President Trump's team has officially released its first full budget proposal.
The proposal also adds $2.6 billion for border security and immigration enforcement - including $1.6 billion for building a wall on the US-Mexico border, one of Trump's controversial campaign promises. NPR's Scott Horsley reports. Trump's budget turns its back on the trust and treaty obligations our nation owes to American Indians and Alaska Natives and cuts core services for Tribes like health care, education, and public safety.
Food stamp cuts would drive millions from the program, while a wave of Medicaid cuts could deny nursing home care to millions of elderly poor people.
The Trump plan would roll back Obama-era increases to a children's health program for lower-income families who don't qualify for Medicaid, take an ax to the Environmental Protection Agency and climate change programs, cut $95 billion from highway trust fund transfers to state highway departments, and curb payments to disabled veterans of retirement age who are eligible for Social Security.
That comes as no surprise after Trump, who confounded Republicans on the campaign trail for straying from conservative principles, tapped Mick Mulvaney, a former SC tea party congressman, as his budget director.
"They're not putting money into the places that help people go to work", said Stacy Dean, vice president for food assistance policy at the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
"As a former welfare recipient, I simply can not support such a misguided and cruel budget that targets Medicaid, Social Security Disability Insurance, and those trying to escape the chains of poverty".
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?"
"It's not what most people consider to be Social Security", Mulvaney said Tuesday as the administration rolled out its budget.
The budget does feature a handful of domestic initiatives, including a six-week paid parental leave program championed by Trump's daughter, Ivanka. Higher growth means lower deficits and Trump's plan folds in more than $2 trillion in unspecified deficit savings over the coming decade from "economic feedback" to promise balance.
"Here's what I'm happy about", Ryan said. Bernie Sanders and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in labeling the plan "Robin Hood in reverse".
Republicans are under pressure to deliver on promised tax cuts, the cornerstone of the Trump administration's pro-business economic agenda, which would cut the business tax rate to 15 per cent from 35 per cent, and reduce the number of personal tax brackets.
SHARON PARROTT: This budget really lay to rest any belief that the president is looking out for the people the economy has left behind.
Mulvaney said Trumponomics can be defined as sustained 3 percent economic growth.
"To utterly gut programs Americans have not only come to depend on but, basically, are needed for any type of a life, doesn't make sense", he said. And while Trump's campaign pledge to improve USA infrastructure marks a rare point of common interest with many lawmakers, Democrats have said encouraging private investment doesn't work in rural areas, and even some Republicans have called for more direct federal funding. "We don't have enough money to take care of everybody who doesn't need help". We do. There's a dignity to work, and there's a necessity to work to help the country succeed.
The announcement surprised oil markets, and briefly pulled down USA crude prices.
HORSLEY: The White House needs to find millions more workers because it's setting very aggressive economic targets.
"It's not a serious budget", said Stan Collender, a leading budget expert who used to work for the congressional budget committees. A better word might be "responsible", but the Trump administration realized what Mulvaney called an "ugly truth": "You can never balance the budget at 1.9 percent" growth. "This is probably a prudent place to make some cuts given all the other investments we make in national defence", Spoehr said.
Trump administration officials defend the cuts by saying the rest of the world must do its "fair share" as the United States retreats from its traditional spending overseas. If she's right, the government would end the decade not with a balanced budget as Trump envisions but in an even deeper deficit hole.