By now you probably have heard: the Trump administration tomorrow (Tuesday, May 23) will release its budget proposal for fiscal year 2018, which begins Oct. 1. We don’t know every detail of the proposal, but what we have seen leaked out in the media has us and every other proponent of basic living standards and fundamental human rights deeply concerned.
Examples of what we expect:
$1.7 trillion in cuts to mandatory programs over 10 years. This includes the more than $800 billion in Medicaid cuts that we’ve already seen pass the House – and it includes further cuts to Medicaid and hundreds of billions of cuts to programs such as SNAP, child nutrition, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Insurance, and the Pell Grant program.
New, onerous work requirements for SNAP and possibly for other programs, such as Medicaid. While work requirements sound great – everyone should work, right? – human needs advocates know that such requirements create obstacles that are counter-productive and can actually make it more difficult to hold a job.
$40 billion in cuts over 10 years to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), both proven anti-poverty programs.
Make no mistake: This is a budget proposal that, far from fighting poverty, would make more Americans impoverished. It would make it more difficult for low-income people to work, more difficult for low-income people to access health care or feed their kids. It would reduce money for education (for example, Pell Grants) and for job training.
And it would do all of this so that we can transfer $54 billion in FY18 alone from families struggling to make ends meet to the Pentagon and billions more to the pockets of the largest corporations and the wealthiest millionaires and billionaires.
That’s the bad news. There is some good news.
The Center for American Progress and a growing number of advocacy groups representing many different policy priorities have been planning and meeting for some time now, and have come together to launch Hands Off.
Hands Off is a coalition campaign dedicated to preventing passage of any upcoming budget resolutions that include cuts to health care, disability benefits, nutrition assistance and other basic living standards. (Full disclosure: The Coalition on Human Needs is a member of the Hands Off steering committee.)
“We’re launching Hands Off to show that progressives are united against any budget that slashes programs Americans need to afford the basics of everyday life,” said Rebecca Vallas, Managing Director of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress. “Through district-by-district analysis, a concerted storytelling campaign, grassroots advocacy, and social media engagement we will ensure Members of Congress see how their constituents will be affected by Trump’s harmful proposals.”
This afternoon, the coalition launched a web site reflecting the name of the campaign – www.handsoff.org
People will be encouraged to visit the web site and share their stories to tell members of Congress what budget proposals by Trump and House and Senate leaders would mean for them and their family. The site also will include an activism toolkit, including social media, to help human needs advocates contact Congress.
Meanwhile, there are two things you can do this week to tell Congress hands off!
First, if you represent a local, state or national organization, your group can sign a letter urging Congress to pass a budget that helps people secure basic living standards and invests in fighting poverty.
Second, you can sign up for our webinar at 1 p.m. ET this Thursday, May 25. The webinar will lay out what’s in the Trump budget and what we can do to oppose it.
Besides CAP and CHN, steering committee members for the Hands Off campaign include Indivisible; Organizing for Action; the Center for Community Change; the National Council on La Raza, the National Women’s Law Center, Organizing for Action; Planned Parenthood; PICO National Network; The Arc of the United States; NETWORK Advocates for Catholic Social Justice; Stand Up America; Social Security Works; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).