Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, gave an overview of President Donald Trump’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2018, which focuses more on the taxpayer than the recipients of Federal programs.

“We looked at this budget through the eyes of the people paying the bills,” Mulvaney said in a press conference May 23. “Yes, you have to have compassion for the people receiving the funds but you also have to have compassion for the people that are paying it.”

The budget proposes one of the biggest cuts from the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation. Mulvaney said that NSF did not use taxpayer money effectively last year because they put on a “Climate Change Musical.”

Mulvaney insisted that the administration wasn’t proposing any cuts from Medicaid. Under the American Health Care Act, the states would get more control over how Medicaid funding gets spent.

“There are no Medicaid cuts in the terms of what an ordinary human being would call a cut,” Mulvaney said.

Mulvaney said that due to Trump’s request nothing in the budget “touches Social Security, retirement, or Medicare.”

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The balanced budget proposal would allocate more money to the department of Defense, border security measures, law enforcement, veterans services, school choice, and a nationwide parental leave plan, according to Mulvaney.

“If I can look you in the eye and tell you that I need to take this money and give it to this disabled vet, I can do that in good conscience,” Mulvaney said.

Mulvaney said that he can’t justify spending the same amount of taxpayer money on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or food stamps. Mulvaney said that before the recession about 28 million people were receiving SNAP benefits. During the height of the recession, 47 million people were receiving SNAP benefits. Now there are about 42 million Americans receiving SNAP benefits, according to Mulvaney. He said that this number should be lower due to the economic growth after the recession.

“Are there people on that program who shouldn’t be on there?” Mulvaney said.

Mulvaney said that the government should scrutinize the people receiving SNAP benefits more thoroughly. However, Mulvaney said that he’s “not familiar with the details” of how the government would do this.

“We’re not going to measure compassion by the amount of money that we spend or the number of people that we help,” Mulvaney said.

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Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Federal IT and K-12 Education.