Budget brings an avalanche of pain

By

June 9, 2017

You may remember Tianna Gaines-Turner from previous blog posts. Last year, we reported on a new documentary making the rounds at Sundance and other venues throughout the country. A Hug from Paul Ryan followed the story of Tianna who, despite working two jobs just like her husband, struggles with poverty in their hometown of Philadelphia. Then in April, Gaines-Turner recounted the experience in an op-ed published online by the Washington Post. The headline: ‘I told Paul Ryan what it’s like to be poor. I wonder if he remembers me now.’

Tianna is still fighting the good fight, and this time she’s teamed up with Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) in an op-ed published online by the Philadelphia Inquirer. It begins by saying how, “lately, being a family with a low income feels like trying to survive an avalanche.”

After talking about how Tianna and Sen. Casey came to know each other and work together, the piece turns to President Trump’s budget. It says, in part,

“This week we saw and felt the rumblings of yet another avalanche. A budget that pushes families down, that will cause more hunger, more homelessness, and higher health-care costs. Crisis is not a big enough word for what families would face if these cuts came to pass. Vulnerable families would be crushed with no opportunity to get ahead.

“For those who proposed these cuts, their families will not be impacted. They will not see less food in the fridge or lose their home. But working- and middle-class families across America will feel the effect acutely. For families who rely on SNAP, they will see lower benefits and less support. For families who rely on home assistance, this budget eliminates HOME, Community Development Block Grant and Choice Neighborhoods programs that give aid to both poor rural and urban communities. These communities nationally would lose close to $4.1 billion a year, and here in the commonwealth over $200 million, to improve basic infrastructure such as streets and water and sewer lines, provide life-enriching services to youth and seniors, build and rehabilitate affordable housing for low-income residents, and promote economic development.

“That’s why it’s so critical for us to work together, a senator and a mother, to speak out about the real people taking the brunt of these cuts and how much it will hurt our nation… Having a hungrier, less educated and more vulnerable population will lead to less stability, less economic growth and less opportunity… As a senator and an activist we will continue to stand together to combat these inhumane and hurtful cuts. And we call you to join us.”

Read the full op-ed here, and then take action.  If you haven’t yet done so, sign our letter (for local, state and national organizations) or our petition (for individuals) urging Congress to pass a budget that promotes economic opportunities for all, safeguards and advances our basic living standards, and protects our environment. Because, as Tianna and Sen. Casey say, “we can’t afford another avalanche.”



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