How Trump’s budget would cut the safety net for the poorest Americans

Trump’s vision for the budget adds to the deficit while cutting domestic programs such as food stamps that benefit people in need

Harvey, Illinois, is a depressed suburb of Chicago that was hit hard by the sluggish economy. The president is also proposing work requirements for several federal programs including housing subsidies and Medicaid. Photograph: Christian Science Monitor/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s budget proposal, unveiled on Monday, revived his calls for big cuts to domestic programs that benefit the poor and middle class, such as food stamps, as well as plans to entirely eliminate several arts and earth sciences funding.

The president, who is looking for large increases in military spending, is also proposing work requirements for several federal programs including housing subsidies and Medicaid. The budget plan won’t be taken up by Congress unchanged but is being seen as the latest snapshot of his priorities.

Democrats swiftly criticized the plan. John Yarmuth of Kentucky, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said: “The Trump budget proposal makes clear his desire to enact massive cuts to health care, anti-poverty programs and investments in economic growth to blunt the deficit-exploding impact of his tax cuts for millionaires and corporations.”

Trump’s plan involves a 2019 deficit of $984bn, though White House budget director Mick Mulvaney has admitted $1.2tn is a more plausible estimate. The plan is estimated to add $7tn to the national deficit. On Tuesday, the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, told Congress the ballooning deficit was one of the gravest threats facing US national and economic security.

Many of the Trump administration’s proposals stand no chance of passage in Congress, where lawmakers have already defied him over last year’s budget. But the plans signal his intent for the direction of the US.

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