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Debbie Weinstein's picture

They also voted to cut Medicare, education, housing assistance, job training, home heating/cooling assistance, SNAP, Meals on Wheels, Head Start, environmental and public health protections, child care, help for people with disabilities…

This isn’t as much a budget as it is a gaping self-inflicted wound.  Or, instead of following the dictum “When you’re in a hole, stop digging.”  This budget says “When you’re in a hole, dig deeper.”

Some of those Senators will claim that they didn’t vote to do all these things when they voted for the Senate Budget Resolution (which passed 51-49 – click here to see who voted for it).  And it is true that many of those programs are not explicitly named in the resolution.  But the budget has tables showing how it would get to balance by 2027, and those tables call for $5.8 trillion in cuts over the next ten years.  That includes $1.3 trillion in Medicaid and Affordable Care Act cuts.  It assumes $473 billion in Medicare cuts.  It cuts a category of programs called “income security” by $653 billion – that would include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, SSI, low-income tax credits, SNAP/food stamps.  It reduces domestic/international annually appropriated programs (education, housing, environment, home energy….) by $660 billion over the next decade.  At the same time, Pentagon spending will rise, if they have their way.  As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has pointed out, by the end of the ten year period, the domestic annually appropriated programs would plummet 29 percent below 2010 levels, counting inflation.  That’s a drop “to levels likely not seen since the Hoover Administration.”

All this is to get their budget to balance.  They make their self-inflicted wound a lot more gaping by calling for tax cuts that can blow a $1.5 trillion hole in the deficit.  The tax proposal that will follow can cost more than $1.5 trillion – if it does, it will be paid for by cuts to programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, SSI, or TANF.  And it will only need a simple majority in the Senate to pass.

There’s no other way to look at this:  the Congressional leadership and President Trump want to pay for a mammoth tax cut, overwhelmingly going to the rich and corporations, by cutting programs that almost all of us need, and that low-income people need most.

Many thanks for the thousands of letters sent in opposition to the budget.   In order to carry out their plans, we expect the House Ways and Means Committee to come up with tax legislation – maybe by Halloween (insert “trick or treat” joke here or soon after).  We’ll be in touch – and counting on you to keep showing Congress that you do not want low- and middle-income people to pay for these tax cuts by losing services (and in some cases even by seeing their own taxes rise).

We also expect Congress to get to work on lifting spending caps for this year on annually appropriated programs.  Their main interest is increasing Pentagon spending.  But this deal will require 60 votes in the Senate – and is a genuine opportunity to fight to prevent cuts in education, housing, public health, Head Start, etc.  There is peril here too – we cannot allow a deal to increase spending in these areas by making cuts in programs like Medicaid, Medicare, SSI…

Thank you for all you’re doing.  We’re not done!

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