COMMERCIAL APPEAL: Donald Trump’s budget breaks promises, endangers citizens’ health
Recently, I testified before the House Budget Committee to advocate for a people-oriented budget that would build a stronger and healthier nation. If our budget is to truly reflect our values, it is time to significantly increase non-defense spending to combat compelling needs at home.
During the State of the Union, President Donald Trump pledged to increase investment in childhood cancer research. With Memphis as the home of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the leader in childhood cancer research, I was optimistic this priority would be reflected in his budget proposal. Instead, he proposed the National Institutes of Health receive a budget cut of $4.5 billion, with the National Cancer Institute losing nearly $1 billion in funding.
Americans are far more likely to die from cancer, heart disease, dementia, diabetes and other catastrophic illnesses than from an attack by North Korea, Iran, Russia or any other foreign adversary.
The president promised not to cut Medicare, but that's his plan
In terms of our individual selves, our most immediate departments of defense are the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Our investment in these agencies has allowed us to be a leader in the fight against global pandemics and disease.
Cuts to these agencies, along with the president’s proposed $40 billion cut to the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, reduce our ability to be a leader in combating our most common threats and advancing American values.
This includes supporting domestic programs like Medicare and Medicaid. In the president’s budget, he proposed a plan that would reduce funding for Medicare by nearly $200 billion over the next 10 years despite his repeated promises to not cut the essential program.
This would affect nearly 60 million Americans. Medicaid spending would be cut by almost $1.5 trillion over the next decade, an impact that would be felt by 75 million Americans, many of whom are our most vulnerable citizens.
Hungry people will go hungrier
The president’s proposed budget also takes aim at the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP makes the difference for families and allows them to put food on the table. Over the next year, the White House would like to cut $17 million from the program and slash $220 billion over the next decade. The wealthiest country on earth should not be letting people, especially children, go hungry.
“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time,” said the late Maya Angelou. The president’s budget shows us that he is not one to keep the promises he’s made to the American people.
It is essential that Congress adopt a budget that invests in programs that make our country healthier, stronger and better prepared to meet the challenges ahead.