5 Things to Look For in the Budgets Next Week, and What You Can Do About Them


March 13, 2015

Next week, the House and Senate Budget Committees will release and start to debate their proposed FY 2016 budgets. Lots of people are talking about what will be in them. Here are five things we think all human needs advocates need to look out for and be wary of in these budget blueprints:

  1. Balancing the budget over the next 10 years. Several sources have said this is a priority for the Republicans. Reducing the deficit over time is a good idea, but many economists think balancing the budget in the next 10 years doesn’t make sense, especially when we should be taking advantage of very low interest rates to invest in rebuilding infrastructure and other job creation strategies. And it sure is expensive, costing around $4-5 trillion over 10 years. And when you combine this goal that with another priority of the majority, namely…
  2. No new revenues (like from closing corporate tax loopholes or making sure the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share), achieving a balanced budget gets trickier. Throw in yet another priority of theirs, namely…
  3. No reductions in Pentagon spending, and perhaps even increases, and the only way left to balance the budget is through…
  4. Huge cuts to critical human needs programs. We’re not just talking about keeping in place the already deep cuts of sequestration, we’re talking about much bigger cuts like those included in the House-passed budget last year, which slashed programs and services for people with low and moderate incomes by more than $3.3 trillion dollars. Some of these cuts could be achieved through…
  5. Reconciliation, Washington-speak for a process the majority could use make huge cuts to and harm mandatory spending programs (those programs not subjected to the annual appropriations process) like Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, SSI, SNAP/food stamps, and the Social Services Block Grant.

While we don’t yet know exactly what will be in these budget blueprints, we know that anything looking like the above plan would be disastrous for low-income people and for our country. We also know what SHOULD be included in the budget. Federal budgets should protect low-income people; invest in broadly shared prosperity; increase revenues; and seek responsible savings from reducing waste in the Pentagon and elsewhere.

This isn’t only what we at CHN believe. In fact, more than 1,100 people have already signed our petition telling Congress they believe this, too. Any nearly 1,000 national, state, and local organizations have signed our group letter to Congress saying so as well.

If you haven’t yet signed our petition or joined our Thunderclap, it’s not too late. Join us in telling lawmakers America needs a budget that supports everyone, especially our nation’s most vulnerable. Congress should help all of us, not just the powerful few, by closing tax loopholes that now shift trillions to the wealthy and corporations and by stopping Pentagon waste.

It’s time to #StopTheCuts. We need to remind Congress that strong, well-funded federal programs create jobs, grow the economy, reduce inequality, and keep millions out of poverty.

For more ways you can tell Congress to #StopTheCuts, check out these sample Facebook posts and Tweets. For more information on the budget and what to look for, watch CHN’s webinar on federal funding for needed services, read this Center for American Progress piece on what they hope to see next week,  or register for the Children’s Leadership Council webinar that will focus on children’s issues and the budget.

If you work for an organization that supports a budget with more investments and less waste, encourage them to sign on to our group letter before March 20. And make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest on how you can take action.

Budget and Appropriations
Health Care Reform
Poverty and Income
Ryan budget
Social Services
tax policy