Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal questioned Budget Director Mick Mulvaney about Trump’s new budget proposal during the House Budget Committee hearing today.
Transcript of the exchange:
PRAMILA JAYAPAL: Let’s talk about clear language and telling the American people exactly what’s happening in this budget. We are slashing, in this budget, you are slashing, Medicaid by $610 billion. Combined with the healthcare cut, that’s almost $1.5 trillion of cuts to a program that currently serves 74 million Americans. So, in plain language for the American people, that is a dramatic cut to their health care – for most people, healthcare that they wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere.
A $1.2 billion cut to Centers for Disease Control, clear English, cuts drug addiction treatment and prevention services. A $1 billion cut to housing assistance programs, including for veterans who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads. We talked about infrastructure already so I won’t go into that.
Mention SNAP. This is nutritional assistance for the most needy families in our country. And, let’s just talk about the border wall for a second. This is a $1.6 billion investment into, what I call, the “Wall to Nowhere”. This is a wall, a down payment on a wall, that is ultimately gonna cost the taxpayers $40 billion according to a recent MIT study. And as Janet Napolitano once said when she was governor of Arizona, “Show me a 100 foot wall, I’ll show you a 101-foot ladder”.
This is not the solution to any of our immigration issues.
Now you’ve said, Director Mulvaney, that you should’ve called this the “Taxpayer First Budget,” but I have to ask you: Which taxpayer? Out of the almost trillion dollars in tax cuts in this budget, which are on the backs of all these other cuts we’ve mentioned, 50% of those tax cuts are gonna to the top 1%. And 75% of the tax cuts are gonna to the top 75% of income earners. So what we are doing is taking away essential benefits for working families across this country – positions that the president ran on – and putting them into the top earners in the country.
So, when you talk about ‘Trumpanomics” — I think that was the word you used in your opening statement — and you said “Let’s do anything that gets you to 3% growth,” is that the same philosophy that got the president to six separate bankruptcies… $1.8 billion in debt for Trump Hotels before he declared those bankruptcies?
I’m not really sure what “Trumpanomics” is when you look at the President’s record. So what I’d like to ask you, Director Mulvaney, is can you explain how taking away from programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the disabled and student loan repayments — one of the top issues in this country, Republicans and Democrats alike $1.4 trillion dollars in student loan debt right now — Can you explain how that benefits the economy or working families across this country?
And I might reclaim my time to just to make sure, but let’s start there.
TRUMP BUDGET DIRECTOR MICK MULVANEY: I… I… I can try. Because folks are throwing me notes because you raised a bunch of issues so let me do this this in as rapid form as I possibly can. CHIP is being extended; it’s not being reduced. Total spending on drug treatment goes up; it’s not being reduced.
You use the word “plain language”, slashing Medicaid to most people — plain language slashing Medicaid would mean we spend less next year than we did this year. That’s what a slash means, right? That’s what you hear? No. It’s not true. I think it’s one year in a ten-year window when we have a little kind of tiny dip because of the cliff that’s caused by the AHCA on the Medicaid expansion states.
But generally speaking, across the budget all we do is slow the rate of growth. Which is to say we will be spending more on Medicaid every single year, again I think except one. And you can call that a slash but I’m telling you back home, people say you slash spending on something, I think they would expect you to think that you’re spending less money one year versus the previous year.
The SNAP: What we do on SNAP is a couple different things, and again we can take more time on this if you like. We do ask for an able body work requirement. We can go into the fact that SNAP went up dramatically during the downturn from I think roughly 28 million people on the program before the recession to 47 million people on the program at the height of the recession.
I think the most recent number we have is roughly 42 or 44 million. We’re back near what we like to call full employment. We’ve had several years of a slow but growing economy. Don’t we think that maybe some of those folks —
PRAMILA JAYAPAL: I’m gonna… I’m gonna reclaim my time. I’m sorry — we’re limited so I’m sorry for that. But I think if you look at what the American people thought about the Republican healthcare bill, you’ll see that that slash in Medicaid is in a fact a slash in Medicaid, that even a Republican governor spoke out against it.