Trump's Plans to Slash Welfare Spending Will Hurt Millions of Poor People in the U.S.

President Trump speaks with GOP senators on January 4. Trump has proposed deep cuts to programs used by millions of low-income American families including food stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and the Children's Health Insurance Program. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Donald Trump is expected to meet with congressional Republican leaders to talk about 2018 plans for welfare and infrastructure changes in a meeting at Camp David over the weekend. The president and Republican lawmakers are expected to talk at the retreat about making cuts to anti-poverty and health care programs that benefit millions of low-income and poor Americans.

White House aides told Reuters that Trump will make moves to work on welfare in 2018. "We want to get our people off of welfare and back to work," Trump said in October of last year. "So important. It's out of control. It's out of control."

Trump has proposed deep cuts to programs used by millions of low-income American families including food stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

While Trump reveled in his December tax reform victory, the Senate passed stopgap spending with only temporary funding fixes for CHIP, the health insurance program that covers about 9 million children in the U.S.

If Congress does not reauthorize CHIP funding, an estimated 1.9 million children in 25 states will lose their health insurance by the end of this month, and an additional 1 million will lose out in February, according to a Georgetown University report.

In addition to health care, Trump plans to target food assistance for the poor.

More than 42 million people in need—including children and elderly individuals—across the United States last year used food stamps, part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In his 2016 budget, Trump proposed cutting SNAP funding by $192 billion over 10 years, kicking millions of people off food stamps. Only 75 percent of people who qualify for food stamps actually use them.

Many beneficiaries of the SNAP program work low-income or part-time jobs and struggle to make enough money to feed themselves or their families, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Despite proposed deep cuts, the president's plans could face pushback in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he didn't foresee Congress tackling welfare or entitlement changes in 2018.

"The sensitivity of entitlements is such that you almost have to have a bipartisan agreement in order to achieve a result," McConnell said in December, according to Politico.

However, GOP lawmakers in the House of Representatives, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, have voiced approval for Trump's welfare cuts. Ryan has also indicated that he wants to scale back Social Security, Medicaid and other anti-poverty programs in an effort to reduce America's debt.

"He definitely gets it," said Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

About 1.1 million families benefited from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) last year, though the president is also planning major cuts to that program. Since its creation in 1996, the number of people using the program has dropped. In 1996, 68 out of every 100 needy families used TANF for cash assistance. That number declined to 23 out of every 100 in 2016.

"Those who abuse our welfare system will be priorities for removal," then-Republican presidential candidate Trump said in a campaign speech in Arizona, later saying that "crime will go down, border crossings will plummet, gangs will disappear and welfare use will decrease" under his leadership.