President Donald Trump’s $4.8 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year 2021 is a clear and damning statement of his administration’s policy priorities. It would hamstring many federal agencies and sacrifice the basic necessities of countless Americans in order to spend even more money on the military and Trump’s dubious vanity projects.
Contrary to the president’s frequent promises not to touch widely popular entitlement programs, his budget would cut funds for Medicaid and Social Security disability insurance. It would also reduce spending on the Affordable Care Act. Together, these cuts would amount to $1 trillion less in federal spending on health care. Funding for food stamps would also be reduced and eligibility for the remaining benefits would be subject to stricter work requirements.
And those are just the safety-net programs. Other vital functions of the government would also be undermined. Trump’s budget would eliminate a quarter of the Environmental Protection Agency’s funding. The Department of Health and Human Services would also see cuts, which would squeeze the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. Housing and Urban Development would lose 15 percent of its budget; and two of its popular programs, the Community Development Block Grant (which funds Meals on Wheels) and the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, would be shuttered. The budget directs the Department of the Interior to stop acquiring new land for conservation and to end welfare and loan programs meant to benefit Indian country. It also cuts funding for the Department of Education and eliminates some of its programs; less money would be set aside for subsidized student loans, and the Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Program would be scrapped entirely. There would also be less money for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, forcing state and local agencies to shoulder more of the burden for disaster relief. On the international front, the budget proposes slashing funding for the State Department and USAID by 22 percent, and humanitarian aid for disaster relief and the care of refugees by a third.