Now that Republicans have complete control of the House, Senate and Executive branches, there will be absolutely nothing standing in their way.
That means only one thing: their past budget proposals and drastic cuts for welfare spending, especially those affecting the poor, are likely to be passed very quickly.
Even though Trump and Republican leadership have a few areas of disagreement, and there is likely to be compromise in several areas, two things they both agree on is getting rid of Medicaid block granting and food stamps for the poor. They want to cut the program’s budget by nearly a third. That’s not just taking a scalpel to the budget – that’s a hack saw.
y all accounts – millions of people will be affected.
The Urban Institute ran an analysis of recent Republican proposals and found that, in total, it would kick 14 million to 20 million people off of Medicaid rolls. That’s in addition to the number of people who would lose benefits if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. If the ACA is cut, that total could make 30 million to 40 million people uninsured and without help to get health insurance.
That’s just what Paul Ryan has proposed under a Democratic president. Who knows how far they will go now that they have unfettered power. Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate, has argued for even deeper cuts.
“I’ve been working on these issues since 1972,” Robert Greenstein, the founder and president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Washington’s leading advocate for poor and low-income Americans, says. “This is by far the gravest threat to the safety net, and to low-income people, that I’ve seen in my close to half a century of working on these issues. I think there’s a potential in the first seven months, by the August recess, for Congress to pass policies that do more to increase poverty and hardship and widen inequality than we’ve seen in half a century.”
But – that’s not all. The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (aka Food stamps) will also be dealt an enormous blow, as well. Currently, states get that money – and instead of having to give it to the poor, they can use that money for other things – a likely outcome. And – there will be far less money to be given out.
The CBPP estimates that around 62 percent of Republican cuts come from programs that help the poor and moderate-income people. That’s $150 billion in cuts for food stamps and nearly $500 billion in other low-income programs like SSI and Pell grants.
If enacted entirely, 10 million people will be kicked off the program.
“One thing that low-income Americans lack is cash, and SNAP is not cash but it’s near cash,” James Ziliak, a professor of economics and founding director of the Center for Poverty Research at the University of Kentucky, says. “At this point in time there’s really nothing else. SNAP is the closest thing to an entitlement program in the country. If you take that away, you take the social safety net of last resort away.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan, along with Trump, wants to increase defense spending. This is how they plan on getting the money, by taking away from the programs like these. There has to be cuts in some form in order for them to justify this further spending on the military. But – at the same time – they also want to increase tax cuts, which will further add to the budget deficit.
Even with these proposals, it still remains to be seen how they will balance the budget. Only time will tell what else they plan on cutting.