By LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE
President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, titled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” targets a number of programs for severe cuts or outright elimination – programs that often help poor, working-class and Black families.
The budget plans to cut almost $4 billion in Pell Grants. More than half of African- American college students receive Pell Grant awards each year.
Trump’s budget also eliminates funding that helps subsidize Meals on Wheels, a program that delivers roughly 218 million meals to the poor and elderly each year. Minorities account for nearly 30 percent of seniors that receive home-delivered meals.
Trump’s budget includes $1.5 billion to build a wall along the southern border of the United States. Despite Trump’s “America First” rhetoric, there’s no specific allocation to solve the lead water crisis in Flint, Mich., a $150 million fix, based on some estimates.
“We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good,” said Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget director. Mulvaney suggested that Meals on Wheels and programs that offer free meals to students at school were ineffective.
Trump’s budget purges the Legal Services Corporation, which assists poor Americans with legal services, at a cost of $502 million per year. Two-thirds of Legal Services Corporation’s clients are African-American.
Trump’s budget also abandons Community Development Block Grants and slashes the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s budget by $6.2 billion.
Trump’s budget eliminates the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which costs $3.6 million a year, and helps more than 500,000 homeless people in the U.S. and over 42 million living in poverty in America overall.
Trump’s budget calls for $9.2 billion in cuts at the Department of Education. Trump plans to shift at least $1.4 billion to bolster charter schools and private school vouchers. That shift, much, like $54 billion for defense, would benefit for-profit and non-profit groups seeking lucrative contracts in those areas from the federal government.
Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) is critical of the budget.
“Although President Trump promised a ‘New Deal for Black America,’ his budget slashes the federal workforce and cripples domestic programs such as federal student services TRIO programs, LIHEAP, grants for after school programs, Community Development Block Grants, and Community Services Block Grants,” wrote Richmond in response to Trump’s plan.
“All of this hurts the African-American community. In addition, despite his promise to support and strengthen HBCUs, President Trump proposes to give these schools the same amount of funding they received last year.
“This budget proposal is not a new deal for African Americans. It’s a raw deal that robs the poor and the middle-class to pay the richest of the rich,” Richmond said.
The irony of Trump’s severe budget cuts against the backdrop of the costs to protect the new first family as they vacation and conduct business for Trump’s empire hasn’t been lost on the media.
It was reported that $309,000 a day is being spent to protect Trump Tower in New York City, because First Lady Melania Trump hasn’t moved into the White House. Trump’s weekend trips to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida cost American taxpayers about $2 million per trip.