April 11,2018

Press Contact:

Samantha Offerdahl and Taylor Harvey (202) 224-4515 

Wyden on Trump Executive Order to Attack Basic Assistance for Vulnerable Americans

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today issued a statement following the announcement of an Executive Order signed by the president ordering federal government agencies to impose new, complex restrictions on federal assistance.

“This order shows the president is less interested in getting people back to work than he is in creating more paperwork for people who are already working and struggling to get by,” Wyden said. “Republicans have pursued these failed policies before, and the results are clear: more hurt and more bureaucracy for working American families who are just trying to keep their heads above water. The Trump Administration has already rolled out the red carpet for harmful Medicaid proposals, and early indications show they’ll lead to thousands of families out in the cold and waste millions of taxpayer dollars on red tape.”

CMS has begun to promote and approve a number of unprecedented Medicaid waiver proposals that depart from the statutory intent of the Medicaid program - to provide health care to Americans who lack the resources to afford necessary medical services. These waivers allow states to impose significant burdens on beneficiaries like locking them out of the program for months at a time and burying them in paperwork month after month to prove they are working – all while these families are working hard day in and day out just to get by. Not only are these proposals bad for people, but their implementation will waste limited government resources that should be devoted to providing care.

“The timing of this attack on vulnerable Americans is no coincidence. After congressional Republicans spent $1.9 trillion in tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest -- and just two days after Congress’ official scorekeeper projected the federal deficit will rise to $804 billion -- the president’s order conveniently suggests that $700 billion in critical basic assistance is somehow wasteful. If Republicans are looking to reduce the deficit, cutting access to critical programs that help working American families is not the way to do it.”

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in their latest economic outlook projected the federal budget deficit will rise to $804 billion this year following the passage of Trump’s tax law that borrowed $1.9 trillion to slash taxes for multinational corporations and the wealthy. The report also shows total deficit increases of $1.6 trillion over ten years, refuting the Republican claim that their bill will pay for itself. Since creating this massive deficit, Republican lawmakers have renewed their calls to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to make up the difference – a huge transfer away from working American taxpayers who have paid into these programs.