New Trump Budget Seeks to Cut Medicare, Social Security to Fund Border Wall

Trump at a podium speaking in front of the border wall with Medicare and Social Security beside; Trump budget proposal 2021

Donald Trump announced his budget for fiscal year 2021 (FY21) on February 10, 2020. The new Trump budget calls for massive cuts to social programs like Medicare, Social Security, disability, food stamps, and other programs in order to divert funding to his border wall, according to a senior member of the administration. 

Trump budget cuts

According to a senior administrator, the budget is meant to remind Trump’s constituents of his strict anti-immigration policies going into the 2020 election. The budget would cut nearly $4.8 trillion in spending over the next decade, with $2 trillion coming from social safety net programs and student loan initiatives. 

Approximately $300 billion in cuts would come from instituting a work requirement for Medicaid, housing assistance, and food stamps. Other cuts include $70 billion from “tightening eligibility requirements” for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), $170 billion from student loan forgiveness programs, and 26% of total funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

The budget also includes deep cuts to foreign aid spending; the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); some programs of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and calls for the elimination of funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Trump budget increases 

Although the new Trump budget aims to decrease CDC funding by 9%, it also calls for a slight raise in spending for the agency’s infectious disease program. 

It also calls for an increase of 5% to military spending, 7% to Customs and Border Protection (CPB), and 23% to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

Funding the wall

Trump is requesting $5 billion less than he did a year ago in order to fund his border wall, which resulted in a five-week government shutdown. 

Since then, his team has decided to divert Congressionally-approved military funds and use them to build the 175 mile wall in Texas, Arizona, and California. The government is not expected to reimburse the military for the reappropriation of these funds. 

Trump’s promises vs. Trump’s actions

While attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January, Trump committed to cutting Medicare and Social Security if he is elected to a second term, saying it would be “the easiest of all things.”

Shortly after, he said on Twitter he would do no such thing: “We will not be touching your Social Security or Medicare in Fiscal 2021 Budget. Only the Democrats will destroy them by destroying our Country’s greatest ever Economy!”

This is Trump’s first budget proposal that does not include a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, the administration is currently in court attempting to prove the law is unconstitutional. 


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