US President Donald Trump has sent a $4.1 trillion budget plan to Congress, which has immediately been denounced even by top Republican lawmakers as “dead on arrival” mainly for its deep cuts to programs supporting the poor.
The budget plan for 2018, titled “The New Foundation for American Greatness,” is packed with steep cuts to domestic agencies, food stamps, Medicaid, highway funding and medical research.
“It will face a tough sled here… These cuts that are being proposed are draconian. They are not mere shavings, they are deep, deep cuts,” said veteran GOP lawmaker Harold Rogers in reaction to the bill.
Trump’s plan is one of the budgets that are “basically dead on arrival,” said the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, John Cornyn of Texas.
The bill predicts that 2017 deficit will hike to $603 billion from the $585 billion figure in 2016 and argues that such a growing deficit trend will reverse and reach a small surplus of $16 billion in 2027 if Trump’s initiatives are adopted.
However, analysts say the plan depends on overly optimistic projections and a variety of accounting gimmicks.
Trump has lambasted the former administration’s lackluster growth rate of two percent and based his budget on sustained growth above 3 percent for the next decade, which is sharply above the expectations of most private economists.
This is while the Congressional Budget Office has estimated an average growth rate of 1.9 percent for the country over the next decade.
Trump’s budget seeks to cut almost $3.6 trillion– an almost 8 percent cut– from benefit programs and domestic agencies.
Instead, Trump’s 2018 budget would shift $54 billion from non-defense discretionary spending to defense by enacting major cuts to government agencies.
The cuts include repealing and replacing former president Barack Obama’s health law, slashing the government insurance program for the poor and disabled (Medicaid), eliminating student loan subsidies, sharply cutting food stamps and cutting $95 billion in highway formula funding for the states.
The budget will also cut 31.4 percent from the Environmental Protection Agency, 29.1 percent from the State Department, 20.5 percent from the Department of Agriculture and 10.7 percent from the National Science Foundation.