Trump budget features cuts all over, but for many, the deepest ones are right here at home

Posted at 7:23 PM, May 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-23 19:23:36-04

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump formally released his new budget proposal on Tuesday, even though he's on the other side of the world, on the first diplomatic trip of his term.

The budget proposal, which is for the fiscal year 2018, features cuts in almost all areas except defense, veterans affairs and border security. That means it hits home hard, according to a wide array of people who'd be affected by its many reductions in spending.

"Life is hard. Life is hard," said Monica Leandro, 48, as she wiped away tears on Tuesday afternoon and described her life situation, and how it could be affected by changes proposed in the White House's budget plan.

"I receive financial assistance so my family has a place to sleep," the Peruvian immigrant told PIX11 News, through a translator. "People like me come here to work hard," she said, "and now I'm not able to receive government benefits if the president stops everything and cuts it off."

Leandro, a mother of two, supports her mother and father on a minimum wage job. PIX11 met her through BronxWorks, an community service organization based here that has the highest rating on the non-profit vetting service Charity Navigator for the services BronxWorks provides to 45,000 children, families and seniors.

The organization knows firsthand that President Trump's proposed budget, if passed, would have a huge effect in this part of New York.

"These are people who very often are on the edge" of survivability, said Eileen Torres, BronxWorks's executive director. She said that the Trump Administration's proposed cuts to social services programs like SNAP (which is often called food stamps), Medicaid and housing assistance would be "just devastating to the entire family."

Specifically, the Trump budget proposal reduces SNAP by 29 percent; it cuts the Children's Health Insurance Program by 19 percent; it cuts Medicaid by 17 percent.

Some New York City public housing programs would be cut by up to 68 percent, according to the New York City Housing Authority.

In its announcement of the new budget, Office of Management and Budget Director John "Mick" Mulvaney said that it is a responsible proposal. He said the $4 trillion budget is by no means cutting off people who need help.

However, Mulvaney said, “We need people to go to work. If you are on food stamps, we need you to go to work. If you are on disability and you should not be, we need you to go back to work.”

In the end, however, said NYU and College of New Rochelle political science professor Jeanne Zaino, the budget is much more about politics than it is about economics, which is why the budget that passes Congress is likely to look very different from the one that the Trump Administration just proposed.

"The budget director and the president are trying to sell this as a 'people first' budget," Dr. Zaino told PIX11 News. However, she added, the people in the home districts of many members of Congress, as they keep seeing the details of the budget plan, are likely to tell their legislators, '"Absolutely not," she said.