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Facing Huge Deficit, Trump Calls for Cut to CHIP

The proposed cut to the Childrenís Health Insurance Program makes up almost half of the administrationís rescission package.  (@lira_n4/Twenty20)
The proposed cut to the Childrenís Health Insurance Program makes up almost half of the administrationís rescission package. (@lira_n4/Twenty20)
May 9, 2018

NEW YORK – Faced with looming budget deficits, the Trump administration is looking to cut federal spending by some $15 billion, with almost half coming from the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

In the past six months, Congress and the White House have enacted tax cuts and spending increases that will raise the federal deficit by more than $1 trillion.

To compensate, the administration announced a package of proposed cuts Monday night that would cut $7 billion from CHIP.

According to Shawn Gremminger, director of federal relations at Families USA, the cut would hinder the program's ability to respond to increased demand.

"The base CHIP program will be OK without this funding, but it significantly reduces the ability of the federal government to provide support for CHIP in the case of an emergency or in case more people get enrolled than is expected," Gremminger points out.

Administration officials say much of the proposed cuts are from funds that are not expected to be used, so they will not affect operations.

Gremminger says the cuts are intended to calm fiscal conservatives who are concerned about the huge projected deficits that are coming in the years ahead.

"But instead of going after the budget pieces that have actually been included in this increased spending, or decreased revenue in the case of tax cuts, they're going after kids," he states.

The proposed rescission package is less than one-half percent of total government spending for the year, and the administration has promised several more proposals.

Gremminger notes out that Congress must approve the cuts for them to take effect. In the closely divided Senate, the rules require a simple 51 percent majority.

"This almost certainly can pass the House of Representatives,” he concedes. “But over on the Senate side, I think the vast majority of Democrats would oppose this, and I think there are at least a decent number of Republicans who are skeptical of moving on this package this year."

The rescission package also calls for $800 million in cuts to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY