Fact of the Week: House budget would cut programs for low- and middle-income people by more than one-third in 10 years
A new analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that the 2018 House GOP budget proposal would cut programs serving low- and moderate-income people by 36 percent in 2027 alone. In total, the budget blueprint would slash these programs by $2.9 trillion over a decade. The proposal, which has already been approved by the House Budget Committee, could be voted on by the full House in mid-September.
As the figure to the right shows, cuts to low- and moderate-income programs constitute half of the plan’s budget cuts, even though these programs represent about a quarter of spending on non-defense programs. Outside of health programs, spending on these critical programs would fall to their lowest level of spending as a share of the economy in 50 years.
Over the next 10 years, these budget cuts would include $1.5 trillion in cuts related to health care, including Medicaid (the budget incorporates the House bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act; but even without a repeal of the ACA, the House budget would still slash Medicaid by $110 billion by adding a work requirement for recipients). It also includes $150 billion in cuts to SNAP/food stamps, and roughly $500 billion in cuts to other low-income federal income support programs such as the school meal program, SSI, and low-income tax credits. Funding for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program is also in jeopardy (while some of the cuts are specified, as in the case of SNAP, not all of them are).
If all of that isn’t bad enough (and it definitely is), the budget blueprint also includes more than $90 billion in cuts to educational and social services programs, like student aid and funding states use to provide services to their low-income neighbors, and roughly $300 billion in cuts to low-income annually appropriated programs, leaving vital services like rental assistance and job training on the potential chopping block. As the report gravely states,
“If enacted, these proposals would constitute reductions in the safety net of unprecedented magnitude.”
As CHN noted in our most recent Human Needs Report, the House GOP budget also includes special rules known as reconciliation instructions not only to cut entitlement programs like those described above, but also to pave the way for huge tax cuts for the rich. While the tax cuts aren’t detailed in the budget, the tax plan released last year by the House GOP included $2.6 trillion in tax cuts over 10 years for millionaires, giving them $330,000 a piece in 2017 alone. Using the reconciliation process allows Republicans to pass both tax cuts and cuts to entitlement programs with only a simple majority in the Senate.
As you can imagine, advocates are not sitting idly by and allowing this budget to go forward unnoticed. In July, more than 1,500 groups, led by CHN, sent a letter to representatives and senators calling on Congress to reject cuts to human needs programs and instead pass a budget that promotes opportunity for all, protects basic living standards, and protects our environment. We encourage you to read the letter and take action to make sure your members of Congress know they must stop these cuts.
Then, visit the Town Hall Project website to see if your members of Congress are holding events in your area while they’re home in August. If they are, show up and speak out. Make sure they know that you want them to reject cutting programs our communities and our neighbors rely on.