The House budget resolution, released this week, has an overall spending level for the coming fiscal year 2018 that is too low to support core investments in American families and communities. The budget resolution also paves the way for congressional Republicans to fast-track deep cuts to a wide range of programs, such as Medicaid, Medicare, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and disability programs to name a few, affecting individuals at all stages of life.
The House budget resolution contains historic cuts to non-defense spending—well below the lowest level on record as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in official records going back to 1962, and likely to levels not seen since Herbert Hoover was president. It calls for tax reform that includes tax cuts. Additionally, the budget resolution provides reconciliation instructions. Among the instructions most critical to human services is a call for the Ways and Means Committee funding, the committee with jurisdiction over many of the programs we care about, such as child welfare and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), to pay for deficit reduction. Under reconciliation, tax cuts can be paid for with cuts to programs such as Medicare, SNAP, and other programs that help people weather life’s storms.
The House budget includes the Medicaid per capita cap and block grant proposals from the House’s American Health Care Act (AHCA), and makes additional cuts to Medicaid. For seniors, the bill would transform Medicare from a system in which seniors are guaranteed certain levels of coverage to a premium support system in which seniors would have capped amounts of funding to purchase either a private plan or traditional Medicare. Since the value of these premiums support payments, it would likely fail to keep pace with the growth in health costs, significantly shifting costs to seniors over time.
Education, training, employment, and social services see a 25 percent cut, threatening programs that the president proposed to be eliminated or cut, such as 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
The Senate does not seem to be on the same page as the House. Although, they have just touched the surface on the budget, they are doing so in a bipartisan way, making the House’s budget resolution “dead on arrival.” However, they do need to pay for tax reform, so without raising discretionary spending caps and the debt ceiling, cuts to human service programs are likely in the Senate, as well.
The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities Office of Public Policy and Mobilization is actively engaging with our members and members of Congress on funding for the programs that support our work and the people we serve. We are encouraging Senators to continue to work in a bi-partisan way and to not use funding for programs that help families and communities thrive in order to pay for federal savings. Due to the intersectionality of many of the programs in non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending, we are advocating for budget caps to be lifted, rather than pitting programs against each other, while still uplifting the powerful impact the specific programs Alliance members provide as evidence of the need for adequate NDD funding.
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