White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Thursday that federal funding for Meals on Wheels and similar social programs would be cut under President Donald Trump's budget proposal because they are "programs that don't work."
"Meals on Wheels sounds great," Mulvaney told reporters at the daily White House briefing. "That's a great state decision, but to take the federal money and give it to states — and say we want to give you money to programs that don't work, we can't defend that anymore.
"We can't do that anymore. We can't spend money on programs just because they sound good and great.
"We're $20 trillion in debt," he said. "We can't spend money on programs that cannot show they actually deliver promises to people."
Trump's budget proposal would eliminate $3 billion that funds the Community Development Block Grant Development Program, created in 1974 by Republican President Gerald Ford as an effort to help states and municipalities fight poverty and improve cities.
The block grant program falls under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which would lose $6 billion under Trump's fiscal 2018 proposal. The department is headed by Secretary Ben Carson.
With the grants, states have financed a broad range of assistance programs, including Meals on Wheels, after-school programs, affordable housing efforts and infrastructure projects.
They are allocated to more than 1,100 local and state governments nationwide based on a formula basis. The states decide how to spend the funds.
The money from the block grants would be used to finance Trump's proposed $54 billion increase in aid to the Pentagon, along with additions for other national security efforts and a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.
"The federal government has spent over $150 billion on this block grant since its inception in 1974, but the program is not well-targeted to the poorest populations and has not demonstrated results," the proposal said. "The budget devolves community and economic development activities to the state and local level, and redirects federal resources to other activities."
Mulvaney doubled down on the administration's position in the briefing, citing after-school programs as an example.
"They're supposed to help kids who don't get fed at home get fed so they get better in school," he said. "Guess what? There's no demonstrable evidence they're actually doing that — that they're helping kids do better in school.
"When we took your money from you," Mulvaney said, referring to taxpayers, "the way we justified it was that these programs are going to help these kids do better in school and get better jobs."
However, when asked whether the administration was saying that such programs are not working to educate American school children, Mulvaney responded: "No, I don't believe we'll cut the funding for all those types of things."
The budget director's comments sparked immediate outrage on Twitter, with Jason Kander, president of the advocacy group Let America Vote posting:
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.