Democrats quickly panned President Trump’s fiscal 2021 budget proposal on Monday, pledging that it is “dead on arrival” on Capitol Hill.
The $4.8 trillion plan includes cuts that would break with a two-year budget deal agreed to by both the White House and congressional leadership.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called Trump’s proposal a “double-cross” of the Americans Trump promised to help during last week’s State of the Union speech.
“As typical, President Trump’s budget shows his State of the Union address was lie upon lie to the American people,” Schumer said in a statement.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who is pitching reforms to Congress’s budget process, called the White House proposal “dead on arrival.”
“It’s merely a political stunt to gratify extremists in his party,” he added.
Democrats are taking aim, in particular, at efforts in the proposal to eliminate the deficit over a 15-year period by cutting domestic spending and reining in how much funding goes to Medicaid and Medicare.
That includes capping or block-granting Medicare benefits, adding work requirements to medical and anti-poverty programs or implementing changes that lower the costs of Medicare and Medicaid.
Those would result in a $700 billion cut to Medicaid, though the administration said the decline in projected spending was the result of savings and efficiencies.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 White House hopeful and the ranking member on the Budget Committee, blasted Trump’s proposal as an “immoral document” and pledged that it would be “rejected by Congress.”
“The Trump Budget does not see a problem in this country it cannot somehow make worse. Unless, of course, the problem is that the wealthiest families and largest corporations in this country haven’t gotten enough tax cuts, or that the military-industrial complex isn’t raking in profits that are obscene enough,” Sanders in a statement.
Trump’s budget also proposes steep cuts to several departments, including a 37 percent cut for the Commerce Department, a 26 percent cut for the Environmental Protection Agency and a 21 percent cut to the State Department and foreign aid.
“At a time when we are faced with a global health threat with the Coronavirus, the Trump administration is doubling down on its efforts to gut the very programs needed to protect American lives. This is not just short-sighted, it’s actually dangerous,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement.
Presidential budgets are routinely ignored on Capitol Hill, where both the House and Senate will pen their own fiscal 2021 spending bills. But they give the administration a chance to unveil its own political wishlist and underscore its priorities heading into the November election.
Democrats quickly put the budget proposal in the context of the looming election, where both the White House and control of Congress is up for grabs.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez called Trump’s proposal “morally bankrupt.”
“The Trump administration is a broken record; we keep hearing the same tune over and over, and this year is no exception. It’s time for a president who puts the middle class first,” he said in a statement.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) tried to connect the budget proposal to Republicans who are up for reelection in November.
“The White House’s budget blueprint is a plan that reflects Republican priorities in 2020 — keep attacking vital programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security,” said Stewart Boss, a spokesman for the DSCC.
— Niv Elis contributed