House budget proposal would undermine national security
Advocates for human needs programs joined two members of Congress Tuesday for a U.S. Capitol news conference aimed at rallying opposition to GOP proposals to slash domestic spending by trillions of dollars and pass tax cuts that would primarily aid the very wealthiest Americans.
Participating in the news conference were Reps. John Yarmuth, D-KY, and Barbara Lee, D-CA, both members of the House Budget Committee; and Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director of the Coalition on Human Needs (CHN), Tiffany Kaszuba, of NDD United, Max Richtman, President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare; and Ellen Teller, Director of Government Affairs for the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) and Chairwoman of CHN’s Board of Directors.
The full House is expected to take up its controversial budget proposal on Thursday, October 5; many worry that whatever legislation comes out of an anticipated House-Senate conference committee could contain devastating cuts to human needs programs.
Yarmuth, the senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee, called the House proposal “only a pretense for cutting taxes for the richest Americans and corporations” and said it does not “reflect the values of the American people nor the values of a moral society.”
Lee noted that the proposed tax changes – while aggressively lowering tax rates for millionaires and billionaires – actually would result in higher taxes for many people in the $50,000 to $100,000 income range. She echoed Yarmuth in questioning the proposal’s morality. “A budget is a moral document,” she said. “It reflects the values and principles of a nation. This budget is un-American.”
Weinstein, who has sent a letter to every member of the U.S. House opposing the proposed budget on behalf of the Coalition on Human Needs, invoked the notion of both national and economic security in explaining her opposition.
“The economic security of millions of American families depends on building on the progress we’ve made in health coverage, jobs, basic living standards, and ensuring that our children are well-prepared for productive lives,” she said. “The budget advanced by the House Budget Committee would be a dangerous backwards plunge, stripping trillions of dollars from programs that work to reduce poverty and create security and opportunity. Medicaid, Medicare, working family tax credits, nutrition assistance, education and housing assistance: these are just some of the services the budget would massively cut. The budget takes trillions in funding that supports economic security and progress and hands it to the wealthy and corporations in the form of enormous tax cuts.”
Weinstein invoked both the threat of natural disasters – hurricanes, for example – and man-made ones, such as the nation’s opioid crisis and the poisoning of Flint, Michigan’s water supply – to explain how the budget proposal threatens the country’s security and well-being. “Both the emergency needs of communities devastated by natural disasters and the slower but still urgent threats from decaying infrastructure and inadequate public health and consumer protections demand a vigorous federal response,” she said. “Instead of making these investments, the House budget would cripple the federal capacity to respond by slashing domestic appropriations by 44 percent compared with FY 2010 levels over the next decade and making similarly extreme cuts in health care, nutrition, income assistance for seniors, people with disabilities, and working families. Cuts like these would recklessly weaken us; they are self-inflicted wounds.”
CHN is urging its supporters and allies to call Congress to oppose the budget. Call 1-888-516-5820 and simply enter your zip code; you’ll be connected to your representative’s office.