The Trump Administration’s Budget Does Not Support Families

A statement from Judith Meltzer, President of the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP)

WASHINGTON, DC (February 13, 2020)—A president’s budget is a statement of values, and the budget that the Trump Administration released this week makes it clear that they do not value our country’s children, youth, and families. To support American families and to prepare future generations of children and youth for success, we need a budget that prioritizes family economic security and well-being and funds the critical programs that ensure that all families thrive.

The budget released by the White House on Monday is in direct conflict with these values. It proposes deep cuts to programs that help families meet their most basic needs, while increasing inequality by permanently extending the 2017 tax cuts for the very wealthy and corporations. If enacted, these proposals will drastically increase hardship and inequality on today’s families and would have a compounding negative impact on the health and well-being of future generations.

The Administration’s draconian proposals would result in millions of Americans losing health coverage, food assistance, cash assistance, and housing aid. The proposed budget cuts include:

  • Reducing access to health insurance for families, with $1 trillion in cuts to Medicaid and funding for the Affordable Care Act.
  • Reducing food assistance for families, through more than $180 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) over the next 10 years, $1.7 billion in cuts to the school meals program, $500 million in cuts to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
  • Reducing cash assistance for families with children by cutting funding for the already critically underfunded Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program by $20 billion over ten years.
  • Eliminating the Social Services Block Grant, which provides flexible funding to states for services such as childcare, day programs for seniors and people with disabilities, support for children in foster care, and services for homeless individuals and families.

In addition to the direct cuts proposed in the budget, the Trump Administration is once again calling for stricter work reporting requirements to take away families’ health insurance, housing assistance, and food assistance.  We know that these requirements create enormous obstacles for families trying to make ends meet, are counter-productive, and are rooted in a long history of coercing and exploiting the labor of Black families. They not only unnecessarily penalize parents but have severe consequences for the health and well-being of children.

Congress has thankfully repeatedly rejected such harmful program cuts, but this budget signifies the administration’s priorities, and offers a blueprint for what it might try to accomplish administratively in the months to come to further stifle supports for families’ basic needs. Those of us working to support America’s children and families must reject these attempts.

At CSSP we are committed to fighting back against these harmful policies and advancing a bold agenda that supports families, communities, and public systems as they implement solutions to meet the needs of all families. We are also committed to identifying and redressing the systemic inequities that stem directly from our country’s past policy decisions. As an organization dedicated to anti-racism, we focus our efforts to undo the root causes of poverty and lift up the barriers that prevent all families from achieving the American dream.

As president of CSSP, I and each of our staff are committed to this vision, and to advancing it for our families today, and into the future.

About CSSP. The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) works to achieve a racially, economically, and socially just society in which all children, youth, and families thrive. We translate ideas into action, promote public policies grounded in equity, and support strong and inclusive communities. We advocate with and for all children, youth, and families marginalized by public policies and institutional practices. Learn more at