Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trump's budget hurts rural voters who elected him; key Republicans say budget as is won't pass House

Workers at the Government Publishing Office prepared the
2018 budget to be bound last week in Washington.
Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo, European Pressphoto Agency.
President Trump's budget proposal, which will be released today and will cut Medicaid by more than $800 billion over 10 years, will largely hurt the rural working-class voters who propelled him into the White House, Andrew Restuccia, Matthew Nussbaum and Sarah Ferris report for Politico. While Trump promised to help American workers, his "spending blueprint follows established conservative orthodoxy, cutting taxes on the wealthy, boosting defense spending and taking a hatchet to programs for the poor and disabled."

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney "rejected accusations that Trump’s budget unfairly targets the poor, arguing instead that it amounts to a broad rethink of the country’s welfare system," reports Politico. He told reporters, “We need folks to work. We need people to go to work. If you’re on food stamps, and you're able-bodied, we need you to go to work. If you’re on disability insurance and you're not supposed to be, we need you to work. There’s a dignity to work, and there’s a necessity to work.”

Key Republicans already have expressed doubt that the budget will pass, Jordain Carney reports for The Hill. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), in response to being asked if he thought Medicaid cuts were too steep, told reporters, "I just think its a prerogative of Congress to make those decisions in consultation with the president. ... Almost every budget I know of is basically dead on arrival, including President Obama's." About Trump's budget, Cornyn said, "I think it may find a similar fate, but obviously it's an expression of his priorities which is important in terms of the conversation between the branches."

Rep. Hal Rogers, a Republican who represents Eastern Kentucky, told Politico, "I’m deeply concerned about the severity of the domestic cuts.” The Hill notes that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) "told reporters earlier this year that a cut to the State Department's funding by roughly one-third would 'probably not' pass the upper chamber."

G. William Hoagland, a former senior Republican congressional budget aide, said there's no way the budget will pass the House 'as is', Julie Hirschfeld Davis reports for The New York Times. He told her, “The politics of this make no sense to me whatsoever, in the sense that the population that brought them to the dance are the populists out there in the Midwest and South who rely on these programs that he’s talking about reducing. I don’t see how Speaker (Paul) Ryan gets anywhere close to 218 votes in the House of Representatives if this is the model. It’s an exercise in futility.”

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