Trump administration unveils first budget with 3.6-trillion-dollar spending cut

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-05-24 08:58

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration on Tuesday unveiled its first full budget that would cut 3.6 trillion US dollars in government spending over the next 10 years to balance the federal budget.

"The first step is to bring federal spending under control and return the federal budget to balance within 10 years. Deficit spending has become an ingrained part of the culture in the nation's capital," the administration said in its budget for fiscal year 2018, which starts from Oct.1, 2017.

The budget, which was titled "A New Foundation for American Greatness", claims to eliminate the federal deficit by the end of the decade through faster economic growth and deep cuts in Medicaid payments, food stamps and disability benefits.

Calling it "a taxpayer-first budget", Mick Mulvaney, Director of the White House's Office of Management and Budget, said the administration would place great weight on the interests of taxpayers rather than those who need government help.

"We're no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs, but by the number of people we help get off those programs," Mulvaney said Tuesday at a press briefing.

Funding for Medicaid, the health care program for low-income and disabled Americans, would be cut by more than 800 billion US dollar over 10 years, while the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides benefits to about 44 million people, would be cut by about 193 billion dollars, according to the budget.

For fiscal 2018, the budget would also shift 54 billion dollars from non-defense discretionary spending to defense by enacting major cuts to the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies.

The budget is expected to meet with resistance from both parties in Congress and start a new round of fiscal fighting in Washington. Republican Senator John Cornyn has described the budget as "basically dead on arrival". Many Democrats have also opposed the steep cuts to non-defense discretionary spending in the budget.

"President Trump's budget is a stark showcase of the president' s broken promises to America's hard-working families," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday in a statement. "Families across America would suffer, with particularly harsh effects on rural communities."

The administration also estimated that US economic growth would accelerate from 1.6 percent last year to 3 percent by 2021, and would continue staying at that level for the rest of the decade, with the help of tax reform and deregulation.

However, many economists are skeptical about the administration's growth assumptions. The US economic growth will average about only 1.9 percent over the next 10 years, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

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