Trump's budget proposal slashes spending by $3.6 trillion over 10 years – Washington Post

By Damian Paletta and ,

President Trump on Tuesday will propose cutting federal spending by $3.6 trillion over 10 years, a historic budget contraction that would severely ratchet back spending across dozens of programs and could completely reshape government assistance to the poor.

The White House’s $4.094 trillion budget request for fiscal 2018 calls for cuts that hit Medicaid, food assistance and other anti-poverty programs. It would cut funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides benefits to the poor, by roughly 20 percent next year.

All told, the budget would ­reduce spending on safety-net programs by more than $1 trillion over 10 years.

Details of the budget circulating in Washington on Monday drew outrage from Democrats and a mix of anxiety and praise from Republicans, illustrating the political minefield that policymakers face as they debate whether to turn the proposals into law.

Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the spending plan, titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” is focused on protecting taxpayer money and cutting spending on programs that are ineffective or encourage people not to work.

He singled out the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the modern version of food stamps, which grew rapidly after the financial crisis and had 44 million beneficiaries in 2016.

“We need people to go to work,” Mulvaney said. “If you are on food stamps and you are able-bodied, we need you to go to work. If you are on disability insurance and you are not supposed to be, you are not truly disabled, we need you to go back to work. We need everybody pulling in the same direction.”

Democrats and anti-poverty advocates decried the changes, saying that Trump is seeking to strip support for the most vulnerable Americans while cutting taxes for the wealthiest.

“This would pull the rug out from so many Americans who need help: those suffering from opioid and heroin addiction, people in nursing homes and their families who care for them, the elderly, the disabled and children,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

The proposed budget refocuses decades of U.S. spending — both foreign and domestic — to reflect Trump’s belief that too much taxpayer money is simply given away.

For example, the president will propose changing foreign aid programs in a way that no longer delivers much of the money as grants and instead extends loans to foreign governments that must be repaid, Mulvaney said. Special exemptions would be made for Israel and Egypt.

The budget would also impose a 2 percent cut to all spending that must be approved by Congress each year for the next decade, excluding military programs. Spending for these programs tends to increase each year under Democrats and Republicans. Separately, the budget would eliminate all federal support for Planned Parenthood, the health-care provider that conservatives often attack.

In writing the budget, White House officials were forced to walk a tightrope.

Trump insisted that they could not cut retirement benefits for Social Security or health benefits for Medicare, two of the most expensive parts of the federal budget. White House officials also were committed to protecting military spending.

To preserve those items and eliminate the budget deficit over 10 years, officials had to deliver major cuts across the rest of the budget. The budget also relies heavily on assumptions that economic growth will soar under tax cuts and regulatory reductions that Trump has promised to deliver.

“You have to understand that for Trump, growth is populism, so he doesn’t see this as a budget of cuts but a budget for growth,” said Sam Nunberg, a longtime Trump associate who worked on his campaign in 2015. “What he’s trying to do is work with Congress, where a lot of these ideas started, and put something together.”

The budget, in its deeply conservative framework, risks alarming some of the president’s supporters.

“I’m not sure the White House understands who their base is,” Patrick H. Caddell, a veteran strategist who works with Breitbart News, said. He cited Democrats and working-class independents as key parts of Trump’s political coalition. “Where’s the outreach to them?” he asked.

But a White House official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said Trump saw the shrinking of the “welfare state” as a necessary component of his nationalist, working-class appeal and part of his pledge to “drain the swamp.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s critics in the GOP shrugged at the president’s overture to the budget-
cutting wing of the party.

“I don’t take it as a sign he’s more ideological,” said Peter Wehner, a veteran Republican policy hand. “He’s like a needle spinning around a broken compass, and we’re not sure where he’ll land. This week he’s more ideological, next week he could be less ideological.”

One of the biggest surprises in the budget is that defense spending remains relatively flat, after months of promises from Trump that he would completely rebuild the military.

The plan proposes a $43 billion increase in defense spending next year, but in subsequent years the budget is almost identical to what it would be without any changes. A White House official said that is because the military is still planning spending priorities for those years and that the budget would eventually change.

For anti-poverty programs, the White House proposes shifting some of the financial costs to states, giving them a financial stake in deciding whether to permit people to receive benefits.

On Medicaid, Trump wants states to choose between agreeing to a cap based on how many people are enrolled or a “block grant” structure that delivers funds to states and gives them more flexibility in how it is spent.

A number of key Republicans have expressed concern about the approach.

Even some congressional conservatives warned that there is such a thing as too many cuts. “There will be some concerns if we go too deep in some of these areas,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, referring to the cuts to the children’s health care program.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus, said he was encouraged by early reports of new curbs on SNAP and other spending, but said he drew the line on cuts to Meals on Wheels — a charity that Mulvaney suggested was ineffective earlier this year.

“I’ve delivered meals to a lot of people that perhaps it’s their only hot meal of the day,” Meadows said. “And so I’m sure there’s going to be some give and take, but to throw out the entire budget just because you disagree with some of the principles would be inappropriate.”

On Medicaid, Trump wants to transform the way the program’s funding works, moving away from its half-century history of giving each state a certain share of the program’s cost, no matter how many are on the rolls. Instead, the administration is proposing to give states a choice between a financial cap based on how many people are enrolled or a “block grant” that would allow more latitude over how the money were spent. Three health-policy experts said Monday night that the block grants envisioned in the budget would go beyond those that would be allowed under the American Health Care Act, which narrowly passed the House last month.

The administration wants to allow a state to move everyone on Medicaid into a block-grant system, while the House bill would not permit that for elderly or disabled people, who tend to have the highest Medicaid expenses

For SNAP, the White House is proposing changes that would force states to pay a portion of the benefits, which could put more pressure on them to prevent people from enrolling.

On CHIP, the White House would propose eliminating a 23 percentage point increase in federal contributions and would cap other assistance to the program to limit federal payments to children from families with incomes of no higher than 250 percent of the federal poverty level. The White House contends that would make sure the program helps only the neediest children.

However, Diane Rowland, executive vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, pointed out that 18 states, plus the District of Columbia allow the children of families with incomes of more than 300 percent of the poverty line into their programs. For such states, Rowland said, “this is a big hit.”

“We are no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs,” Mulvaney said. “We are going to measure compassion and success by the number of people we help get off of those programs and get back in charge of their own lives.”

But Jared Bernstein, who served as a top economic adviser to former vice president Joe Biden, called the scale of Trump’s cuts “otherworldly.” He said that even if Senate Republicans are able to scale back the cuts, they could still have a major impact on government programs.

“At the end of the day, they may settle for something that’s huge and egregious but less than the cosmic number they are throwing around” in the budget proposal, he said.

Many of the programs targeted by Trump’s budget provide health, housing or other assistance to millions of Americans, including a large number of Trump voters.

There are 74.6 million Americans who receive Medicaid or CHIP, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Almost 11 million receive Social Security Disability Insurance payments, and 8.3 million receive Supplemental Security Income, a small cash benefit for the poor and those with disabilities.

