Donald Trump has outlined plans to slash spending on US healthcare by hundreds of billions of dollars in a proposed budget.
The President released budget proposals which would see a $236 billion (£170bn) reduction in spending on Medicare, the US government’s social insurance programme, over the next decade.
The plans are part of a raft of proposals which cut domestic spending in areas such as food stamps for the poorest, housing vouchers and health insurance.
The US Congress will have the final say over the plans, and rarely passes spending proposals in the form they are set out by presidents.
But the budget from the White House is seen as an important indicator of the administration’s aspirational spending priorities.
The Republican president’s plans still attracted criticism. John Yarmuth, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Budget Committee, said: “These cuts to critical federal investments are so extreme they can only reflect a disdain for working families and a total lack of vision for a stronger society.”
The White House said the cuts would help lower the federal budget deficit by more than $3 trillion over 10 years.
Mr Trump’s $4.4 trillion budget proposal provides for $716 billion (£515bn) in spending on military programmes and for maintaining the US nuclear arsenal. It also calls for $200bn (£144bn) to be spent on infrastructure in the next 10 years.
The outlined plan relies on aggressive growth forecast of three per cent over the next three years.
The White House also ditched a pledge from last year to eliminate the deficit within 10 years, aiming instead for 2039.
But Congress has the final say on the budget, meaning the plans are unlikely to be put into place.
The proposals were welcomed by libertarian group Americans for Prosperity.
“We’re very encouraged by their approach to reforming the welfare state, both to taxpayers and the people on these programmes,” its director of policy Akash Chougule said. “We’re encouraged by the president’s rhetoric and recent actions.”