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Trump Budget 101: A quick look at the issues and items in the president’s budget proposal

May 23, 2017 Updated Wed., May 24, 2017 at 11:29 a.m.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney holds up a copy of President Donald Trump's proposed fiscal 2018 federal budget as he speaks to members of the media in the Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)
Budget Director Mick Mulvaney holds up a copy of President Donald Trump's proposed fiscal 2018 federal budget as he speaks to members of the media in the Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

The White House released a detailed budget proposal Tuesday that aims to balance the federal budget without cutting Social Security retirement or Medicare spending.

Instead, President Donald Trump has proposed deep cuts to Medicaid and other welfare and social service programs.

Here’s what that looks like:

  • Cuts $3.6 trillion in federal spending over the next decade.
  • Includes $1.3 trillion in discretionary funding cuts to many federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and National Institutes of Health, which Trump proposed in March as part of his “skinny budget.”
  • Increases the Department of Defense budget and provides funding for a border wall while significantly cutting defense contingency spending.
  • Assumes Trump’s proposed tax cuts will not only pay for themselves, but will generate an additional $2 trillion in revenue over the next decade by spurring economic growth.

The White House claims the proposed budget is balanced and would eliminate the federal deficit by 2027, which relies on assumptions about tax cuts and growth that both conservative and liberal economists have said are unrealistic.

For instance, the budget projects corporate income taxes will increase by about 1 percent to 6 percent per year for the next decade, although Trump has proposed cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 to 15 percent.

The budget is not likely to become law in its current form. Congress has budget-making authority, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington said Tuesday that Congress would come up with its own plan.

McMorris Rodgers: Trump budget “just a proposal”

President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal is just a blue print of his priorities that Congress doesn’t have to follow, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said Tuesday morning. It can, and likely will, come up with a very different plan.

Here’s a rundown of some of the bigger line items in the budget.

Medicaid and children’s insurance

Medicaid, the federal health insurance program for low-income people, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program would face $616 billion in cuts over the next decade.

The budget also includes a projected savings of $250 billion from repealing the Affordable Care Act, which is not detailed by year.

Medicaid is currently an entitlement program, which means anyone who qualifies for it receives insurance. The proposal would change that, either by giving states a limit on Medicaid spending per enrollee or giving states a fixed amount of money via a block grant to administer their own Medicaid programs.

Defense spending

The Pentagon would receive more money in its base budget, but the Department of Defense’s Overseas Contingency Operations fund would be cut $593 billion over the next 10 years.

Discretionary Pentagon funding would increase $469 billion over the decade by eliminating a defense spending sequester. The budget also includes $2.6 billion to build a border wall.

The contingency fund pays for wars and current operations in Afghanistan.

It was intended to fund events that could not be forecast and thus could not be budgeted for (hence the name), and thus is not subject to Budget Control Act caps. But the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both used the fund to pay for items that had previously been part of the regular defense budget, essentially using the fund as a loophole to maintain higher defense spending.

Crapo: Trump budget calls for ‘dramatic cuts’ affecting Idahoans, communities

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo said while there’s “significant agreement” that the nation needs to bring the federal budget into balance, the budget proposal released today by President Trump calls for “dramatic cuts to programs affecting Idahoans and its communities.”


The budget includes a $200 billion increase in infrastructure spending over the next decade.

The goal is to encourage a total of $1 trillion of public and private investment in infrastructure, which would include “expedited projects that would not have happened” without federal involvement, such as the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program

Federal spending on SNAP – formerly know as food stamps – would decrease by $191 billion over 10 years, a decrease of about 29 percent.

Right now, able-bodied adults without children or dependents have to work to receive benefits. The proposal would extend the work requirement to all able-bodied adults.

The budget proposal says reforms would “close eligibility loopholes, target benefits to the neediest households,” but does not specify what eligibility changes might look like, other than the work requirement.

Some of the spending decrease would be through state matching requirements. States would have to pay a match of 10 percent of total benefit costs by 2020, and 25 percent by 2023. States would also have the freedom to establish their own requirements for benefits, which could be more restrictive than federal requirements.

The budget also includes more than $2 billion in projected savings from requiring retailers to pay an application fee to be able to accept SNAP.

About 18 percent of Spokane County and 13 percent of Kootenai County households received food stamps in 2015, according to census data.

Disability, welfare and other social programs

Social Security disability payments would be cut by $72 billion over 10 years, including a projected $48 billion in savings from efforts to increase the number of people with disabilities who are working.

The budget would cut $21.6 billion over 10 years from Temporary Aid to Needy Families, more often called welfare, including $15.6 billion from block grants to states.

It would bar people who are not legally authorized to work in the United States from receiving an earned income tax credit or child care tax credit, saving an estimated $40 billion. Both credits are designed to incentivize low-income people, especially those with children, to work.

It would also spend $19 billion to create a paid family leave program. States could set up their own programs to provide six weeks of paid leave to all new parents, including adoptive parents.

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