Trump’s proposed 2018 budget, released on May 23, reiterates the unrealistic and draconian discretionary spending cuts previously announced in his “skinny budget,” and adds harmful cuts in entitlement programs. While not law, the White House budget kicks off the Congressional appropriations process for funding the government in the next year by laying out the President’s priorities. Previously, Trump had released a “skinny budget” outline, but now we understand the full, monstrous scope of his priorities.
Here’s what you need to know about Trump’s budget proposal. It slashes funding for virtually all nondefense programs, such as public education, repairing roads and bridges, and protecting the environment. It would make painful cuts to programs that help families maintain basic living standards. It uses bogus math to justify huge tax cuts for the rich. And it breaks Trump’s promise not to cut Social Security.
Remember: Congress—not the President—Funds the Government
Trump’s budget proposal is just that: a proposal. It is non-binding. Congress will ultimately determine which programs are funded and at what levels. And, Members of Congress (MoCs) work for you, so you have the power to shape the outcome here. Considering the unbelievable cuts in this budget proposal, Congress better throw each and every item in the garbage. Donald Trump is hoping that Congress rubber-stamps decimating of critical domestic programs, like Medicaid, nutrition assistance, environmental protection, to fund massive tax cuts for the rich and increases in military spending. Make sure your MoCs are sticking up for you in the budget fight, and not for Trump.
Keep Your Focus on Congress
The House and Senate are each working on their own budget resolutions. These resolutions will instruct appropriations committees how much money they have to allocate in the coming fiscal year. They also will start the reconciliation process that allows Republicans to rush through partisan changes, which could include cuts to Medicare and further cuts to Medicaid, on top of the $800 billion Medicaid cut in TrumpCare. The budget resolutions will likely be considered by the House in June, and later this summer by the Senate. We must oppose our MoCs using the budget resolution to make regressive cuts along the lines of Trump’s request.
Key Messages for Your Members of Congress
Here are the key messages that your MoCs need to be hearing from you now:
- No cuts to entitlements and programs that ensure basic living standards for families. The budget proposes to slash $800 billion from Medicaid, $72 billion from Social Security benefits for the disabled, and another $464 billion from food stamps and other core programs for working families.
- Demand parity between defense and non-defense spending. “Non-defense spending” is where you’ll find funding for programs such as public education, repairing roads and bridges, and protecting our environment. Since 2011, increases to defense spending have been matched with increases to non-defense spending, or cuts to non-defense with cuts to defense. The Trump Budget would violate this principle by slashing non-defense spending while increasing the already huge U.S. military budget by $54 billion over the sequester cap for 2018
- No funding for a border wall or ramped up internal immigration enforcement. The budget proposes a $1.6 billion down payment on Trump’s costly wall, something that Americans don’t want, won’t work, and will only make us less safe. Make sure that Trump doesn’t get the resources he needs for this or his mass deportation force, which will not only tear American families apart, but will also make our nation less safe.
- Don’t weaken the future of the U.S. economy—invest in education and research, and support business innovation. The Trump budget forecasts impossibly rosy economic growth, while simultaneously cutting out major engines of future growth. (Again, tax cuts aren’t the silver bullet Republicans want them to be.) Not only would the Trump budget result in immediate and acute harms to working families and the poor—it would erode the path to the American dream and the foundation for new innovations that will power our future economy.
- No new requirements for tax credits that help working families. The budget would require a Social Security number in order to apply for the Child Tax Credit, a critical tool to help working families with children make ends meet. This would drive many children of immigrants ineligible for a social security number into poverty. Some of these children are U.S. citizens.
- Don’t cut or eliminate programs that protect our environment. The budget would slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s funding by 31%, including a $330 million cut for cleaning up areas polluted by hazardous waste and a complete elimination of funding to protect the Great Lakes. It also makes major cuts to Clean Air Act programs that help reduce air pollution.
- Demand “revenue-neutral” tax legislation. This means asking that any tax cuts need to be offset by closing tax loopholes for the wealthy and corporations, which will protect funding for essential programs. Reject the magical thinking that Trump’s tax cuts will pay for themselves—they won’t.