6 Things to Know About President Trump's New Budget
The White House on Tuesday will release its budget blueprint for the 2018 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. Titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” the budget calls for $3.6 trillion in spending reductions to balance the budget by 2027 and lift annual economic growth to 3%.
“This is the first time in a long time an administration has written a budget through the eyes of the people actually paying the taxes,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters Monday during a briefing.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the budget the White House proposes automatically becomes law — far from it. The budget committees in each chamber of Congress still have to write their own blueprints, which Congress will have to approve. And the budget that Congress passes is a resolution, not a law — it is the framework under which Congress will work to pass legislation, and doesn’t require the President’s signature.
Here are six things to know about the new version of the White House budget, which members of the Trump Administration will take to Capitol Hill to promote this week.
The budget calls for six weeks of paid family leave
The budget proposes six weeks of paid family leave for new mothers and fathers, including adoptive parents, and suggests states establish their own parental leave policies “most appropriate for their workforce and economy.”
The measure was orchestrated by First Daughter Ivanka Trump, according to the White House, who created an interagency working group for a variety of issues, including this one. The proposal is likely to face stiff opposition in Congress on both sides of the aisle. Mandated paid family leave rarely garners support among Republican lawmakers, and some Democrats are already arguing the plan is insufficient.
“The Administration’s plan does not address the issue in the comprehensive way that is needed for hard working Americans,” Connecticut Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro said. “We need a policy that includes paid time off to care for a seriously ill or injured family member, which includes parents and children, as well as for workers who themselves have a serious health issue and for military families — not just for the birth or adoption of a child.”
Its rosy deficit projections assume Obamacare will be repealed and tax reform will pass
Mulvaney said the biggest factor in decreasing the deficit will be the repeal of former President Barack Obama’s health care reform law. But the Republican repeal law, the American Health Care Act, has only passed narrowly the House, it remains hugely unpopular, and Senate Republicans have been in no rush to bring it to a vote in the upper chamber, content to go through their own legislative process.
The Congressional Budget Office has not even released its projections for the impact that the House-passed version of the AHCA would have — it is slated to do so on Wednesday. So the projections for deficit reduction could change based on how the health care debate unfolds, and whether or not Obamacare actually gets repealed.
Mulvaney also said a deficit-neutral tax reform was factored in. But even as Trump Administration officials and Republican leaders in Congress have identified tax reform as a key legislative priority, little progress has been made amid chaos in Washington over Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey and its aftermath.
Medicaid could be in for some big cuts
Under the White House budget, states would assume control for the provision of Medicaid through block grants they could distribute as they see fit. This is aligned with the current version of the American Healthcare Act, which the CBO estimates will ultimately cut Medicaid by $880 billion.
The budget also prohibits any funding for groups that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood. Mulvaney said the budget defunds Planned Parenthood on the assumption that the American Healthcare Act — which has a provision to defund the organization — will become law.
But the proposal does not include any cuts to core Social Security benefits and Medicare.
Restrictions on welfare programs like food stamps could get tighter
The budget will recommend tightening restrictions on eligibility for assistance programs — like food stamps — in an effort to increase the number of people in the workforce and grow the economy. The SNAP program better known as food stamps is up for a $193 billion cut.
“We need people to go to work,” Mulvaney said. “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 — you’re not truly disabled — we need you to go to work. We need everybody pulling in the same direction.
The budget has more money for border security
The White House budget would allocate $44.1 billion for the Department of Homeland Security, $2.6 billion of which would go toward border infrastructure and technology, including the border wall Trump repeatedly promised to build during the campaign.
This will likely be one of the more contentious parts of the budget hashed out in Congress. Legislation signed authorizing spending through the rest of the 2017 fiscal year excluded funding for a border wall after the measure encountered opposition on both sides of the aisle.
And more money for the military
Trump is requesting $54 billion for defense spending in his 2018 budget, $52 billion of which would go toward the Department of Defense. The spending would go toward growing military ranks by 56,400 service members, and investing in fighter planes and ships.