Mulvaney defends Trump budget's social safety net cuts

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney holds up a copy of President Donald Trump's proposed fiscal 2018 federal budget as he speaks to members of the media in the Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington Tuesday

His argument is that Medicaid funding will still increase in dollar terms each year during the 10-year budget window. Lawmakers from both parties have said major changes will be needed as the measure moves through Congress.

"I have news for you: If we don't get to 3 percent growth, it's unlikely we'll ever get a balanced budget again", Mulvaney said, asking lawmakers "how pessimistic can you be" to think 3 percent is impossible. We're coming off one of the biggest recoveries in American history.

Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., laced into the budget, saying it was based on fanciful economic predictions of high growth rates but low inflation and bond yields that would make managing the government's $20 trillion debt less costly.

SEE MORE: Another Government Shutdown? In total, the President's budget proposal highlights 2018 savings of $57.3 billion in discretionary programs, including $26.7 billion in program eliminations and $30.6 billion in reductions.

The plan, Trump's first as president, combines 4.1 trillion U.S. dollars (£3.2 trillion) for the upcoming 2018 fiscal year with a promise to bring the budget back into balance in 10 years, relying on aggressive spending cuts, a surge in economic growth - and a two trillion USA dollars-plus accounting gimmick. Cuts to a popular crop insurance program have already landed with a thud. Disability payments are cut by $72 billion.

Rep. John Carter, a Texas Republican who chairs the homeland security subcommittee, says the proposed cuts of $767 million to state and local grant programs are "worrisome". "That's not true", said Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.

The budget not only slashes funding for food stamps by $191 billion over the next decade - that is, by more than a quarter - but also proposes charging retailers a new fee if they want to accept food stamps from customers. "It's not right when you look at it from the perspective of people who pay the taxes", Mulvaney declared. But then the $2 trillion is also counted as economic growth for the objective of reducing the deficit.

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The budget claims it balances the budget over a decade without touching Social Security and Medicare, while spending more on national security, the border, infrastructure and more.

Warren pointed to a recent Congressional Budget Office analysis that found the House-passed AHCA would cut $834 billion from Medicaid and leave 23 million additional people uninsured in 2026 compared to the Affordable Care Act - a law under which she argued the uninsured rate for veterans decreased by almost 40 percent.

Likewise, a 10-year, $191 billion reduction in food stamps - nearly 30 percent - far exceeds prior proposals by Capitol Hill Republicans.

Mr Mulvaney responded by pointing out that there were 47 million people on Snap at the height of the recession, and now there's 42 to 44 million.

The Trump budget would cut the U.S. Department of Education budget by $9 billion, a 13 percent decrease. It would create three tax brackets - 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent - instead of the current seven, but specific details were left to further negotiations with Congress.

On Wednesday night, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson - whose budget to help low-income households would be cut by more than $6 billion next year - added his own thoughts. He filed two items for Sputnik, including one noting that Trump's budget would deny tax credits to "parents who aren't legally in the United States even if their children are American citizens".

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