Many of these programs have rigorous screening mechanisms, and it is very difficult for people who are unemployed, childless and able to work to collect benefits for long. But Trump administration officials believe the rules should be even stricter, with the goal of pushing more people back into the workforce so that the economy can strengthen and create more growth.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who engaged in numerous budget battles during the Clinton administration, said that Trump must steel himself against attacks and emphasize his insistence on how much he “values work.”

“If the Trump people sell it as genuine reform that’s getting rid of people who should be at work or are cheating, getting rid of redundancy and making the bureaucracy dramatically leaner, then it will be successful,” Gingrich said. “People actually resent neighbors who are getting goodies they haven’t worked for. It’s going to be a huge fight. How this plays out will depend on how he handles it.”

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Why Trump is on track to disappoint Israel's Netanyahu – Washington Post

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Even by their standards, the bromance between President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed particularly deep in Jerusalem on Monday. Netanyahu, relaxed and beaming, welcomed the American president to the “united capital of the Jewish state,” the second stop on Trump’s overseas tour.

“I think we quote each other,” said Netanyahu, with Trump grinning at his side. “We understand each other and so much of the things that we wish to accomplish for both our countries.”

It was a marked change in atmosphere from meetings with Trump’s predecessor. Netanyahu and former president Barack Obama clashed over the American role in brokering a nuclear deal with Iran, which Netanyahu actively lobbied against — including during a 2015 speech to Congress. The American refusal to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements in the waning weeks of the Obama presidency led to howls of fury from the Israeli government. Now all is sunny again.


President Trump and first lady Melania Trump with Sara and Benjamin Netanyahu. (Mandel Ngan/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

But no matter the comparatively good vibes surrounding Trump’s trip to Israel, Netanyahu may grow disappointed in the coming months and years.

Trump’s election lifted hopes among Israeli right-wingers and ultranationalists that Washington would shelve talk about the two-state solution and look the other way as vast settlement expansion took place in the West Bank. But, just a few months later, Trump seems genuinely eager to strike a peace accord and has slow-pedaled his promise to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, a gesture that would enrage Palestinians and infuriate the Arab statesmen Trump hopes to enlist in his peace efforts. That has some on the Israeli right grumbling already.

There’s also no indication so far that the president is moving to scrap the nuclear deal, which Netanyahu and his allies hoped would be jettisoned soon after Trump took office.

Sure, Trump did offer up the sort of harsh language on Iran — Israel’s regional foe — that Netanyahu wanted to hear. The United States would work with Israel to roll back “the threat of an Iranian regime that is threatening the region and causing so much violence and suffering,” Trump said. He also took the unprecedented step of visiting the Western Wall, something no sitting American president has ever done because of the sensitivities around the site and Jerusalem’s disputed status. Netanyahu celebrated the act, telling Trump that the “people of Israel applaud you for it” — but Trump pointedly did not bring any Israeli politicians along on his visit.

“The bottom line is that not only does Trump have no intention of jeopardizing his relations with Sunni Arab leaders by moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, he won’t even make the tiniest gesture in that direction by allowing Netanyahu to join him for a few minutes in the Old City,” wrote Haaretz journalist Anshel Pfeffer.

Instead of breaking from the past, Trump seems to be taking the equivocating posture of his predecessors.

“The early perceptions that Trump would reverse all of Obama’s policy decisions and never challenge Israel very quickly proved inaccurate,” wrote Daniel Shapiro, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel under Obama. “So far, his administration has embarked on a much more traditional approach of seeking to restrain Israeli settlements, curtail Palestinian violence and incitement, and revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations toward a two-state solution, with the support of key Arab states.”

On Tuesday, Trump will travel to Bethlehem to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, a politician who is increasingly unpopular at home but still championed by foreign leaders as a key interlocutor for Mideast peace.

Trump “has built up Abbas by treating him with respect. And his envoy is pressing the Israelis to take meaningful steps to allow the Palestinians to grow their economy,” said Martin Indyk, a former U.S. envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, in an interview with the Atlantic. “It’s almost exactly what Bill Clinton did when he was president.”


Anti-Trump demonstrators protest near the American Consulate in Jerusalem. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

The big question is whether Trump will follow through on his stated zeal to fix the problem, especially when the status quo seems to serve his friend Netanyahu’s interests.

“Both the Israelis and Palestinians are aware that even a more traditional American president is unlikely to have the political will to do what is necessary to broker a just peace agreement,” wrote Yousef Munayyer, a scholar at the Middle East Institute. “With Trump, they know the chances are even more remote. At the same time, neither can afford to alienate Washington. So they must carefully play along as Trump engages the issues, and they will likely seek opportunities to get whatever they can from him in the process.”

Ilan Goldenberg, a Middle East expert at the Center for a New American Security, suggested Netanyahu is now “freaked out because Trump seems serious about peace.” That means he “will have to produce” at the risk of antagonizing key right-wing allies — and likely losing votes to their parties.

“With Obama, Israelis may not always have gotten everything they wanted,” wrote Shapiro. “But they always got consistency.” With Trump, it appears, Netanyahu may get neither.

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Manchester Arena explosion: 22 dead after blast at Ariana Grande concert – CNN

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At least 19 people dead following 'terrorist incident' at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester – Washington Post

By and Peter Holley,

LONDON — An explosion described by police as a likely terrorist attack ripped through a crowd of teenagers and other concertgoers late Monday after a performance by an American pop singer in the English city of Manchester, leaving at least 19 people dead and about 50 others injured.

Initial evidence at the scene suggested the attack may have been a suicide bombing, according to two U.S. security officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. British authorities, who were meeting in emergency sessions in Manchester and London, did not immediately confirm those reports.

The bombing appeared intended to inflict the maximum possible damage on young concertgoers — many of them in their early teens — who were making their way out of the Manchester Arena. Police said the blast occurred around 10:30 p.m., minutes after pop star Ariana Grande  had finished her set.

“This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise,” the Greater Manchester Police said in a statement.

British Prime Minister Theresa May issued a statement in the early hours of Tuesday saying that authorities were “working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.”

If confirmed as a terrorist attack, it would be the worst strike on British soil since 2005, when Islamist extremists bombed the London subway and a bus, killing 54 people.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said late Monday that there was “no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving music venues in the United States,” but added that Americans may see “increased security in and around public places and events as officials take additional precautions.”

Britain has been on high alert for a major attack for several years, with authorities saying that a mass-casualty attack was likely. 

Manchester police said they were working closely with national authorities to determine the cause of the explosion. Among the priorities for investigators will be to figure out whether it was part of a broader plot.

Cellphone video showed chaotic scenes of people screaming and running in the aftermath of the blast. The arena was packed with attendees and pink balloons that had fallen from the  ceiling during the final song. Initially, concertgoers said they thought popping balloons had set off a panic. 

But witnesses later reported seeing the prone bodies of those who had been wounded and killed, as well as others who were streaked with blood and were staggering away from the scene. Some were injured in the rush to get out, with people being trampled as thousands rushed to escape. 

