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Udall: Trump budget would be ‘devastating’ to NM’s economy

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would be “devastating to New Mexico’s economy,” U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said.

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.

The proposal would make cuts to education funding, Medicaid, Medicare and water projects, “and roll back environmental programs that keep our air and water clean and safe,” according to the senator.

“The deep proposed cuts to Medicaid, SNAP food assistance, housing assistance and Social Security disability, and cutting billions from Medicare, would risk the health and security of families all across our state,” he said.

Trump’s $4.7 trillion budget blueprint calls for boosting defense spending and making $2.7 trillion in nondefense cuts. It projects a $1.1 trillion deficit.

The budget calls for reducing Medicare spending by $846 billion over the next decade, the Los Angeles Times reported. It cuts another $327 billion from safety net programs, including Medicaid, housing and the nutrition benefit known as food stamps. Also targeted for cuts are federal student loans.

“It takes a slash-and-burn approach to nearly every program that uplifts working families and will leave our country weak, sick and hungry,” Assistant Speaker of the House Ben Ray Luján said. “Instead of investing in health care, infrastructure or education, it props up a system of corporate welfare that has driven our country deeper into debt.”

“Budgets should reflect our core values and principles, but what President Trump has proposed is out of touch with New Mexicans and a clear sign that he is not committed to the success of hard working families,” U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., said. “From deep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid to slashing critical investments in clean energy, infrastructure, and education, Trump’s proposed budget would be devastating for New Mexico.”

The proposal calls for $8.6 billion in funding for barriers along the border with Mexico, an increase of the $6.7 billion the president plans to spend through his national emergency.

That drew criticism from U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., who said the president’s priorities were “out of step with the concerns and needs of families in New Mexico” and the $8.6 billion for barriers “should be used to fund real border security.”

Udall said the budget proposes cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, which he said “would cripple the agency’s already hampered ability to safeguard public health, opening the door to polluters who already face little accountability for their dangerous practices.”

Udall said the budget also proposes cuts to funding for forest restoration, fire prevention and other conservation.

Although the budget includes an increase in defense spending, he said that didn’t necessarily mean New Mexico’s national laboratories and military bases would benefit.

“Actual defense programs, including those at New Mexico’s national labs and military facilities, need ongoing budget certainty that this funding gimmick cannot provide,” Udall said.

The president’s budget calls for National Nuclear Security Administration to receive an 8.3 percent increase over its current budget for the development of nuclear weapons technology, the Defense News reported. That could have an impact on research at Los Alamos National Labs and Sandia National Labs.

The Trump budget proposal is just that – a suggestion. The White House is expected to submit a more detailed budget to Congress in the coming weeks.