Arizona Democrats are criticizing President Donald Trump’s 2021 budget proposal that includes billions of dollars in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
President Trump’s budget proposal was met with heavy criticism after its release on Monday due to massive cuts to social programs Trump has repeatedly promised to protect.
Programs taking the biggest hits in Trump’s $4.8 trillion budget include Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Trump promised to safeguard these programs as recently as Saturday.
“We will not be touching your Social Security or Medicare in Fiscal 2021 Budget,” he said in a tweet.
The proposal is estimated to cut $2 trillion from entitlement programs over the next 10 years. Estimates on the financial impact of the cuts to Medicare, which covers people ages 65 and older and some younger people with disabilities, are hard to pin down because the amount depends on how spending is measured. For programs like Medicaid, which covers low-income people and families, and Social Security, which covers low-income people with disabilities and elderly people in financial need, costs also vary widely.
Democratic lawmakers reacted swiftly to the proposed cuts. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Tucson, called the cuts “more broken promises.”
“The president should be working to make health care more accessible for Americans; this budget just rips resources away from those [who] need it,” she said in a statement to The Copper Courier.
Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, also denounced the president’s budget, warning that the cuts would harm struggling families.
“Why does Trump make promises to working families if he’s incapable of keeping them?” Grijalva said on Twitter. “The #TrumpBudget is packed with deep cuts to critical programs that working Americans rely on to make ends meet. Yet another example of Trump’s broken promises.”
Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., who has been criticized for going back on her own promises to protect pre-existing conditions, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the cuts.
A spokeswoman for McSally affirmed her support for Medicaid, which Trump’s budget proposal cut by $1.5 trillion. She called the federal insurance program that covers low-income residents a “vital safety net.”
However, McSally has voted multiple times to cut Medicare and Medicaid. In 2017, McSally voted for the American Health Care Act (AHCA), under which 465,200 Arizonans would lose health insurance coverage, including 223,300 Arizonans who use Medicaid, which would be cut by $839 billion.
Politicians weren’t the only ones to speak out against the cuts.
AARP, an advocacy group for people ages 50 and older, said the organization’s leaders are deeply concerned about the proposed funding reductions. The organization listed programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, nutrition assistance, caregiver support, housing assistance, and other assistance for older Arizonans.
“AARP calls on Congress to protect these critical programs that millions of Americans rely on for their health and financial security,” the organization said in a statement to The Copper Courier.
Cuts to Medicare alone would impact more than 44 million people nationwide who rely on the federal insurance program.
The Administration has defended its actions, however, claiming the budget cuts will preserve Medicare, not hurt it. The White House added into the budget overview that it would “eliminate wasteful spending, preserve beneficiaries’ access to care, and enhance choice and competition, consistent with executive order 13890 [Protecting and Improving Medicare for Our Nation’s Seniors].”