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Election Year Stunt: Senate Republicans Try to Run from Trump’s “Damaging” Budget Proposal But Can’t Escape Their Own Toxic Records

GOP Senators Attempt to Hide From Hearing Trump’s Budget Plan Rather Than Risk Scrutiny for “Longstanding” Efforts to Cut Programs Like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security As Administration Officials Falsely Insist GOP Tax Scam Will Pay for Itself & “Not Yet Ready to Reveal” New Plan to Gut Health Care Protections

The White House released its budget proposal earlier this week with plans to enact “steep reductions” in safety net programs like Medicare, Medicaid, children’s health insurance, Social Security’s disability benefits, nutrition assistance and more. Senate Republicans have been part of “longstanding GOP efforts” to attack earned benefits and safety net programs… but instead of admitting they support President Trump’s budget and its goals, the GOP has decided they don’t want to hold a Senate hearing on the topic because it will turn into a “diatribe against the president.”

The real reason why Republicans won’t hold a hearing on Trump’s budget is clear: the plan is another “damaging” political liability for vulnerable GOP incumbents in November.

Unfortunately for Senate Republicans, hearing or no hearing, they already have their own lengthy records in Washington of supporting efforts to gut these programs. Meanwhile, Trump administration officials have been struggling to explain and defend the GOP’s reckless fiscal agenda on Capitol Hill this week:

  • Acting Budget Director Russell Vought testified on Trump’s planned budget cuts and said the president is “not yet ready to reveal” his health care plan — despite the fact that Trump’s been in office for more than three years and is currently in court backing a lawsuit that would end protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

“By ducking and dodging instead of actually opposing the White House’s toxic budget, Senate Republicans are reminding voters that the future of health care and retirement security is on the ballot in 2020,” said DSCC spokesperson Stewart Boss. “This budget blueprint is yet another liability for Republican incumbents who already have problematic records of attacking and undermining programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security that seniors, hardworking families and Americans with disabilities have earned and count on to make ends meet.”

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

HuffPost: Trump’s Budget Proposal Is A Political Gift To Vulnerable Democrats

  • But there’s one less-discussed topic that these Democrats think could be a massive political liability for Trump and Republicans: The president’s latest budget request.
  • Less than a week after he stood in the House chamber and said in his State of the Union address that he wouldn’t cut Medicare or Social Security, the president offered a budget blueprint Monday that would do both.
  • But these are cuts nonetheless. And even in a highly partisan era in which news stories come and go in a matter of hours, vulnerable Democrats think Trump’s budget could have real staying power in the campaign.
  • On top of breaking his promises on Medicare and Social Security, Trump’s proposal goes hard after Medicaid, the health care program designed to help low-income families and children.
  • The budget would cut an estimated $920 billion from Medicaid over 10 years, by tightening restrictions and federal matching funds for states that expanded the program. And the budget would cut money from other Obamacare-related programs as well, all while the Trump administration continues its efforts to strike down the Affordable Care Act in the courts.
  • And the last DCCC Chairman ― Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), who oversaw the dramatic Democratic gains in 2018 ― had a similar message: “Every one of my colleagues on the Democratic side of the aisle should be abundantly clear when they’re going home to visit with their constituents how devastating President Donald Trump’s priorities and budget are to their families.”
  • “Voters know where [candidates] stand on impeachment,” this [Democratic campaign] strategist said. “Those numbers have been static for months. This election is going to be about health care, so if you’re a Democrat in a swing district and you use your one minute with a voter to tell them where you stand on impeachment, you’re wasting the opportunity to connect with them on the issue that’s driving their vote.”
  • Vulnerable Republicans do seem to sense how damaging Trump’s budget could be for their party.

Reuters: Despite $1 trillion deficits, Trump tax cuts will still ‘pay for themselves’: Mnuchin

  • U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin insisted on Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s tax cuts will still pay for themselves over 10 years, even as the administration forecasts near-term deficits close to $1 trillion.
  • Mnuchin told the Senate Finance Committee that the administration was two years into that 10-year period, and higher spending was the source of the deficits, not lower revenues.
  • The Congressional Budget Office predicted in January that U.S. deficits would average $1.3 trillion a year over the next decade, far higher than envisioned in Trump’s budget released on Monday. That level is viewed by some economists and policy makers as unsustainable.
  • The administration’s economic forecasts are far rosier than those of the CBO, many private economists and the International Monetary Fund, which predict fading stimulus from the tax cuts and constraints from an aging U.S. workforce.

New York Magazine: Trump Budget Director ‘Not Yet Ready to Reveal’ Obamacare Replacement

  • Donald Trump ran for office promising a health-care plan that would cover everybody, cost less money to individuals and the government, and provide superior coverage. It turned out he had no such plan. “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated,” he quickly admitted.
  • Since 2009, Republicans have been promising that they can design health-care plan that can do all the things Obamacare does without costing anybody anything, if only we scrap Obamacare and start over. When Obama was in office, they used Obama’s refusal to go along with this strategy as a reason not to produce their plan to do it. When Trump took office, their bluff was called.
  • Through a year of feverish efforts to design something that would carry out at least some of his promises, Trump never developed a plan that would do any of the things he said. The closest they came was a Senate bill that would have repealed Obamacare and left the replacement plan to be determined at a later time. In the meantime, the administration is pursuing a legal strategy to repeal Obamacare, which would throw millions off their coverage and allow insurers to charge higher prices or refuse coverage to patients with preexisting conditions. Trump’s 2020 budget proposes an additional $844 billion in cuts to health-care subsidies.
  • Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought testified about Trump’s planned cuts. A Democrat asked Vought how Trump plans to protect patients with preexisting conditions when he is fighting in court to remove those protections, has no alternative means to protect them, and wants to cut nearly a trillion dollars in funding to cover people. Vought explained there will be a plan to do all those things. Trump just didn’t include it in the budget for some reason.
  • “The president is working on his own plan that we’re not yet ready to reveal,” Vought said. “It will be fully reflected in what he comes forward with.”
  • Just wait! The terrific plan is coming! Trump has only had three years to design it — don’t rush him. Why the plan has to remain secret, Vought did not say, but probably Trump just loves surprises and doesn’t want to spoil the look of wonder on the faces of the American people when he finally comes forward with his Obamacare replacement.

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