President Trump's Fiscal Year 2018 budget, May 23, 2017. By Roberta Rampton, REUTERS
WASHINGTON U.S. President Donald Trump wants lawmakers to cut $3.6 trillion in government spending over the next decade, taking aim in an austere budget unveiled on Tuesday at healthcare and food assistance programs for the poor while boosting the military.
The biggest savings would come from cuts to the Medicaid healthcare program for the poor made as part of a Republican healthcare bill passed by the House of Representatives.
Trump wants lawmakers to cut more than $800 billion from Medicaid, and more than $192 billion from food stamps over a decade. He seeks to balance the budget by the end of the decade, according to the plan.
The budget is based on forecasts for economic growth of 3 percent a year by the end of Trump's first term.
There is some new spending in Trump's plan for fiscal year 2018, which starts in October. The Pentagon would get a spending hike, and there would be a $1.6 billion down payment to begin building a wall along the border with Mexico, which was a central promise of Trump's presidential campaign.
Trump's proposal foresees selling half of the U.S. emergency oil stockpile, created in 1975 after the Arab oil embargo caused fears of price spikes.
Republicans are under pressure to deliver on promised tax cuts, the cornerstone of the Trump administration's pro-business economic agenda, which would cut the business tax rate to 15 percent and reduce the number of personal tax brackets.
Mick Mulvaney, Trump's budget office director, said the plan is the first one in a long time to pay attention to taxpayers.
“Yes, you have to have compassion for folks who are receiving the federal funds, but also you have to have compassion for the folks who are paying it,” he told reporters.
Republican leaders in the House said lawmakers would be able to find common ground with the budget plan.