Manchin calls proposed Trump budget “alarming”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) sees lots of room for improvement in President Donald Trump’s proposed $4.1 trillion budget, a proposal that, in Manchin’s view, takes a “slash and burn” type of an approach and “lacks compassion.”

“It’s alarming to us,” Manchin said of the budget, titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” during a Tuesday conference call with reporters. “It’s just unbelievable.”

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, (D-W.Va.)

On Tuesday, the White House released the Trump Administration’s budget which covered 1,200 pages and included increased spending for infrastructure, defense and border security, as promised in a March outline.

Additional spending in those areas is made up with projected economic growth and reductions to non-defense domestic costs for the environment, education, low-income assistance and transportation, among others.

“It’s just very demoralizing to see this type of budget being out,” Manchin said. “Every state is going to be affected, there’s not one state that’s going to be spared on this.”

West Virginia, he said, would take an especially hard hit since so many Mountain State residents depend on federal programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women-Infants-Children (WIC), Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF), Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and student loans.

All are slated for cuts.

As proposed, funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission would be completely eliminated; the Environmental Protection Agency could take a 31 percent cut; the Essential Air Service Program, providing commercial air service to rural airports, would see reductions.

“You name it and, by golly, we get hit because there’s so much of this that affects every part of our state,” Manchin said.

The Trump budget does come with six weeks of national paid leave for new mothers and fathers, including those who are adopting, to be administered through the unemployment insurance system at a cost of up to $25 billion during the next decade.

The goal of President Trump’s budget, White House officials said, is a balanced federal budget by 2027.

There are no cuts to Medicare or core Social Security benefits, though the budget would tighten access to the Social Security disability program.

Cuts of $800 billion to Medicaid in the Trump budget hinge on passage of the U.S. House’s proposed American Health Care Act, the potential replacement for the Affordable Care Act. The House bill would end the Medicaid expansion in 2020, shifting some costs to states.

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Manchin is a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee.

“I do not believe this is what will happen,” Manchin said of the Trump budget bill’s chances on Capitol Hill.

“I don’t find any sympathy for this or empathy other than Mick Mulvaney, who’s head of OMB (Office of Management and Budget), he’s taken this course many times before when he was in the House, so this is not surprising for use to get this type of budget from him.”

In the coming weeks and months, “I look forward to working my colleagues to draft a spending bill that truly represents the values of West Virginia and this nation,” said Manchin.

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