The singer, who is wildly popular both in Britain and the United States, was “okay,” a spokesman for Grande’s record label told the Reuters news agency.

Concertgoers said that they saw nuts and bolts littering the ground near the blast scene and that the smell of explosives hung in the air.

The local hospital, Wythenshawe, said it was dealing with “mass casualties.” Five other hospitals across the city were activated to treat the injured, and emergency supplies of blood were rushed in.

Heavily armed police and emergency services swarmed the arena, with ambulances — their blue lights flashing — rushing to the scene.

The local emergency-response service advised the public to call only “for life-threatening emergencies.”

Many of those attending the concert were teenagers venturing to their first concert. Witnesses reported that outside the arena, parents were frantically attempting to locate their children. Many parents and teens later gathered at a nearby Holiday Inn that was established as a meeting point.

On Twitter, people offered a place to stay for those stranded in the city using the hashtag #RoomForManchester.

Parents posted pictures of missing children on social media, pleading for information. Police set up a hotline for those looking to connect with missing relatives.

A father told the BBC that he was leaving the arena with his wife and daughter when the blast blew him through a set of doors. Afterward, the man, identified as Andy, said he saw about 30 people “scattered everywhere. Some of them looked dead.” 

Separated from his wife and daughter, he said, he “looked at some of the bodies trying to find my family.” 

He later found them, uninjured.

Other witnesses described hearing a loud bang, followed by terrified shouts.

“It was really scary,” Michelle Sullivan, who was attending the concert with her 12- and 15-year-old daughters, told the BBC. “Just as the lights have gone down, we heard a really loud explosion. . . . Everybody screamed.”

“When we got out, they just said, ‘Keep on running, keep on running.’ ”

Karen Ford, a witness, told the BBC that “there were kids outside, crying on the phone, trying to find their parents.” 

About 1:30 a.m., police announced that there would be a controlled explosion after a suspicious object was found. A loud bang was heard minutes later. Police later said the item that had been found was discarded clothing, not an explosive device.

The arena is one of the largest indoor venues in Europe, and has a capacity of 21,000. Manchester transport police said the explosion occurred in the arena’s foyer, where people were congregating to buy concert merchandise. Manchester Arena said the attack took place just outside the facility, in a public space.

Although nobody immediately asserted responsibility for Monday’s violence, scenes of bloodied, panicked concertgoers running for safety brought to mind similar images at the Bataclan theater in Paris in November 2015.

The concert hall became the scene of extreme carnage after multiple gunmen burst in during a show by the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal and began shooting. The attack — for which the Islamic State later asserted responsibility — killed 89 people and injured hundreds more, becoming the deadliest event on French soil since World War II.

Britain has had fewer terrorist attacks in recent years than several of its European neighbors. Monday night’s blast came two months after a speeding driver left four people dead on London’s Westminster Bridge, then stabbed to death a police officer at the gates of Parliament.

Monday was the fourth anniversary of the killing of Lee Rigby, a British soldier who was attacked with a machete on the streets of southeast London. The two assailants, who were convicted of murder, said they were acting to avenge the killing of Muslims by British soldiers.

Monday’s blast comes with just over two weeks to go before Britain holds a national election. It was unclear whether campaigning would continue. Security has not featured as a prominent part of the debate, although that may change.

Grande is a 23-year-old pop singer and actress who has been in the public spotlight since 2010, when she began appearing on the Nickelodeon television show “Victorious.” More recently, the former teen idol has been touring to promote her third studio album, “Dangerous Woman.” She has sold more than 1.7 million albums in recent years.

The singer has more than 45 million followers on Twitter. Grande is also one of the most popular people on Instagram, with 105 million followers — more than even Beyoncé, Taylor Swift or Kim Kardashian. She was scheduled to play two shows in London later this week before traveling to Belgium, according to her tour dates.

Holley reported from Washington. Devlin Barrett in Washington contributed to this report. 

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At least 19 people dead following 'terrorist incident' at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester – Washington Post

By and Peter Holley,

LONDON — An explosion described by police as a likely terrorist attack ripped through a crowd of teenagers and other concert­goers late Monday after a performance by an American pop singer in the English city of Manchester, leaving at least 19 people dead and about 50 injured.

Initial evidence at the scene suggested the attack may have been a suicide bombing, according to two U.S. security officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. British authorities, who were meeting in emergency sessions in Manchester and London, did not immediately confirm those reports.

The bombing appeared intended to inflict the maximum possible damage on young concert­goers — many of them in their early teens — who were making their way out of the Manchester Arena. Police said the blast occurred about 10:30 p.m., minutes after pop star Ariana Grande had finished her set.

 The explosion set off a panicked reaction as fans struggled to flee and parents and teens searched for each other amid the carnage. Well into Tuesday morning, fathers and mothers who had lost contact with their children posted desperate pleas for information on social media.

British Prime Minister Theresa May issued a statement in the early hours of Tuesday saying that authorities were “working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.”

Greater Manchester Police said the blast was being “treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise.” 

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, and police did not speculate about possible motives.

If confirmed as a terrorist attack, it would be the worst strike on British soil since 2005, when Islamist extremists bombed the London subway and a bus, killing 54 people

.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said late Monday that there was “no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving music venues in the United States,” but added that Americans may see “increased security in and around public places and events as officials take additional precautions.”

Britain has been on high alert for a major attack for several years, with authorities saying that a mass-casualty attack was likely. 

Manchester police said they were working closely with national authorities to determine the cause of the explosion.  Among the priorities for investigators will be to figure out whether it was part of a broader plot.

Grande, who is wildly popular both in Britain and the United States, was not injured in the attack. She expressed her sorrow in a tweet hours after the explosion, saying she was “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so sorry. i don’t have words.” 

Cellphone video showed chaotic scenes of people screaming and running in the aftermath of the blast. The arena was packed with attendees and pink balloons that had fallen from the ceiling during the 
final song. Initially, concert­goers said they thought popping balloons had set off a panic, or that the screams were those of fans who had caught a glimpse of Grande. 

But witnesses later reported seeing the prone bodies of those who had been wounded and killed, as well as others who were streaked with blood and were staggering away from the scene. Some were injured in the rush to get out, with people being trampled as thousands sought to ­escape.

In video of the moment that the explosion detonated, a concussive boom breaks through the chatter of fans heading for the exits. “Oh my god, what just happened?” a female voice can be heard asking. “What’s going on?”

Later video showed people diving over railings. Concertgoers said that they saw nuts and bolts littering the ground near the blast scene and that the smell of explosives hung  in the air.

The local hospital, Wythenshawe, said it was dealing with “mass casualties.” Five other hospitals across the city were activated to treat the injured, and emergency supplies of blood were rushed in.

Heavily armed police and emergency services swarmed the arena, with ambulances — their blue lights flashing — rushing to the scene. The local emergency-
response service advised the public to call only “for life-threatening emergencies.”

