What's in President Trump's 2021 budget proposal?

It contains increases in military spending, but cuts to Medicaid and Social Security programs.
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President Donald Trump on Monday unveiled his budget proposal for 2021, and the contents could have significant implications for this November's elections.

The $4.8 trillion budget released on Monday has zero chance of becoming law in its current form, given it will have to go through Congress where it will be subjected to major changes. What's more, Congress has already agreed to defer any new spending proposals until after the 2020 election.

Nonetheless, the contents of the budget do contain guidelines for the president's thinking for a possible next term in office. The main talking point so far has been the proposed cuts to entitlements including the Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare programs, which the president has previously said he would not touch.

Here's a look at some of the key points that have emerged from it:

$1 trillion in cuts to Medicaid, other healthcare programs

One of the inclusions that has so far attracted the most attention is changes to America's Medicaid, Medicare, and Affordable Care Act programs.

It includes $844 billion in savings over 10 years from Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. The Hill notes that the details of how these savings would be realized, but the one proposal that was mentioned was ending the federal funding provided to states who want to expand Medicaid so that it covers more people, which was created via the Affordable Care Act.

A further $150 billion in savings would come from implementing work requirements for Medicaid, which would result in a number of current recipients losing their Medicaid coverage.

The $500 million cuts in Medicare would come from reducing payments to providers ie. hospitals and clinics, so that all providers receive the same amount in reimbursements, which the New York Times notes is an idea that dates back to the Obama-era.

The people who are enrolled in Medicare won't be affected cost wise, nor is the eligibility requirement changing. However, it would allow those aged over 65 to opt out of Medicare.

The proposal also calls on Congress to take action to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and does provide an extra $7 billion of spending over a decade to tackle opioid abuse and mental health via Medicaid.

Changes to Social Security, cuts to other safety net programs

Social Security income isn't being changed, but the budget does propose cuts to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs.

Per Forbes, recipients of SSDI and SSI would have to "more regularly prove that their medical conditions haven’t improved," taking part in more frequent reviews to see whether they still quality.

Disability advocates argue however that this would add a bureaucratic layer for disabled recipients, that could result in some being removed from the program despite still needing it.

The budget also proposes cutting spending on the food stamp program (SNAP) by $181 billion over 10 years, with CNN reporting this would include making it harder for states to waive work requirements for "certain able-bodied, working-age adults without dependents," who would only be able to get 3 months of SNAP benefits in a 3-year period unless they got at least a part-time job or went to school.

Also, those who qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families would no longer be automatically qualified for SNAP, but would have to apply separately, per the EA Courier.

The Trump Administration proposes tightening eligibility requirements for SNAP, which is designed at removing those who don't really need the benefit, but which the Urban Institute argues could take as many as 3.7 million people off the program.  

Money for Great Lakes Restoration

Despite previously proposing the program's budget be slashed, the Trump Admin's budget now includes an extra $20 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which targets threats to the five Great Lakes including Superior in Minnesota.

This is $20 million more than the U.S. House approved last week, according to Michigan Live.

Increased military spending, wall funding, VA

Good news for military budgets, with the Trump Administration proposing an increase in military spending of $740.5 billion, a 0.3 percent increase.

Also on security, the president is asking for $2 billion more for the building of the security wall on the Mexican border. 

Spending increases included in the budget would boost the Veterans Administration's funding by 13 percent and Homeland Security by 3 percent.

The budget also calls for the government to cut the amount it provides in international aid to developing countries by 21 percent.

Cuts to federal departments

Among the federal departments that would face significant budget cuts are the Environmental Protection Agency (26 percent), which The Hill reports would eliminate 50 EPA programs, including those aimed at reducing pollution, and cut funding for research and development.

There are also proposed cuts to the Department of the Interior (16 percent), the Department of Energy (8 percent), and the Department of Health and Human Services (9 percent).

Infrastructure improvements for rural residents

The Trump budget contains a "Revitalizing Rural America" grant program, which USA Today reports would help with broadband, transportation, water, and roads projects.

It would also provide $614 million in water and wastewater grants and loans, and $690 million for broadband infrastructure in rural areas.

More spending for NASA

The budget calls for a 12 percent increase in the NASA budget, from $25.2 billion in 2021, up from $22.6 billion this year.

Half of that would go towards NASA's program to put the first woman on the surface of the moon within the next five years.

Ultimately, this mission would be used as preparation for an eventual effort to reach Mars.

NASA however notes that it would need between $26-$27 billion every year over the next five years in order to properly fund the Artemis program.

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