Proposed 2021 Budget: A $4.8 Trillion Attack on the Most Vulnerable Americans

The White House released its proposed FY 2021 budget on February 10, 2020. If passed, it would make huge cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other federal safety net programs. The implications would be devastating to millions of low-income Americans.

The $4.8 trillion budget calls for cutting SNAP funding by $182 billion over the next 10 years. These savings are mostly anticipated to come from tightening eligibility requirements for accessing SNAP. Currently, recipients between the ages of 18 and 49 receive SNAP assistance for three months at a time and must prove that they work at least 20 hours a week. The proposed Trump budget extends the work requirement rule to people up to age 65.

The budget would also cut school meals by $1.7 billion over the next 10 years, cut TANF, and undermine provisions of Medicaid and other supports for low-income people. The Community Eligibility Provision, a program that helps reduce the administrative work high poverty schools experience when operating nutrition programs would also experience loss. The proposed budget would also change the process for verifying school meal applications, which would lead to a reduction in the 12.4 million children receiving access to free and reduced school meals.

Communities of color stand a high chance of experiencing negative outcomes as a result of this proposed budget. Historical and continued disenfranchisement have led to many people of color residing in disproportionately high poverty areas and as a result, many of the proposed cuts to safety net programs would cause many to sink further into poverty.

While slashing essential benefits for low-income Americans, the budget would extend 2017 individual tax cuts, which benefit multi-millionaires; and the military budget would increase by $459 million – to about $3.2 billion. When asked, President Trump stated, “We’re going to have a very good budget with a very powerful military budget, because we have no choice,” adding that he was aiming to reduce spending by rooting out “waste and fraud.”

Although it is highly unlikely that the Democratic-controlled House would vote in favor of this proposed budget, it further shows how committed President Trump is to increasing food insecurity, the wealth gap and racial disparities.