Many of those attending the concert were teenagers going  to  their first concert. Witnesses reported that outside the arena, parents were frantically attempting to locate their children. Many parents and teens later gathered at a nearby Holiday Inn that was established as a meeting point.

Fans of Grande had come from across northern England to see the concert. On Twitter, people offered a place to stay for those stranded in the city, using the hash­tag #RoomForManchester.

Parents  posted pictures of missing children on social media, pleading for information. Police set up a hotline for those looking to connect with missing relatives.

A father told the BBC that he was leaving the arena with his wife and daughter when the blast blew him through a set of doors. Afterward, the man, identified as Andy, said he saw about 30 people “scattered everywhere. Some of them looked dead.” 

Separated from his wife and daughter, he said, he “looked at some of the bodies trying to find my family.” 

He later found them, uninjured.

Other witnesses described a loud bang, followed by terrified shouts. “It was really scary,” Michelle Sullivan, who was attending the concert with her 12- and 15-year-old daughters, told the BBC. “Just as the lights have gone down, we heard a really loud explosion. . . . Everybody screamed.”

“When we got out, they just said, ‘Keep on running, keep on running.’ ”

Karen Ford, a witness, told the BBC that “there were kids outside, crying on the phone, trying to find their parents.” 

About 1:30 a.m., police announced that there would be a controlled explosion after a suspicious object was found. A loud bang was heard minutes later. Police later said the item that had been found was discarded clothing, not an explosive device.

The arena is one of the largest indoor venues in Europe and has a capacity of 21,000. Manchester transport police said the explosion occurred in the arena’s foyer, where people were congregating to buy concert merchandise. Manchester Arena said the attack took place just outside the facility, in a public space.

Although nobody immediately asserted responsibility for Monday’s violence, scenes of bloodied, panicked concertgoers running for safety brought to mind similar images at the Bataclan theater in Paris in November 2015. 

The concert hall became the scene of extreme carnage after multiple gunmen burst in during a show by the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal and began shooting. The attack — for which the Islamic State later asserted responsibility — killed 89 people and injured hundreds more, becoming the deadliest event on French soil since World War II.

Britain has had fewer terrorist attacks in recent years than several of its European neighbors. Monday night’s blast came two months after a speeding driver left four people dead on London’s Westminster Bridge, then stabbed to death a police officer at the gates of Parliament.

Monday was the fourth anniversary of the killing of Lee Rigby, a British soldier who was attacked with a machete on the streets of southeast London. The two assailants, who were convicted of murder, said they were acting to avenge the killing of Muslims by British soldiers.

Monday’s blast comes with just over two weeks to go before Britain holds a national election. Campaigning was suspended Tuesday, and perhaps beyond. Security has not featured as a prominent part of the debate, although that may change when campaigning resumes.

Grande is a 23-year-old pop singer and actress who has been in the public spotlight since 2010, when she began appearing on the Nickelodeon television show “Victorious.” More recently, the former teen idol has been touring to promote her third studio album, “Dangerous Woman.” She has sold more than 1.7 million albums in recent years.

The singer has more than 45 million followers on Twitter. Grande is also one of the most popular people on Instagram, with 105 million followers — more than even Beyoncé, Taylor Swift or Kim Kardashian. She was scheduled to play two shows in London later this week before traveling to Belgium, according to her tour dates.

Holley reported from Washington. Devlin Barrett in Washington contributed to this report. 

Read more

The man behind the March attack in London had a privileged childhood

Britain’s anti-terror strategy tested by move against prominent preacher

Amateur terror attacks may mark a new chapter in the ISIS war in Europe

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Trump's budget proposal slashes spending by $3.6 trillion over 10 years – Washington Post

By Damian Paletta and ,

President Trump on Tuesday will propose cutting federal spending by $3.6 trillion over 10 years, a historic budget contraction that would severely ratchet back spending across dozens of programs and could completely reshape government assistance to the poor.

The White House’s $4.094 trillion budget request for fiscal 2018 calls for cuts that hit Medicaid, food assistance and other anti-poverty programs. It would cut funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides benefits to the poor, by roughly 20 percent next year.

All told, the budget would ­reduce spending on safety-net programs by more than $1 trillion over 10 years.

Details of the budget circulating in Washington on Monday drew outrage from Democrats and a mix of anxiety and praise from Republicans, illustrating the political minefield that policymakers face as they debate whether to turn the proposals into law.

Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the spending plan, titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” is focused on protecting taxpayer money and cutting spending on programs that are ineffective or encourage people not to work.

He singled out the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the modern version of food stamps, which grew rapidly after the financial crisis and had 44 million beneficiaries in 2016.

“We need people to go to work,” Mulvaney said. “If you are on food stamps and you are able-bodied, we need you to go to work. If you are on disability insurance and you are not supposed to be, you are not truly disabled, we need you to go back to work. We need everybody pulling in the same direction.”

Democrats and anti-poverty advocates decried the changes, saying that Trump is seeking to strip support for the most vulnerable Americans while cutting taxes for the wealthiest.

“This would pull the rug out from so many Americans who need help: those suffering from opioid and heroin addiction, people in nursing homes and their families who care for them, the elderly, the disabled and children,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

The proposed budget refocuses decades of U.S. spending — both foreign and domestic — to reflect Trump’s belief that too much taxpayer money is simply given away.

For example, the president will propose changing foreign aid programs in a way that no longer delivers much of the money as grants and instead extends loans to foreign governments that must be repaid, Mulvaney said. Special exemptions would be made for Israel and Egypt.

The budget would also impose a 2 percent cut to all spending that must be approved by Congress each year for the next decade, excluding military programs. Spending for these programs tends to increase each year under Democrats and Republicans. Separately, the budget would eliminate all federal support for Planned Parenthood, the health-care provider that conservatives often attack.

In writing the budget, White House officials were forced to walk a tightrope.

Trump insisted that they could not cut retirement benefits for Social Security or health benefits for Medicare, two of the most expensive parts of the federal budget. White House officials also were committed to protecting military spending.

To preserve those items and eliminate the budget deficit over 10 years, officials had to deliver major cuts across the rest of the budget. The budget also relies heavily on assumptions that economic growth will soar under tax cuts and regulatory reductions that Trump has promised to deliver.

“You have to understand that for Trump, growth is populism, so he doesn’t see this as a budget of cuts but a budget for growth,” said Sam Nunberg, a longtime Trump associate who worked on his campaign in 2015. “What he’s trying to do is work with Congress, where a lot of these ideas started, and put something together.”

The budget, in its deeply conservative framework, risks alarming some of the president’s supporters.

“I’m not sure the White House understands who their base is,” Patrick H. Caddell, a veteran strategist who works with Breitbart News, said. He cited Democrats and working-class independents as key parts of Trump’s political coalition. “Where’s the outreach to them?” he asked.

But a White House official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said Trump saw the shrinking of the “welfare state” as a necessary component of his nationalist, working-class appeal and part of his pledge to “drain the swamp.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s critics in the GOP shrugged at the president’s overture to the budget-
cutting wing of the party.

