Trump-O-Meter

Make no cuts to Social Security

“I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.”


Sources:

An interview

Subjects: Social Security

Updates

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney testifies, regarding the White House budget proposal, before the Senate Budget Committee May 25, 2017. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney testifies, regarding the White House budget proposal, before the Senate Budget Committee May 25, 2017. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

White House budget cuts Social Security disability benefits

On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump said he was going to break the typical Republican mold by not pushing cuts to Social Security.

But his first annual White House budget does call for some cuts, to the tune of about $72 billion over 10 years.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told reporters that this doesn't mean Trump broke his promise. His reasoning: The budget doesn't cut from the Social Security retirement program.

The cuts are all concentrated in the Social Security disability insurance program, which the White House wants to reform in order to reduce fraud and close loopholes.

In 2016, about 10.6 million Americans received disability benefits through Social Security, and about 50.2 million people received Social Security retirement and survivor benefits, according to the Social Security Administration.

Mulvaney said he believes most Americans associate Social Security with retirement, not disability benefits.

"If you ask, 999 people out of 1,000 would tell you that Social Security disability is not part of Social Security," Mulvaney said. "It's old-age retirement that they think of when they think of Social Security."

This may very well be the case, but it does not change the fact that disability benefits are structurally part of Social Security.

The White House budget is just a proposal. Congress has to decide whether to take these suggestions and turn them into law.

Even so, the budget reflects Trump's priorities and policy positions. Because the budget deviates from his pledge not to cut Social Security, we rate the promise Stalled.

Sources:

White House Office of Management and Budget, "A New Foundation For American Greatness Fiscal Year 2018," May 23, 2017

White House, "Off-camera Briefing of the FY18 Budget by Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney," May 22, 2017

White House, "Press Briefing on the FY2018 Budget," May 23, 2017