Federal Budget Update: Balanced Budget in 10 Years Using Both Mandatory and Discretionary Funding
The administration as well as the House and Senate budget committees are all striving to produce a budget that balances within 10 years. While reducing the deficit is of great concern, the process and the timeline in which to do so are important to ensuring we have a federal budget that is able to meet the needs of the people, while also being adaptable to sudden changes, such as national disasters, recessions, and other potential devastating events. Balancing the budget in 10 years or less would mean serious spending cuts.
In March, President Trump’s budget proposal called for $54 billion in cuts to discretionary funding. In addition, the president is now suggesting that $800 billion in means-tested mandatory funding also be cut from Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), child nutrition programs, and Pell grant programs. However, many sources are saying that the cuts will go beyond means-tested programs and may also target the Social Security Disability Program.
The administration’s suggestion that $54 billion be cut from non-defense discretionary funding, the stream of funding that funds human services, is quite concerning to us. When factoring in all the pending threats to the upcoming budget, the actual cut is much more severe.
Senator Leahy (D-VT) has identified programs that are $12.8 billion in the hole for the coming fiscal year. Some of these programs include the U.S. Census, some Veterans Affairs programs, and HUD renewal vouchers. In addition to these programs, sequestration is still on the table at $2.9 billion, meaning the pot of money being reduced could initiate from an even lower amount. In total, the actual cuts to non-defense discretionary funding could total $69.7 billion, if the administration’s budget were to be enacted as written.
The president’s full budget proposal is not expected until late May.