GOP budget ignores president's cuts to domestic agencies

Diane Black
Diane Black

21 July, 2017

The negotiators, Brady, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch, have yet to agree on a new corporate tax rate or how to pay for tax cuts. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson-LeeHouse committee advances budget resolution Dems launch "no confidence" resolution against Trump House Democrats offer to set agenda for Trump-Putin meeting MORE (Texas) tried to intervene on his behalf. The plan proposes deep cuts to safety net programs like Medicaid and food stamps and reprises a controversial Medicare plan strongly opposed by President Donald Trump - though Republicans only want to deliver on a small fraction of the cuts.

In the wake of the collapse of the GOP's efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this week, adopting a new budget resolution is a vital first step by the Republicans in enacting major individual and corporate tax cuts that President Trump and Republican leaders promised voters past year.

McConnell acknowledged if Republicans fail to call up a repeal-only vote - based on expected objections from three senators - they'll move on to other priorities, such as a tax overhaul and an infrastructure package.

The Co-Chairman of the Tuesday Group, Charlie Dent, says that the appropriation bill is being drafted by them is using numbers that are far from reality while citing the $621 billion budget allocation for the defense and $511 billion for non-defense discretionary spending. "Resulting policies restricted lending for small business and maintain the "too big to fail" ethos that nearly brought down the American financial sector", the budget statement asserts.

The budget resolution could also raise resistance in the moderate wing of the GOP. While Republicans argue that major tax cuts would be an elixir for the economy and drive up revenues, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has largely treated Trump's more than $7 trillion of proposed tax cuts for business and individuals as a work in progress. But to push a Republican-only approach through Congress, the GOP first has to get a budget resolution through the Congress.

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The Daily Signal previously reported that participation in Alabama's food stamp program dropped by 85 percent in 13 counties after officials said able-bodied adults without dependents must work, look for work, or get approved job training in exchange for food stamps. Democrats have denounced the plan. The proposed defense spending exceeds caps on allowable spending, so they'd need Democrats' support to lift those caps. Given a wholesale repeal or overhaul now seems imperiled, Republicans are looking at other ways to attack a law they have vowed to overturn since it was signed by Democratic former President Barack Obama seven years ago.

The panel is stocked with hard-core conservatives, some of whom said the measure is too loose on spending. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., faulted the measure for a $28 billion increase above Trump's budget for defense and for rejecting most of Trump's proposed $54 billion cut to domestic programs for next year. The plan as it stands is likely to be delayed and has little to no chance of implementation.

Those spending cuts would be used to offset a tax reform plan in the spirit of the "Better Way" proposal the House GOP unveiled a year ago. Ways and Means' deficit reduction directive calls for at least $52 billion in cuts over 10 years; the total cuts by all 11 committees would be a minimum of $203 billion over those years.

It also contains its share of gimmicks, including $1.8 trillion in deficit cuts over the coming decade from rosy projections of economic growth averaging 2.6 percent over 10 years. Another $700 billion in savings would come from a crackdown on "improper payments" such as tax credits and Social Security and Medicare benefits going to people who don't qualify for them.

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