Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle criticized President Donald Trump’s FY18 budget request to cut billions of dollars from programs that help low income people. Some Republicans have already said the proposal was dead on arrival.
“The President’s budget displays a fundamental lack of understanding of the role of government of, by, and for the people in supporting the middle class, lifting up the most vulnerable among us and serving our values and interests as a nation,” said Senate Appropriations Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT). “His budget eliminates key investments in rural communities, leaving them without federal partnership support for everything from infrastructure development and affordable housing, to programs that preserve the environment and provide food for the elderly.”
“We know that the president’s budget won’t pass as proposed,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX). Instead, Mr. Cornyn indicated that lawmakers are already having conversations about how Congress can reach another bipartisan budget deal to lift the austere FY18 spending caps required by the Budget Control Act of 2011. “I think that’s the only way,” he said. “It would be good to get that done so we can get the Appropriations Committee to work.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) agreed. “We’ll have to negotiate the top line with Senate Democrats, we know that,” Mr. McConnell said. “They will not be irrelevant in the process, and at some point, here in the near future, those discussions will begin.”
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney defended the Trump budget request before the House and Senate Budget Committees on May 24 and 25.
During the House Budget Committee hearing, Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) said, “Never before really have I seen such a cruel and morally bankrupt budget. It dismantles our nation's basic living standards which Americans have turned to for decades. How are people going to get health insurance with the cut of $1.3 trillion in Medicaid? And how are people going to get a house to either purchase or rent with the elimination of the Housing Trust Fund and a $2 billion cut in rental assistance?”
Senator Jeff Merkely (D-OR) criticized the budget for cutting rental assistance and said that, if enacted, it would eliminate 4,000 housing vouchers in Oregon alone. He questioned Mr. Mulvaney on proposing such deep cuts to housing assistance given the current housing crisis in the U.S. Mr. Mulvaney did not provide an answer during the hearing but said he would follow up with a response.
Watch the House Budget Committee Hearing at: http://bit.ly/2q0Wkz7
Watch the Senate Budget Committee Hearing at: http://bit.ly/2qWIIKg