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SANDRA SMITH (HOST): What bad thing does this budget do?
JESSICA TARLOV: It takes out $1.7 trillion out of entitlement spending. Donald Trump made it clear throughout the campaign that he wasn’t going to go after social security, that was his promise and that is smart. He has a large number of older voters, who obviously are dependent on this and even people my age, we’re paying into the system and we want to see something back. But this budget goes after food stamps, disability insurance for instance and there’s $800 billion being taken out of Medicaid, which is a key point of contention for a lot of senate Republicans.
SMITH: You take everything you just said Jessica and I give that to Mercedes. Is this a tough sell to the American people?
MERCEDES SCHLAPP: You know it will be a tough sell to the American people and I’ll explain to you why. Americans have gotten accustomed to this entitlement mentality. The fact that, you know, especially when it comes to anything dealing with budget cuts, it concerns the American people. But we need reform at this point and the other thing that we are seeing based on the previous administration is that we’ve seen a doubling of the national debt. We’ve seen the fact that we have to move into fiscal responsibility. We need to figure out a way where states who have a closer — a better sense of what’s happening in their local communities are the ones that are able to administer these programs to low-income individuals or to the elderly and so I think that, you know, when it comes to the cuts, it will be a difficult sell. In fact, you’re seeing moderate senators, Republican senators, concerned about the cuts that are being made to Medicaid. But there’s also this sense that we need to find ways to cut wasteful spending and truly what you do need is entitlement reform, which they’re not even touching.