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Donald Trump's Budget Breaks These 7 Campaign Promises

by Jane C. Timm /
NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 15: President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on March 15, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. During his speech Trump promised to repeal and replace Obamacare and also criticized the decision by a federal judge in Hawaii that halted the latest version of the travel ban. (Photo by Andrea Morales/Getty Images)Andrea Morales / Getty Images

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When the White House officially unveiled its 2018 budget Tuesday, President Donald Trump's budget director took pains to insist that the blueprint represents campaign promises kept.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said that the president is making good on his vow to save Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, among other things, and said that they are not kicking anyone off who needs the programs.

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Yet deep cuts to many aspects of the American safety net indicate otherwise.

Here's where the president's proposal breaks his promises — and at times his own self-proposed contract — to voters.

Broken Promise #1: Trump vowed not to cut Medicaid

Trump’s budget would cut Medicaid by a lot, despite the president telling the Daily Signal days before launching his White House bid, “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.”

The administration proposes reducing spending on Medicaid programs by more than $600 billion over the next decade, a massive cut that appears to go on top of $839 billion in Medicaid cuts included in the House health care bill Trump is supporting.

Mulvaney insists that the proposed reduction in spending isn't a cut — it's simply growing less than the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office expects the needs of the program to be.

"There are no Medicaid cuts in terms of what normal human beings would call cuts, we are not spending less money than we did the year before," Mulvaney said.

Broken Promise #2: Trump said he wouldn't cut Social Security

Trump's budget proposes slashing the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a $31.4 billion change to the program that pays monthly benefits to over 10 million disabled individuals under the retirement age.

Mulvaney argued that SSDI isn't “what most people would consider to be Social Security” and said he would "hope" less people receive the program once they remove individuals who "should not" be getting it. It's unclear how the administration determined there is that much fraud in the system.

Broken Promise #3: Trump said he'd fully fund the border wall

The president promised to fully fund a border wall, with plans to make Mexico pay for it later, in his "Contract With the American Voter." The president’s budget would allocate $2.6 billion for planning, designing, and constructing the border wall and its surrounding securities, but Republican leaders estimate the wall could cost as much as $15 billion.

"While we did not get as much money as we wanted for 2017 omnibus we did get a lot," Mulvaney said. "We are going to continue to press on."

Broken Promise #4: Trump promised to cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities

This is another contract promise. Trump’s administration has tried to restrict funding to so-called “sanctuary” cities — jurisdiction that don’t enforce federal immigration priorities and cooperate fully with federal authorities — but their efforts were halted by the courts.

This budget doesn't include any kind of limit on federal funding, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions narrowed the scope of Trump's executive order on the issue in a memo Monday.

Broken Promise #5: Trump said he would increase funding for treatment of PTSD

Trump’s budget would increase funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, but the budget proposal doesn't appear to focus money on PTSD or mental health issues.

It would, however, slash $3.2 billion from the “individual unemployability” benefit, which the budget says will be "modernized." The program allows the VA to more fully compensate disabled veterans, including those with PTSD, whose disability renders them unemployable.

Broken Promise #6: Trump told police union leaders he’d find more funding for training

Trump promised resources for training in his voter contract, as well. This budget aims to increase funding for more border agents and immigration judges, increased immigrant detentions, and fighting the opioid crisis, but it does not earmark additional funds for training police.

Broken Promise #7: Trump promised to bring down the debt "fairly quickly"

Barring the kind of hyperbolic growth Trump has promised and economists have disputed, Trump's budget would do little to combat the national debt. Rather, it would potentially increase it.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

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