Twitter Defends Meals on Wheels Against The Trump Administration

March 18th 2017

Michelle Betters

Hours after the Trump administration released its “America First” budget outline, the controversial $1.1 trillion plan came under fire for slashing a long list of grants and agencies like the National Endowment for the Arts, including cuts to social welfare programs like Meals on Wheels.

During a White House press briefing Thursday, Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, described Meals on Wheels, as “not showing any results.”

Twitter users were quick to call out Mulvaney for seemingly dismissing a nationwide program that delivers nutritious meals to elderly people.

Meals on Wheels doesn't seem to appear in President Donald Trump’s budget plan because it isn’t a federal program. Instead, it's partially funded by the Community Development Block Grant program, which allocates money to states and smaller communities. These communities choose how to spend the grant money they receive, and many use it to develop affordable housing.

In the Trump administration's new budget, it would eliminate its $3 billion funding to the Community Development Block Grant program, which supports Meals on Wheels among other programs.

“We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good,” Mulvaney explained. “Meals on Wheels sounds great.”

One in six seniors experiences hunger and 18.4 million live in or near poverty, according to the Meals on Wheels website.

Under Trump’s financial plan, the 2018 Department of Housing and Urban Development budget would be cut by 13 percent and the 42-year-old grant program would be completely eliminated. In other words, while Trump’s budget plan did not specifically target Meals on Wheels, it could severely impact the program.

We’ve spent $150 billion on those programs since the 1970s,” Mulvaney said in response to a question about these cuts at the press conference. “We’re going to spend a lot of money, but we’re not going to spend it on programs that cannot show they actually deliver the promises they've made to people.”

In 2015, Meals on Wheels programs, many of which also provide well-being checks to isolated seniors, fed 2.4 million people.