“I don’t take it as a sign he’s more ideological,” said Peter Wehner, a veteran Republican policy hand. “He’s like a needle spinning around a broken compass, and we’re not sure where he’ll land. This week he’s more ideological, next week he could be less ideological.”

One of the biggest surprises in the budget is that defense spending remains relatively flat, after months of promises from Trump that he would completely rebuild the military.

The plan proposes a $43 billion increase in defense spending next year, but in subsequent years the budget is almost identical to what it would be without any changes. A White House official said that is because the military is still planning spending priorities for those years and that the budget would eventually change.

For anti-poverty programs, the White House proposes shifting some of the financial costs to states, giving them a financial stake in deciding whether to permit people to receive benefits.

On Medicaid, Trump wants states to choose between agreeing to a cap based on how many people are enrolled or a “block grant” structure that delivers funds to states and gives them more flexibility in how it is spent.

A number of key Republicans have expressed concern about the approach.

Even some congressional conservatives warned that there is such a thing as too many cuts. “There will be some concerns if we go too deep in some of these areas,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, referring to the cuts to the children’s health care program.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus, said he was encouraged by early reports of new curbs on SNAP and other spending, but said he drew the line on cuts to Meals on Wheels — a charity that Mulvaney suggested was ineffective earlier this year.

“I’ve delivered meals to a lot of people that perhaps it’s their only hot meal of the day,” Meadows said. “And so I’m sure there’s going to be some give and take, but to throw out the entire budget just because you disagree with some of the principles would be inappropriate.”

On Medicaid, Trump wants to transform the way the program’s funding works, moving away from its half-century history of giving each state a certain share of the program’s cost, no matter how many are on the rolls. Instead, the administration is proposing to give states a choice between a financial cap based on how many people are enrolled or a “block grant” that would allow more latitude over how the money were spent. Three health-policy experts said Monday night that the block grants envisioned in the budget would go beyond those that would be allowed under the American Health Care Act, which narrowly passed the House last month.

The administration wants to allow a state to move everyone on Medicaid into a block-grant system, while the House bill would not permit that for elderly or disabled people, who tend to have the highest Medicaid expenses

For SNAP, the White House is proposing changes that would force states to pay a portion of the benefits, which could put more pressure on them to prevent people from enrolling.

On CHIP, the White House would propose eliminating a 23 percentage point increase in federal contributions and would cap other assistance to the program to limit federal payments to children from families with incomes of no higher than 250 percent of the federal poverty level. The White House contends that would make sure the program helps only the neediest children.

However, Diane Rowland, executive vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, pointed out that 18 states, plus the District of Columbia allow the children of families with incomes of more than 300 percent of the poverty line into their programs. For such states, Rowland said, “this is a big hit.”

“We are no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs,” Mulvaney said. “We are going to measure compassion and success by the number of people we help get off of those programs and get back in charge of their own lives.”

But Jared Bernstein, who served as a top economic adviser to former vice president Joe Biden, called the scale of Trump’s cuts “otherworldly.” He said that even if Senate Republicans are able to scale back the cuts, they could still have a major impact on government programs.

“At the end of the day, they may settle for something that’s huge and egregious but less than the cosmic number they are throwing around” in the budget proposal, he said.

Many of the programs targeted by Trump’s budget provide health, housing or other assistance to millions of Americans, including a large number of Trump voters.

There are 74.6 million Americans who receive Medicaid or CHIP, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Almost 11 million receive Social Security Disability Insurance payments, and 8.3 million receive Supplemental Security Income, a small cash benefit for the poor and those with disabilities.

Many of these programs have rigorous screening mechanisms, and it is very difficult for people who are unemployed, childless and able to work to collect benefits for long. But Trump administration officials believe the rules should be even stricter, with the goal of pushing more people back into the workforce so that the economy can strengthen and create more growth.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who engaged in numerous budget battles during the Clinton administration, said that Trump must steel himself against attacks and emphasize his insistence on how much he “values work.”

“If the Trump people sell it as genuine reform that’s getting rid of people who should be at work or are cheating, getting rid of redundancy and making the bureaucracy dramatically leaner, then it will be successful,” Gingrich said. “People actually resent neighbors who are getting goodies they haven’t worked for. It’s going to be a huge fight. How this plays out will depend on how he handles it.”

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Trump's budget proposal slashes spending by $3.6 trillion over 10 years – Washington Post

By Damian Paletta and ,

President Trump on Tuesday will propose cutting federal spending by $3.6 trillion over 10 years, a historic budget contraction that would severely ratchet back spending across dozens of programs and could completely reshape government assistance to the poor.

The White House’s $4.094 trillion budget request for fiscal 2018 calls for cuts that hit Medicaid, food assistance and other anti-poverty programs. It would cut funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides benefits to the poor, by roughly 20 percent next year.

All told, the budget would ­reduce spending on safety-net programs by more than $1 trillion over 10 years.

Details of the budget circulating in Washington on Monday drew outrage from Democrats and a mix of anxiety and praise from Republicans, illustrating the political minefield that policymakers face as they debate whether to turn the proposals into law.

Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the spending plan, titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” is focused on protecting taxpayer money and cutting spending on programs that are ineffective or encourage people not to work.

He singled out the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the modern version of food stamps, which grew rapidly after the financial crisis and had 44 million beneficiaries in 2016.

“We need people to go to work,” Mulvaney said. “If you are on food stamps and you are able-bodied, we need you to go to work. If you are on disability insurance and you are not supposed to be, you are not truly disabled, we need you to go back to work. We need everybody pulling in the same direction.”

Democrats and anti-poverty advocates decried the changes, saying that Trump is seeking to strip support for the most vulnerable Americans while cutting taxes for the wealthiest.

“This would pull the rug out from so many Americans who need help: those suffering from opioid and heroin addiction, people in nursing homes and their families who care for them, the elderly, the disabled and children,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

The proposed budget refocuses decades of U.S. spending — both foreign and domestic — to reflect Trump’s belief that too much taxpayer money is simply given away.

For example, the president will propose changing foreign aid programs in a way that no longer delivers much of the money as grants and instead extends loans to foreign governments that must be repaid, Mulvaney said. Special exemptions would be made for Israel and Egypt.

The budget would also impose a 2 percent cut to all spending that must be approved by Congress each year for the next decade, excluding military programs. Spending for these programs tends to increase each year under Democrats and Republicans. Separately, the budget would eliminate all federal support for Planned Parenthood, the health-care provider that conservatives often attack.

In writing the budget, White House officials were forced to walk a tightrope.

Trump insisted that they could not cut retirement benefits for Social Security or health benefits for Medicare, two of the most expensive parts of the federal budget. White House officials also were committed to protecting military spending.

To preserve those items and eliminate the budget deficit over 10 years, officials had to deliver major cuts across the rest of the budget. The budget also relies heavily on assumptions that economic growth will soar under tax cuts and regulatory reductions that Trump has promised to deliver.

“You have to understand that for Trump, growth is populism, so he doesn’t see this as a budget of cuts but a budget for growth,” said Sam Nunberg, a longtime Trump associate who worked on his campaign in 2015. “What he’s trying to do is work with Congress, where a lot of these ideas started, and put something together.”

