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Trump Budget Plan Threatens Latino Economic Security, Says Latino Civil Rights Group

A leading Latino civil rights group blasted the effect of cuts proposed in the president's budget request on Latinos.
Image: Trump 2018 Budget
Christina McGier straightens pages during a production run of President Donald Trump's fiscal 2018 federal budget at the Government Publishing Office's (GPO) plant on May 19, 2017 in Washington.Carolyn Kaster / AP

President Donald Trump’s budget “threatens the economic security and progress” of Latinos and millions of other Americans, the National Council of La Raza’s president declared Tuesday.

Janet Murguia, NCLR president and CEO, as well as other Latinos weighed in on the $4 trillion-dollar wish list that makes deep cuts to social program spending, asks for $2.6 billion for a border wall and increases defense spending.

Murguia said the budget strips funding from programs that “safeguard the economic footing of Latino families” and hurts all working American families struggling to make ends meet.

The budget proposes cuts to Medicaid, the program that provides health care to the poor and elderly and pays for nursing home care for seniors.

It also would cut billions over the next decade from the food stamp program and money for student loans, while eliminating a program that provides housing assistance to low-income families.

Related: Trump Budget Would Cut Safety Net Programs, Boost Defense Spending

Murguia said the budget “takes food off the tables” of Americans and takes health coverage “from those who need it most” while increasing spending on deportations and splitting families.

One Latino Democratic congressman expressed disdain for the budget another way:

Experts reached by NBC News were skeptical of Trump’s budget plan. They said it rests on the economy growing at 3 percent annually, about double the 2016 nation’s growth. Also Tuesday, questions were emerging regarding the math used in the budget proposal.

Related: Trump’s Budget Assumes ‘Unrealistic’ Economic Growth, Say Experts

The president’s budget is not binding, but it can be something of a guide for members of his party in Congress regarding his agenda. Republicans who champion smaller government are likely to welcome some of the cuts in spending on social programs.

The proposal did not earn an immediate endorsement from Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, one of the longest serving Republican Latinos in Congress.

In a statement, Diaz-Balart of Florida, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said he’d “thoughtfully review and consider the president’s request.”

Similar to other Republicans lukewarm on the plan, Diaz-Balart emphasized that it’s Congress, not the president, who writes the budget.

Related: Lawmakers Declare President Trump’s Budget Proposal ‘Dead on Arrival’

Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., was more critical. He said the budget “does not reflect the appropriate allocation of funds to get our country back on sound footing.”

In a statement, Curbelo highlighted cuts to spending on the environment and for combating climate change, cuts to safety net programs and “complete slashing of public broadcasting funds.” The budget, he said, “abandons progress already made on programs that enjoy bipartisan support.”

“As the House looks to begin its own budget and appropriations process, my colleagues and I will work to ensure many of these programs remain adequately funded,” Curbelo said.

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