AFSCME President Lee Saunders on Monday called President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for 2020 “an attack on working people and another attempt to rig the economy in favor of the privileged and the powerful.”
The budget request to Congress comes less than two months after the longest government shutdown in history and appears to set up another major funding fight in October. It comes a little over a month after Trump’s State of the Union address, in which he called for unity, yet seems intended to sow division. And it makes clear that, contrary to his campaign promises of standing up for working people, Trump prioritizes helping the rich and well-connected at the expense of everyone else.
“Instead of strengthening our communities with robust investments in job creation and public services, the administration is seeking a staggering $2.7 trillion in domestic spending cuts,” President Saunders said. “That would mean less access to health care, fewer job-training opportunities, an increase in the number of underfunded schools, a rise in decaying infrastructure, and more. Meanwhile, corporations and the wealthiest Americans would continue to avoid paying their fair share in taxes.”
Trump seeks deep cuts over the next decade to federal programs that help low-income families and the elderly, including $845 billion in cuts to Medicare; $241 billion in cuts to Medicaid; $220 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps; and $207 billion in cuts to the federal student loan programs.
He also wants $8.6 billion for his wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, on top of the almost $7 billion that he sought last month as part of a national emergency declaration.
It was disagreement with Congress over wall funding that led to the government shutdown in December.
“On the heels of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, this is the moment for a consensus-seeking budget that unites us around core values, one that ensures continuity in public services and one that does not jeopardize the paychecks of hardworking government employees and contractors,” President Saunders said. “Instead, the president continues to go the most divisive route possible with his request for $8.6 billion to build an unnecessary and unpopular border wall.”
AFSCME calls on Congress to reject this bad proposal and create a budget that empowers working families and their communities.
Top: Protestors voice opposition to cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in a 2012 action in Chicago, IL.