from the Montgomery County Sentinel in Maryland, called out the first question: "What about critics who say this budget is incredibly hardhearted, especially for the least of our brothers?" (Congress, after all, does the appropriating.) In this case, the political ideology is reflected in major cuts to anti-poverty programs and the social safety net, all in the name of not "discourag [ing] able-bodied adults from working".

Democratic Representative Pramilla Jayapal of Washington said that that cuts to food stamps, payments to the disabled, and other programmes are "astonishing and frankly immoral".

Trump, who once vowed "no cuts" to Medicaid, would now cut Medicaid by more than $800 billion, denying support to 10 million people. And you have a 13 percent cut in the Department of Education. Conservatively, Trump estimates economic growth will average 3 percent, assuming his budget is implemented.

The budget does feature a handful of domestic initiatives, including a six-week paid parental leave program championed by Trump's daughter, Ivanka, that would be designed and financed by the states through cuts to unemployment insurance.

"It assumes that the stars perfectly align with regard to economic drivers", Sanford added.

Mulvaney, a former tea party congressman, is the driving force behind the Trump budget plan, winning the president's approval for big cuts to benefit programs whose budgets are essentially on autopilot.

But to some experts, Trump's budget looks more like a cost shift from the federal government to the states and to people now benefiting from coverage expansions in the Obama years.

US President Donald Trump boards the Air Force One to Brussels at the end of a 2-day visit to Italy including a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican at Rome's Fiumicino international airport Wednesday
Cabinet members head to Capitol Hill to defend Trump budget

He warned of a potential pox on the Trump White House: "I'll tell you, sometime in the president's term, you will have a pandemic". Perdue said the nation has a dilemma in how to "right-size the budget" but acknowledged the concerns.

Casey carries a much different perspective than Mulvaney. He lops a total of $1.7 trillion off that and similar programs, including food stamps, school lunches and Habitat for Humanity. Georgia Rep. Sanford Bishop said the cuts "fail the test of basic human decency".

The budget also claims reforms to Medicaid will save $610 billion in the next 10 years. "You will have a Zika, you will have an Ebola, and cutting the Center (sic) for Disease Control", he said, "I think, leaves you very vulnerable and the American people very vulnerable".

"We take care of the truly needy", he said.

Rep. Katherine Clark of MA asked whether a private school should be allowed to receive public money if it rejects LGBT students, DeVos says that decision is best left for states to make.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney says the administration is likely to tell lawmakers they'll need to act earlier than expected to increase the government's borrowing cap.

DeVos answered that that was not the federal government's business, but was for states and locales to decide.

"If states get fewer dollars from the federal government, there are only so many options, because states have to balance the budget every year", said Elizabeth Carpenter, a health policy expert with the consulting firm Avalare Health.


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