The budget, in its deeply conservative framework, risks alarming some of the president’s supporters.

“I’m not sure the White House understands who their base is,” Patrick H. Caddell, a veteran strategist who works with Breitbart News, said. He cited Democrats and working-class independents as key parts of Trump’s political coalition. “Where’s the outreach to them?” he asked.

But a White House official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said Trump saw the shrinking of the “welfare state” as a necessary component of his nationalist, working-class appeal and part of his pledge to “drain the swamp.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s critics in the GOP shrugged at the president’s overture to the budget-
cutting wing of the party.

“I don’t take it as a sign he’s more ideological,” said Peter Wehner, a veteran Republican policy hand. “He’s like a needle spinning around a broken compass, and we’re not sure where he’ll land. This week he’s more ideological, next week he could be less ideological.”

One of the biggest surprises in the budget is that defense spending remains relatively flat, after months of promises from Trump that he would completely rebuild the military.

The plan proposes a $43 billion increase in defense spending next year, but in subsequent years the budget is almost identical to what it would be without any changes. A White House official said that is because the military is still planning spending priorities for those years and that the budget would eventually change.

For anti-poverty programs, the White House proposes shifting some of the financial costs to states, giving them a financial stake in deciding whether to permit people to receive benefits.

On Medicaid, Trump wants states to choose between agreeing to a cap based on how many people are enrolled or a “block grant” structure that delivers funds to states and gives them more flexibility in how it is spent.

A number of key Republicans have expressed concern about the approach.

Even some congressional conservatives warned that there is such a thing as too many cuts. “There will be some concerns if we go too deep in some of these areas,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, referring to the cuts to the children’s health care program.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus, said he was encouraged by early reports of new curbs on SNAP and other spending, but said he drew the line on cuts to Meals on Wheels — a charity that Mulvaney suggested was ineffective earlier this year.

“I’ve delivered meals to a lot of people that perhaps it’s their only hot meal of the day,” Meadows said. “And so I’m sure there’s going to be some give and take, but to throw out the entire budget just because you disagree with some of the principles would be inappropriate.”

On Medicaid, Trump wants to transform the way the program’s funding works, moving away from its half-century history of giving each state a certain share of the program’s cost, no matter how many are on the rolls. Instead, the administration is proposing to give states a choice between a financial cap based on how many people are enrolled or a “block grant” that would allow more latitude over how the money were spent. Three health-policy experts said Monday night that the block grants envisioned in the budget would go beyond those that would be allowed under the American Health Care Act, which narrowly passed the House last month.

The administration wants to allow a state to move everyone on Medicaid into a block-grant system, while the House bill would not permit that for elderly or disabled people, who tend to have the highest Medicaid expenses

For SNAP, the White House is proposing changes that would force states to pay a portion of the benefits, which could put more pressure on them to prevent people from enrolling.

On CHIP, the White House would propose eliminating a 23 percentage point increase in federal contributions and would cap other assistance to the program to limit federal payments to children from families with incomes of no higher than 250 percent of the federal poverty level. The White House contends that would make sure the program helps only the neediest children.

However, Diane Rowland, executive vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, pointed out that 18 states, plus the District of Columbia allow the children of families with incomes of more than 300 percent of the poverty line into their programs. For such states, Rowland said, “this is a big hit.”

“We are no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs,” Mulvaney said. “We are going to measure compassion and success by the number of people we help get off of those programs and get back in charge of their own lives.”

But Jared Bernstein, who served as a top economic adviser to former vice president Joe Biden, called the scale of Trump’s cuts “otherworldly.” He said that even if Senate Republicans are able to scale back the cuts, they could still have a major impact on government programs.

“At the end of the day, they may settle for something that’s huge and egregious but less than the cosmic number they are throwing around” in the budget proposal, he said.

Many of the programs targeted by Trump’s budget provide health, housing or other assistance to millions of Americans, including a large number of Trump voters.

There are 74.6 million Americans who receive Medicaid or CHIP, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Almost 11 million receive Social Security Disability Insurance payments, and 8.3 million receive Supplemental Security Income, a small cash benefit for the poor and those with disabilities.

Many of these programs have rigorous screening mechanisms, and it is very difficult for people who are unemployed, childless and able to work to collect benefits for long. But Trump administration officials believe the rules should be even stricter, with the goal of pushing more people back into the workforce so that the economy can strengthen and create more growth.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who engaged in numerous budget battles during the Clinton administration, said that Trump must steel himself against attacks and emphasize his insistence on how much he “values work.”

“If the Trump people sell it as genuine reform that’s getting rid of people who should be at work or are cheating, getting rid of redundancy and making the bureaucracy dramatically leaner, then it will be successful,” Gingrich said. “People actually resent neighbors who are getting goodies they haven’t worked for. It’s going to be a huge fight. How this plays out will depend on how he handles it.”

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Trump's budget proposal slashes spending by $3.6 trillion over 10 years – Washington Post

By Damian Paletta and ,

President Trump on Tuesday will propose cutting federal spending by $3.6 trillion over 10 years, a historic budget contraction that would severely ratchet back spending across dozens of programs and could completely reshape government assistance to the poor.

The White House’s $4.094 trillion budget request for fiscal 2018 calls for cuts that hit Medicaid, food assistance and other anti-poverty programs. It would cut funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides benefits to the poor, by roughly 20 percent next year.

All told, the budget would ­reduce spending on safety-net programs by more than $1 trillion over 10 years.

Details of the budget circulating in Washington on Monday drew outrage from Democrats and a mix of anxiety and praise from Republicans, illustrating the political minefield that policymakers face as they debate whether to turn the proposals into law.

Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the spending plan, titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” is focused on protecting taxpayer money and cutting spending on programs that are ineffective or encourage people not to work.

He singled out the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the modern version of food stamps, which grew rapidly after the financial crisis and had 44 million beneficiaries in 2016.

“We need people to go to work,” Mulvaney said. “If you are on food stamps and you are able-bodied, we need you to go to work. If you are on disability insurance and you are not supposed to be, you are not truly disabled, we need you to go back to work. We need everybody pulling in the same direction.”

Democrats and anti-poverty advocates decried the changes, saying that Trump is seeking to strip support for the most vulnerable Americans while cutting taxes for the wealthiest.

“This would pull the rug out from so many Americans who need help: those suffering from opioid and heroin addiction, people in nursing homes and their families who care for them, the elderly, the disabled and children,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

The proposed budget refocuses decades of U.S. spending — both foreign and domestic — to reflect Trump’s belief that too much taxpayer money is simply given away.

For example, the president will propose changing foreign aid programs in a way that no longer delivers much of the money as grants and instead extends loans to foreign governments that must be repaid, Mulvaney said. Special exemptions would be made for Israel and Egypt.

