Tenn. lawmakers debate morality of President Trump's first budget

Medicaid, a program Trump vowed to leave untouched during his campaign, is set to lose $800 billion in funding over the next decade, according to a White House official who spoke to CNN.

But Democrats on the committee slammed the administration, and charged that much of the cuts would rip apart the nation's "social safety net".

The Congressional Budget Office plans to release its estimate Wednesday of what impact the Republican House-passed health care bill would have on coverage and premiums.

The President wants legislators to cut at least $610bn (£471bn) from the Medicaid - a healthcare programme for the poor - and more than $192bn (£148bn) from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Snap), the modern version of food stamps - as well as several other initiatives. The new program has been championed by Trump's daughter, Ivanka.

That compares with 28 million under age 65 who would lack insurance that year under the current health law signed by President Barack Obama.

Mr Mulvaney also told the panel that "it'll be very difficult" to balance the budget in future proposal without cutting back the growth of Medicare and Social Security - the big retirement programmes that President Trump left alone in this year's effort.

Other cuts include $63 billion to pension benefits for federal workers by eliminating cost-of-living adjustments for most workers and requiring employees to make higher contributions.

Most of the health proposals would directly hit the federal level, but many would trickle down and eventually be felt on the state and local level - and there are a few changes that states would feel immediately.

President Donald Trump's budget chief delivered a spirited defense of the plan's deep spending cuts, but his agriculture secretary offered only a half-hearted endorsement of proposed reductions to farm subsidies and food stamps.

Trump won support from GOP leaders.

It's important to note that the budget proposal is largely a presidential wish list.

Heritage Action, a conservative advocacy group, disagreed and said Trump's plan would put taxpayers first by rallying Republicans around reform for expensive safety-net programs. The bill would need 60 votes in the Senate, and Democrats have strongly opposed any changes to the program.

While a majority of SNAP recipients are in urban areas, there has been an increase in rural areas.

"It gives a massive tax break to the wealthiest, while imposing painful and debilitating burdens on tens of millions of decent and hard-working people".

The Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that analyzes state budget issues.

But Andrew Feinberg, a reporter with Russia's Sputnik news outfit, pointed out that numerous children who would be cut off under Trump's proposal are USA citizens.

But Mulvaney ensured that the administration would not take "any deserving person off any program", saying the administration looks at it from difference perspectives: "folks who receive benefits and folks who pay for benefits".

"Our argument was instead of. giving somebody $100mn, we could give them a smaller number worth of loan guarantees and they could actually buy more stuff".

Lucy Melcher of the anti-hunger group Share Our Strength says some people aren't able to find work in their areas and have no access to job training.

"And also, let me remind you, [Agriculture] Secretary [Sonny] Perdue mentioned that it was a program that was working, why fix it if it's not broken, and he appeared to not be aware that you all were going to recommend these cuts", Lee added.

He also thinks that some people stuck in poverty do make bad choices - such as dropping out of school or getting pregnant - that worsen their economic outlook.

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