Yesterday I had the opportunity to take part in a press conference held by several Congresswomen on what the budget proposed by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) would do to women and their families (that’s me standing in front of the flag!).
We’ve previously highlighted the ways the Ryan budget would harm women, like dismantling Medicaid and repealing the ACA; deeply cutting funding for programs like child care, Head Start, education and job training; and providing lavish tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations.
The event, held by Representatives Donna F. Edwards (D-MD), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Gwen Moore (D-WI), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), addressed these harmful policy proposals in another way - by showing the human cost of these cuts.
The press conference featured the stories of two amazing women. Joyce Milford, a sophomore from Howard University who has relied on federal education funding including Pell Grants – funding the Ryan budget would cut – to succeed in high school and go to college. Emily Townsend, a mother with a daughter living with disabilities who relied on Medicaid to help care for her child – a support that enabled her to obtain a Ph.D. in physics while caring for her daughter.
Another story that particularly touched me was Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s story. Rep. Lujan Grisham spoke about growing up with a sister with disabilities and the critical importance of Medicaid to help her family pay for costly caregiving expenses and medical treatments. The Ryan Budget drastically cuts Medicaid by over $750 billion and puts coverage for vulnerable women at risk. This story hit home for me because, as I have written about before, my husband’s sister, Mandy – a constituent of Rep. Lujan Grisham’s– is also a young woman with severe disabilities who relies on Medicaid to help assist my in-laws with the cost of her care. Chairman Ryan’s proposals to cut Medicaid and repeal the ACA would be disastrous for people like Mandy.
These stories show that these budget cuts are not just numbers on a page – they are cuts to programs that will directly and severely impact the lives of millions of people all over the country – mostly low-income women and children. They are simply unconscionable.