The budget would also impose a 2 percent cut to all spending that must be approved by Congress each year for the next decade, excluding military programs. Spending for these programs tends to increase each year under Democrats and Republicans. Separately, the budget would eliminate all federal support for Planned Parenthood, the health-care provider that conservatives often attack.

In writing the budget, White House officials were forced to walk a tightrope.

Trump insisted that they could not cut retirement benefits for Social Security or health benefits for Medicare, two of the most expensive parts of the federal budget. White House officials also were committed to protecting military spending.

To preserve those items and eliminate the budget deficit over 10 years, officials had to deliver major cuts across the rest of the budget. The budget also relies heavily on assumptions that economic growth will soar under tax cuts and regulatory reductions that Trump has promised to deliver.

“You have to understand that for Trump, growth is populism, so he doesn’t see this as a budget of cuts but a budget for growth,” said Sam Nunberg, a longtime Trump associate who worked on his campaign in 2015. “What he’s trying to do is work with Congress, where a lot of these ideas started, and put something together.”

The budget, in its deeply conservative framework, risks alarming some of the president’s supporters.

“I’m not sure the White House understands who their base is,” Patrick H. Caddell, a veteran strategist who works with Breitbart News, said. He cited Democrats and working-class independents as key parts of Trump’s political coalition. “Where’s the outreach to them?” he asked.

But a White House official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said Trump saw the shrinking of the “welfare state” as a necessary component of his nationalist, working-class appeal and part of his pledge to “drain the swamp.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s critics in the GOP shrugged at the president’s overture to the budget-
cutting wing of the party.

“I don’t take it as a sign he’s more ideological,” said Peter Wehner, a veteran Republican policy hand. “He’s like a needle spinning around a broken compass, and we’re not sure where he’ll land. This week he’s more ideological, next week he could be less ideological.”

One of the biggest surprises in the budget is that defense spending remains relatively flat, after months of promises from Trump that he would completely rebuild the military.

The plan proposes a $43 billion increase in defense spending next year, but in subsequent years the budget is almost identical to what it would be without any changes. A White House official said that is because the military is still planning spending priorities for those years and that the budget would eventually change.

For anti-poverty programs, the White House proposes shifting some of the financial costs to states, giving them a financial stake in deciding whether to permit people to receive benefits.

On Medicaid, Trump wants states to choose between agreeing to a cap based on how many people are enrolled or a “block grant” structure that delivers funds to states and gives them more flexibility in how it is spent.

A number of key Republicans have expressed concern about the approach.

Even some congressional conservatives warned that there is such a thing as too many cuts. “There will be some concerns if we go too deep in some of these areas,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, referring to the cuts to the children’s health care program.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus, said he was encouraged by early reports of new curbs on SNAP and other spending, but said he drew the line on cuts to Meals on Wheels — a charity that Mulvaney suggested was ineffective earlier this year.

“I’ve delivered meals to a lot of people that perhaps it’s their only hot meal of the day,” Meadows said. “And so I’m sure there’s going to be some give and take, but to throw out the entire budget just because you disagree with some of the principles would be inappropriate.”

On Medicaid, Trump wants to transform the way the program’s funding works, moving away from its half-century history of giving each state a certain share of the program’s cost, no matter how many are on the rolls. Instead, the administration is proposing to give states a choice between a financial cap based on how many people are enrolled or a “block grant” that would allow more latitude over how the money were spent. Three health-policy experts said Monday night that the block grants envisioned in the budget would go beyond those that would be allowed under the American Health Care Act, which narrowly passed the House last month.

The administration wants to allow a state to move everyone on Medicaid into a block-grant system, while the House bill would not permit that for elderly or disabled people, who tend to have the highest Medicaid expenses

For SNAP, the White House is proposing changes that would force states to pay a portion of the benefits, which could put more pressure on them to prevent people from enrolling.

On CHIP, the White House would propose eliminating a 23 percentage point increase in federal contributions and would cap other assistance to the program to limit federal payments to children from families with incomes of no higher than 250 percent of the federal poverty level. The White House contends that would make sure the program helps only the neediest children.

However, Diane Rowland, executive vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, pointed out that 18 states, plus the District of Columbia allow the children of families with incomes of more than 300 percent of the poverty line into their programs. For such states, Rowland said, “this is a big hit.”

“We are no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs,” Mulvaney said. “We are going to measure compassion and success by the number of people we help get off of those programs and get back in charge of their own lives.”

But Jared Bernstein, who served as a top economic adviser to former vice president Joe Biden, called the scale of Trump’s cuts “otherworldly.” He said that even if Senate Republicans are able to scale back the cuts, they could still have a major impact on government programs.

“At the end of the day, they may settle for something that’s huge and egregious but less than the cosmic number they are throwing around” in the budget proposal, he said.

Many of the programs targeted by Trump’s budget provide health, housing or other assistance to millions of Americans, including a large number of Trump voters.

There are 74.6 million Americans who receive Medicaid or CHIP, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Almost 11 million receive Social Security Disability Insurance payments, and 8.3 million receive Supplemental Security Income, a small cash benefit for the poor and those with disabilities.

Many of these programs have rigorous screening mechanisms, and it is very difficult for people who are unemployed, childless and able to work to collect benefits for long. But Trump administration officials believe the rules should be even stricter, with the goal of pushing more people back into the workforce so that the economy can strengthen and create more growth.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who engaged in numerous budget battles during the Clinton administration, said that Trump must steel himself against attacks and emphasize his insistence on how much he “values work.”

“If the Trump people sell it as genuine reform that’s getting rid of people who should be at work or are cheating, getting rid of redundancy and making the bureaucracy dramatically leaner, then it will be successful,” Gingrich said. “People actually resent neighbors who are getting goodies they haven’t worked for. It’s going to be a huge fight. How this plays out will depend on how he handles it.”

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At least 19 people dead following 'terrorist incident' at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester – Washington Post

By and Peter Holley,

LONDON — An explosion at a pop concert in the northern English city of Manchester late Monday night left at least 19 people dead and about 50 others injured, according to police.

“This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise,” the Greater Manchester Police said in a statement.

Witnesses interviewed by the BBC reported hearing a loud blast following a performance by American pop singer Ariana Grande at Manchester Arena. Police said the blast occurred around 10:30 p.m. 

Initial evidence at the scene suggested the attack may have been a suicide bombing, according to two U.S. security officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. British authorities, who were meeting in emergency sessions across Manchester and London, did not immediately confirm those reports.

If confirmed as a terrorist attack, it will be the worst strike on British soil since 2005, when bombers killed 54 people on London trains and buses.

Cellphone video showed chaotic scenes of people screaming and running in the aftermath of the blast. The arena was packed with attendees and pink balloons that had fallen from the  ceiling during the concert’s final song. Initially, concertgoers said they thought popping balloons had set off a panic. 

But witnesses later reported seeing the prone bodies of those who had been wounded and killed, as well as others who were streaked with blood and were staggering away from the scene. Some were injured in the rush to get out. 

The hospital, Wythenshawe, said it was dealing with “mass casualties.” 

Heavily armed police and emergency services swarmed the arena, with ambulances — their blue lights flashing — rushing to the scene.

