The White House defended cuts to social welfare programs in President Trump’s budget blueprint Thursday, casting them as a fulfillment of a pledge to make government more efficient.
Speaking to reporters at the daily White House briefing, budget director Mick Mulvaney argued that cuts on everything from Meals on Wheels and after-school care to foreign aid are aimed to improving government.
“Meals on Wheels sounds great,” he said, arguing that it’s the sort of program that is “not showing any results.”
(In fact, a 2013 review of research showed that most studies found home-delivered meal programs significantly improved diet quality, improved nutrition and reduced food insecurity among participating seniors.)
Mulvaney also defended cuts to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports local public TV and radio stations, saying that was “something I don’t think we can defend any more.”
And he reiterated his support for cuts to climate change research.
“We’re not spending money on that anymore,” he said. “We consider that to be a waste of your money.”
Presidential budgets never take effect unchanged, rather serve as a messaging platform to Congress and the American people. The White House has been working to deconstruct what chief strategy Steve Bannon calls the “administrative state” and Trump’s budget certainly is in line with that aim. The Trump Administration is making the spending cuts in part to pay for a $54 billion increase to the defense budget.
But many provisions in the document are facing an icy reception on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers will have ultimate authority in crafting the government’s budget for fiscal year 2018.