Budget Committee Chairman: Trump Budget Proposal ‘Not Responsible or Even Usable’

By Melanie Arter | March 12, 2019 | 7:20 PM EDT

House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) (Screenshot)

(CNSNews.com) – House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) on Tuesday called President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget proposal irresponsible and unusable, complaining that it “relies on a patchwork of gimmicks, fantasy projections and extreme cuts that forfeit any responsibility for the well-being of the American people and our nation.”

“The purpose of this hearing is for us to be the eyes and ears of the American taxpayers on the priorities of the Trump administration as we begin the budget and appropriations process for 2020. Unfortunately, when you look at the budget the Trump administration has produced, it is not responsible or even usable,” he said.

 



“I described the president’s first budget as a betrayal – harsh words for a harsh budget that abandoned working Americans and families. The second proposal continued this pattern, relying on extreme cuts to blunt the deficit exploding impact of the Republican tax scam at the expense of those same working families and Americans,” Yarmuth said.

The chairman said the latest budget proposal “offers more of the same.”

 



“It is a recipe for American decline and relies on a patchwork of gimmicks, fantasy projections and extreme cuts that forfeit any responsibility for the well-being of the American people and our nation,” he said.

Yarmuth complained that the budget would cripple the nation’s economic and national security by slashing “non-defense discretionary spending by more than $1 trillion.”

“Over the course of the decade, it would slash non-defense discretionary spending by more than $1 trillion, crippling our economic and national security by disinvesting in education, public health, energy, health care research, infrastructure, and activities directly related to our national security, including homeland security, diplomatic operations, veterans’ health care, law enforcement, food safety, disease prevention and control,” he said.

The chairman called it an “intentional” and “complete abandonment” of the government’s responsibility to the American people.

“You can’t cut Medicare by half a trillion dollars without knowing it will hurt our nation’s seniors. You can’t cut Medicaid by a similar amount without knowing it will result in families losing health care coverage,” Yarmuth said.

“You can’t cut student loans by more than $200 billion without knowing it will make it harder if not impossible for young people to go to college. You can’t cut nutrition assistance by more than $220 billion without knowing it will leave families without food to put on the table, and you can’t gut the EPA by more than 30 percent without knowing it will make our air less safe and our water less clean,” the chairman added.

“These cuts in the Trump budget aren’t a tightening of the belt or a trimming of the fat or even a serious attempt at reigning in spending. They are extreme to a level that is malicious, a level that is intended to do harm, but that’s not all,” Yarmuth said.

“On top of all the damage done in the name of so-called fiscal restraint, this budget calls for a trillion dollars in additional tax cuts for the wealthy. This is on top of the tax scam enacted in 2017 that showered tax cuts on the rich and wealthy corporations while adding trillions to our deficits,” he said.

“None of it adds up or makes sense, which explains some of the more creative aspects of the president’s budget. The administration uses every gimmick, alternative projection and accounting trick in the book to disguise its true ramifications. One of the most striking parts in this budget is the inclusion of $165 billion for overseas contingency operations – a stunning figure,” the chairman said.

Yarmuth excoriated acting White House Budget Director Russell Vought for trying to “obscure the true cost of military operations.”

“Director Vought, you’re not even trying to hide this attempt to skirt the cap on defense spending and obscure the true cost of military operations. In your op-ed, you implore fiscal conservatives to accept this gimmick as a backdoor way to supercharge defense spending and avoid negotiating realistic and responsible budget caps for both defense and non-defense funding,” he said.

“I’m sorry, but you don’t get many points for being honest about being dishonest. It doesn’t work that way. This is a gimmick, and it deserves the swift bipartisan dismissal with which it has been met. The only way we can begin a productive budget and appropriations process is by committing to honest and realistic budgeting and reaching an agreement to raise the caps for discretionary spending,” Yarmuth added.

 

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