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Trump budget to cut $800B from Medicaid

By Andrew V. Pestano
Trump budget to cut $800B from Medicaid
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday is expected to formally request $1.7 trillion in cuts to programs such as Medicaid and food stamps. Photo by Alex Wong/UPI | License Photo

May 22 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump plans to request $1.7 trillion in cuts to social and entitlement programs for lower-income Americans, including an $800 billion cut in Medicaid, U.S. government officials said.

Trump's request, which is expected to officially be unveiled on Tuesday, is part of an effort to balance the budget within a decade. Bloomberg News, citing a Republican congressional aide and a White House document outlining the budget, reported the Trump request includes $274 billion in cuts over 10 years to means-tested anti-poverty programs, such as food stamps.

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The Trump administration prepared talking points for congressional Republicans, stating the "budget strives to replace dependency with the dignity of work through welfare reform efforts."

Trump's request assumes the Republican bill to replace former President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law becomes a law itself, CNN reported. Despite promising not to cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid as a presidential candidate, Trump has already supported cutting Medicaid by sponsoring the GOP's American Health Care Act, which passed the House on May 4.

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The $193 billion cut, or 25 percent cut, to the food stamps program, called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, would be achieved by limiting eligibility for food stamps and by requiring those enrolled in the program to work, the White House document shows.

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Some suggested Trump's proposed cuts could bring about much-needed changes to the related programs.

Josh Archambault, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability conservative think tank, said Trump's proposal gives states flexibility to impose work requirements that could usher in changes to programs such as Medicaid and public housing.

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"One of the encouraging things about putting this in the budget is that states will see if it works," Archambault told The Washington Post. "States will try it."

Michael Tanner, a welfare specialist at the libertarian Cato Institute, told The Post the U.S. government spends between $680 billion and $800 billion a year on anti-poverty programs but that investment is not showing the "gains we should be seeing for all that spending, and that would suggest its time to reform the system."

But Democrats have criticized the GOP and Trump for targeting the social and entitlement programs.

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"This budget continues to reveal President Trump's true colors: His populist campaign rhetoric was just a Trojan horse to execute long-held, hard-right policies that benefit the ultra-wealthy at the expense of the middle class," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement Sunday.

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