The local emergency-response service advised the public to call only “for life-threatening emergencies.”

Many of those attending the concert were teenagers. Witnesses reported that outside the arena, parents were frantically attempting to locate their children. 

A father told the BBC that he was leaving the arena with his wife and daughter when the blast blew him through a set of doors. Afterward, the man, identified as Andy, said he saw about 30 people “scattered everywhere. Some of them looked dead.” 

Separated from his wife and daughter, he said he “looked at some of the bodies trying to find my family.” 

He later found them, uninjured.

“It was really scary,” Michelle Sullivan, who was attending the concert with her 12- and 15-year-old daughters, told BBC. “Just as the lights have gone down we heard a really loud explosion. . . . Everybody screamed.”

“When we got out they just said ‘Keep on running, keep on running.’ ”

Karen Ford, a witness, told the BBC that “there were kids outside, crying on the phone, trying to find their parents.” 

Concertgoers said they saw nuts and bolts littering the ground near the blast scene, and that the smell of explosives hung heavily in the air.

The singer was “okay,” a spokesman for Grande’s record label told Reuters.

Around 1:30 a.m., police announced that there would be a controlled explosion after a suspicious device was found. A loud bang was heard minutes later.

The arena has a capacity of 21,000. Manchester transport police said the explosion occurred in the foyer of the arena where people were congregating to buy concert merchandise. Manchester Arena said the attack took place just outside the facility, in a public space.

Though nobody immediately claimed responsibility for Monday’s violence, scenes of bloodied, panicked concert-goers streaking for safety brought to mind similar images at the Bataclan theater in Paris in November 2015. The concert hall became the scene of extreme carnage after multiple gunmen burst in during a show by the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal and began shooting. The attack — for which Islamic State later claimed responsibility — killed 89 people and injured hundreds more, becoming the deadliest event on French soil since World War II.

Britain has had fewer terrorist attacks in recent years than many of its European neighbors. Monday night’s blast came two months after a careening driver left four people dead on London’s Westminster Bridge, then stabbed to death a police officer at the gates of Parliament.

Grande is a 23-year-old pop singer and actress who has been in the public spotlight since 2010, when she began appearing on the Nickelodeon television show Victorious. More recently, the former teen idol has been touring to promote her third studio album, “Dangerous Woman.” She has sold more than 1.7 million albums in recent years.

The singer has more than 45 million followers on Twitter. Grande is also one of the most popular people on Instagram, with 105 million followers — more than even Beyonce, Taylor Swift or Kim Kardashian. She was scheduled to play two shows in London later this week before traveling to Belgium, according to her tour dates.

Holley reported from Washington. Devlin Barrett in Washington contributed to this report.

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Trump drags his scandals back into the spotlight on foreign trip – Politico

The president delivers another self-inflicted wound by vigorously denying he revealed Israel was the source of intelligence.

By

05/22/2017 01:57 PM EDT

Updated 05/22/2017 04:07 PM EDT

2017-05-22T04:07-0400

President Donald Trump on Monday denied divulging Israel as the source behind highly classified intelligence he allegedly shared with Russian officials, bringing attention back to the scandals engulfing his White House while he’s on his first foreign trip.

Citing current and former U.S. officials, The Washington Post reported last week that Trump disclosed a sensitive Islamic State plot to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador during a conclave earlier this month. Later reports pointed to Israel as the original source of the intelligence.

Story Continued Below

The reports, however, generally did not allege that Trump specifically told the Russians that Israel may have been the source, and it’s unclear if Trump even knew who the source was.

Trump, who is in Israel for the second leg of his foreign trip, delivered brief remarks alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their bilateral meeting at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

It was their second of three extended meet-and-greets during the day: Netanyahu, a weakened politician at home who is eager to show off to Israelis his close bond with Trump, met the president at the airport for his arrival, and hosted him for dinner at the end of the day.

During the bilateral meeting, the two shook hands for the cameras as reporters shouted questions. Press wranglers were trying to clear reporters from the room when Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev asked the prime minister if he had any concerns about intelligence cooperation with the U.S.

“The intelligence cooperation is terrific,” Netanyahu told reporters, eager for the opportunity to channel publicly that the reported breach did nothing to harm the special relationship between the two countries. Trump paused for a moment and then halted the press from leaving the room. “Hey, folks,” he said. “Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name ‘Israel.’ Never mentioned it during that conversation.”

He looked toward Netanyahu as he gestured toward the pack of reporters. “They were all saying I did,” the president said. “So you had another story wrong. Never mentioned the word ‘Israel.’”

As the two leaders walked away, Netanyahu reiterated that “intelligence cooperation is terrific.”

“And it’s never been better,” he said.

While Trump’s foreign travel provides a reprieve from Washington, Monday’s questioning is evidence that not even distance can separate the president from the controversies he’s generated at home. And Trump’s impromptu remarks on Monday could create more political damage, as the president appeared to further confirm that he had shared other highly sensitive information.

It was the first apparent gaffe of Trump’s foreign trip, where he is on day three of a nine-day journey. He appeared more at ease, and chatty, next to Netanyahu then he did at the bilaterals he held in Riyadh with the leaders of Arab nations. There, he kept his remarks in front of the press to the bare minimum and did not say a word off-script. But in Israel, he appeared to let his guard down next to a world leader he has known for years — and he quickly delivered another self-inflicted wound.

Trump last week characterized his meeting with the Russians as “very, very successful” and tweeted that he had “the absolute right” to share information with the Kremlin. Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sean Spicer contended last week that “it would be impossible” for Trump to share the source of the intelligence because he was never briefed on it. And Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Israel, “I don’t know that there’s anything to apologize for.”

Trump landed in Tel Aviv after a historic flight from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (The two nations have no diplomatic relations). Netanyahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin welcomed the president upon his arrival.

“I have come to the sacred and ancient land to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the United States and the state of Israel,” Trump said. His time in Saudi Arabia, he said, has given him “new reasons for hope” of achieving peace in the Middle East.

The Israel leg of Trump’s trip included a stop at Rivlin’s residence in Jerusalem for a bilateral meeting, where Trump joked that the onus of Middle East peace will fall on longtime Trump Organization negotiator Jason Greenblatt and U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

“If not, you’ll be blamed because I just put it on record,” Trump quipped.
The president also visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus was crucified and where his tomb lay, and the Western Wall, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to patronize the holiest prayer site for Jews.

Cameras captured Trump, donning a black yarmulke, touching the Western Wall and seemingly saying a prayer. No Israeli officials accompanied Trump, whose administration had a diplomatic rift ahead of the trip on whether the Western Wall was part of Israel.

After a senior official asserted to Israeli leaders that the wall is “not your territory,” national security adviser H.R. McMaster declined to clean up the comments, telling reporters, “That sounds like a policy decision.”

Spicer later insisted the Western Wall is “clearly in Jerusalem,” which raised the question of where the administration believes Jerusalem is, as both the Israelis and Palestinians claim it as their capital.

Annie Karni contributed to this report.

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