A congressional staff member delivers copies of President Donald Trump's Fiscal Year 2019 government budget at the House Budget Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, February 12, 2018. (Photo: Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images)
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Those wondering how President Donald Trump plans to pay for the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts for the rich he signed into law last year got their answer on Monday, when the White House unveiled its 2019 budget (pdf) blueprint that calls for $1.7 trillion in cuts to crucial safety net programs over the next decade -- including $237 billion in cuts to Medicare alone.
While imposing "severe austerity" on domestic programs that primarily benefit poor and middle class Americans, Trump's proposal also aims to hike the Pentagon's budget to $716 billion -- a seven percent increase from his 2018 request -- and provide $18 billion for "the wall."
"The Trump budget is morally bankrupt and bad economic policy," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote on Twitter Monday shortly after the White House proposal was made public.
Trump's proposed FY19 budget is out. Over 10 years: - $300+ billion cut to Medicaid - $213 billion cut to SNAP- $21 billion cut to TANF- $72 billion cut to disability programs - eliminates Social Svcs Block Grant (helps pay for child care and foster care) 1/
— Chad Bolt (@chadderr) February 12, 2018
Trump's budget will include over $200 billion in cuts to food stamps. We can afford a trillion dollars in tax cuts for CORPORATIONS, but must cut food stamps. Got it.
— Michael Linden (@MichaelSLinden) February 12, 2018
Critics were quick to note that such severe cuts to healthcare programs that serve the elderly, the disabled, and the poor will likely come "with a body count."
"Millions of Americans will lose access to life-saving programs because the GOP gave $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to the rich," the advocacy group Tax March wrote on Twitter.
Almost the exact same size as the massive handout the GOP just gave their billionaire donors. #HandsOff https://t.co/AE58kPCwVu
— SocialSecurityWorks (@SSWorks) February 12, 2018
In addition to calling for potentially devastating cuts to healthcare, food stamps, and other components of America's already-withering safety net, Trump's budget also calls for large cuts to environmental programs -- including $598.5 million from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"President Trump's budget is nothing short of devastating for all Americans who value clean air, safe drinking water, and protected public lands," Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement on Monday.
Though presidential budget requests are non-binding, they are a strong indicator of the White House's goals and values, as Indivisible's senior policy manager Chad Bolt observed while analyzing the newly released document.
Trump's "budget proposal is just a proposal, but it's a clear statement of his priorities," Bolt noted. "Making deep cuts to programs families rely on has been a priority since Day 1."
After giving massive tax cuts to billionaires, President Trump’s disgraceful budget slashes Medicaid, Medicare, nutrition assistance, heating assistance & attempts yet again to repeal the ACA. This Robin-Hood-in-reverse agenda is the last thing American families need. #HandsOff https://t.co/csk2gSnUsA
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) February 12, 2018