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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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If Donald Trump thought he could make easy work of those House Democrats in districts he won four years ago, who took the politically risky–but absolutely correct–vote to impeach him a few months ago, Trump ought to think again.
That’s because, with the federal budget proposal he rolled out earlier this month, Trump hamfistedly handed those vulnerable Democrats the perfect gift with which to be reelected.
When he first ran for president, Trump promised not to cut Social Security “at all,” as well as not to cut either Medicare or Medicaid.
And yet, Trump’s federal spending plan for the 2021 fiscal year would cut $25 billion from Social Security, $241 billion from Medicaid and $845 billion from Medicare.
Relative to their planned cuts to Social Security, Trump officials try to wriggle out of their boss’ campaign promises by saying that the cuts would come from Social Security’s disability benefits, known as SSDI and SSI–not its retirement program.
(Disclosure: This columnist receives SSDI and Medicare benefits.)
The fact that the cuts would come out of the hide of disabled Americans instead of retired ones is a distinction without much of a difference…. and cold comfort to those Americans who rely on those benefits every month.
These are not the “elites.”
These are not the president’s enemies.
These are precisely the kind of Americans that Trump claims to care about.
Which is why, by taking a hatchet to these programs, Trump is actually leaving himself politically vulnerable.
And the Democrats in the red and purple districts aren’t afraid to go on the offensive and use this new political weapon in this year’s campaign.
Democrats like Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, one of the freshmen who came in as part of the wave in the 2018 midterms which flipped the House to Democratic control.
The president’s budget – in addition to slashing Social Security, cutting Medicare, and hindering FEMA’s emergency preparedness efforts – would make deep cuts to the USDA programs that work to expand broadband access for rural Central Virginians. https://t.co/dHpHxyAw7Q
— Rep. Abigail Spanberger (@RepSpanberger) February 11, 2020
“The president’s budget is a reflection of the administration’s priorities—and once again, the administration’s budget plan shows a clear disregard for programs that protect the health of our neighbors, increase opportunity for our kids, and strengthen the overall security of our Central Virginia communities,” Spanberger said. “Among the unnecessary cuts throughout its hundreds of pages, this unrealistic budget blueprint includes senseless cuts to Social Security and Medicare. These popular and effective programs serve as lifelines for thousands of Central Virginia seniors and families who were repeatedly promised these hard-earned benefits throughout their lives—and it’s unacceptable to turn our backs on these promises.”
Republicans have spent months now whining–dishonestly–that all Democrats want to talk about is impeachment; that only the Republicans are the ones talking about the issues which actually matter to the American people.
But now with this wretched budget plan with inhumane cuts to the programs on which millions of Americans rely, Democrats have flipped the script.
Going into this year’s campaign, all Trump has to talk about is impeachment. Democrats will be the ones fighting for funding the programs which are most important for their constituents.
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