CHN’s Human Needs Watch: Tracking Hardship, June 16, 2023
June 16, 2023
The no tax cuts for the rich edition. They’re at it again. Some House Republicans are pushing for giant tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and large corporations. In this newsletter you’ll read about how the top 20 percent would fare under the GOP proposals compared with the bottom 20 percent – and you’ll learn just how much the cuts will cost if House Republicans ultimately are successful in their quest to make them permanent.
At the same time, there is other cutting going on. One GOP spending bill proposes deep cuts to the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program (WIC). This cut literally would take healthy fruits and vegetables off the table for millions of eligible young children, and pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding parents. Other programs could soon be on the chopping block,as the slim House majority tries to advance domestic appropriations bills that are set even lower than the totals called for in the recently enacted debt ceiling legislation. . At risk: child care, health care, housing, education, and other critical programs.
All of this comes at a time when families with low incomes are feeling real pain. Hunger is sharply on the rise compared with two years ago. More Americans than ever before can’t afford to pay their utility bills. A lack of affordable child care prevents many from entering the workforce. More than a million Americans have lost their Medicaid benefits. We learned this week of increases in drug overdoses and suicides, particularly among younger Americans – we desperately need more funding, not less, for mental health and substance abuse counseling.
Congress is barreling toward a choice – a choice between tax cuts for the wealthy and most privileged Americans or support for critical safety net programs that lift people up and give them hope and opportunity.
In the coming weeks and months, we need to make sure the combined voices of the human needs community are heard and that Congress chooses wisely. In the meantime, you can tell Congress: don’t take heathy fruits and vegetables away from babies and toddlers, and pregnant and postpartum parents. Click here.
|This week, a House committee laid out three bills that, combined, would result in $60.8 billion in tax cuts next year for the richest fifth of Americans and just $1.4 billion for the poorest fifth of Americans. The richest fifth would receive an average tax cut of $16,550. The poorest fifth would receive an average cut of $40. Tweet this.
|In their current form, the three House GOP tax cut bills would only cover two years. But if they were made permanent, as the GOP wants, they would cost over $1.1 trillion over 10 years, according to the Committee for a Responsible Budget. Tweet this.
|A House GOP appropriations bill would cut the monthly fruits and vegetables benefit under the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program from $25 to $11 for 1- to 4-year olds (a 56 percent reduction), from $44 to $13 for pregnant and postpartum participants (a 70 percent reduction), and from $49 to $15 for breastfeeding participants (a 69 percent reduction). Tweet this.
|The House bill would cut fruit and vegetable benefits for 5 million people and would likely force eligible children and postpartum moms onto waiting lists. In reality, WIC needs an additional $615 million in FY 2024 to meet the program’s expanding caseload. Tweet this.
|In April-May 2021, 8.8 million people with children said they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat. But by April-May 2023, that number had risen to 12.1 million – it climbed from 11.3 percent of the population to 14.7 percent. Yet House Republicans are trying to cut nutrition assistance programs. Tweet this.
|The House GOP has proposed a cut of $8 billion in funding for the Department of Agriculture. That’s 30 percent below the current funding level.
|As of Tuesday, June 13, at least 1,078,000 people have lost their Medicaid coverage since April, according to KFF. The losses in coverage are happening as states attempt to determine who remains eligible for Medicaid and who does not. Many of those losing their coverage actually still qualify, but are being disenrolled for procedural reasons such as missing paperwork.
|The number of Americans who lost their lives due to alcohol, drugs, and suicide in 2021. That’s an 11 percent increase over the previous year and an all-time record. The largest increases occurred among certain populations of color as well as people living in the South, West, and rural regions of the country.
|The number of Americans who died from drug overdoses in the 12-month period ending in January 2023, according to data released Wednesday, June 14 by the CDC. That’s a slight increase from the previous 12 months. The U.S. drug overdose death toll first surpassed the 100,000 mark in 2021, due largely to Fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin and often mixed with other drugs.
25 years/50 years
|The homicide rate for older U.S. teenagers rose to its highest point in nearly 25 years during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the suicide rate for adults in their early 20s was the worst in more than 50 years, according to data released Thursday, June 15 by the CDC. Experts attributed the increases to pandemic-related depression, limited availability of mental health resources, and the number of guns in U.S. homes.