TRUMP PROPOSES BOOST TO MILITARY, CUTS TO MEDICAL, SCIENCE RESEARCH
“To keep Americans safe, we have made tough choices that have been put off for too long. But we have also made necessary investments that are long overdue.” President Donald Trump, in a statement titled “America First” that accompanied the budget “The left is not going to let him decrease non-defense discretionary to the extent that he wants to. We’re going to have to find a different way to balance the budget.” Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho
If you’re a poor person in America, President Donald Trump’s budget proposal is not for you. Trump has unveiled a budget that would slash or abolish programs that have provided low-income Americans with help on virtually all fronts.
During the presidential campaign last year, Trump vowed that the solution to poverty was giving poor people incentives to work. But most of the proposed cuts in his budget target programs designed to help the working poor, as well as those who are jobless, cope.
And many of them carry out their missions by disbursing money to the states, which establish their own criteria.
“This is a budget that pulled the rug out from working families and hurts the very people whom President
Trump promised to stand up for in rural America and in small towns,” said Melissa Boteach, vice president of the poverty-to-prosperity program at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.
The White House budget cuts will fall hardest on small communities that Trump won, where one in three people are living paycheck to paycheck.
The budget proposes housing “reforms” that add up to more than $6 billion of cuts.
It would eliminate the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which coordinates the federal response to homelessness across 19 federal agencies. The administration’s reforms include eliminating funding for a $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, one of the longest continuously run HUD programs that’s been in existence since 1974.
The program provides cities with money to address a range of community development needs such as affordable housing, reha- bilitating homes in neighborhoods hit hardest by foreclosures, and preventing or eliminating slums and community blight. It also provides funding for Meals on Wheels, a national nonprofit that delivers food to home-bound seniors.
Meals on Wheels’ volunteers served 3,838 seniors in 2016 in the Denver area. In all 577,300 meals were provided, program officials said. There are also 30 dining sites in the seven-county metro area that serve meals to seniors 60 or older. That program served 4,351 with 203,428 meals last year.
Robert Rector, a senior fellow who focuses on welfare at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington-based think tank, calls the community block grants a “slush fund for urban government.”
The White House touts its cuts to what the administration characterizes as “a number of lower-priority programs” as a way to “promote fiscal responsibility.” In actuality, it guts federal funding for affordable housing and kicks the financial responsibility of those programs to states and local governments.
Gone would be $35 million in funding for well-known programs such as Habitat for Humanity and YouthBuild USA, fair housing planning, and homeless assistance, among other housing help for needy Americans.
Other targets include funding for neighborhood development and a home-buying program through which low-income individuals help build their own homes. Trump also plans to cut the Home Investment Partnership Program, the largest federal grant to state and local governments that is designed to create affordable housing.
“There is no coordinated plan for how to fulfill the same mission. Saying states, local governments and philanthropy are going to help is just passing the buck,” said a HUD official. The official said workers at the agency Thursday morning were feeling demoralized and worried.
“This is just a tough, tough time,” the official said. “HUD is no different than any other domestic agency in just feeling as though these cuts are all very arbitrary and unnecessary.”
Poor people need not lean on community banks for financial help either, because Trump plans to eliminate the $210 million now dedicated toward Community Development Financial Institutions. The program invests in community banks that provide loans and financial services to people living in some of the most distressed communities of the country.
“Cutting that program would be nothing short of a disaster, and the ripple effect would be felt in urban areas and some rural areas all over America,” said Michael A. Grant, president of the National Bankers Association.
The administration also would eliminate:
• The Energy Department’s weatherization assistance program, which dates to 1976.
• The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps homeowners cover energy costs or repair furnaces and air conditioners.
• The Community Services Block Grant, a $715 million program that funds more than 1,000 anti-poverty organizations.
• The Legal Services Corp., an independent agency that provided $343 million to 134 legal aid organizations for the poor who are tangled up in cases of wrongful eviction, custody disputes, child support or domestic violence.
Defense 2018 budget: $574 billion Change: +$52.3 billion
Homeland Security 2018 budget: $44.1 billion Change: +$2.8 billion
Housing 2018 budget: $40.7 billion Change: -$6.2 billion
State Department 2018 budget: $27.1 billion Change: -$10.9 billion
EPA 2018 budget: $5.7 billion Change: -$2.6 billion
Transportation 2018 budget: $16.2 billion Change: -$2.4 billion
Veterans Affairs 2018 budget: $78.9 billion Change: +$5.9 billion
Agriculture 2018 budget: $17.9 billion Change: -$4.7 billion
Energy 2018 budget: $28 billion Change: -$1.7 billion
Justice 2018 budget: $27.7 billion Change: -$1.1 billion
Health and Human S ervices 2018 budget: $65.1 billion Change: -$15.1 billion
Commerce 2018 budget: $7.8 billion Change: -$1.5 billion
NASA 2018 budget: $19.1 billion Change: -$0.2 billion
Treasury 2018 budget: $11.2 billion Change: -$0.5 billion
Corps of Engineers 2018 budget: $5 billion Change: -$1 billion
Labor 2018 budget: $9.6 billion Change: -$2.5 billion