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713 groups tell Congress: Avoid harmful cuts to human needs programs, raise revenues responsibly to cut deficit, pay for shared investments

Seven hundred and thirteen organizations are telling all members of Congress Monday to support responsible policies to strengthen our nation and build shared prosperity. The 713 groups signed a letter circulated by the Coalition on Human Needs to oppose House proposals to enact severe spending cuts – including cuts to health care, SNAP, public housing, TANF, and so many other key programs – as the price for agreeing to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. The letter were delivered to members’ offices Monday afternoon.

CHN’s Human Needs Watch: Tracking Hardship, May 19, 2023

The twin threats edition. We could be less than two weeks away from defaulting on our national debt. By now, you’ve probably heard what happens if we default – read on for more details. But there is more than one threat to our nation. Even as you read this, the White House and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are negotiating what some in the human needs community fear will be cuts to programs Americans rely on for their very survival. Already, the House GOP has passed legislation that would cut trillions in domestic spending over the next decade. 

The Urgent Need to Invest, Not Cut: Cuts in Two-Thirds of Human Needs Programs Must Be Reversed, Not Worsened

Human needs programs have lost ground for more than a decade, and the high inflation rates of the past two years have continued this harm. In the 178 programs tracked annually by the Coalition on Human Needs, 123 (more than two-thirds, or 69 percent) saw cuts from FY 2010 through FY 2023, adjusted for inflation. More than two-fifths (74 programs; 42 percent) lost 20 percent or more over this period. These losses were caused by a decade of capped spending.

Expert witness: House debt, default, cut bill could lead to recession as early as this fall 

The House GOP proposal to slash domestic spending in exchange for raising the debt ceiling would cost the economy 790,000 jobs and $141 billion over the next year and a half, the Senate Budget Committee heard this week. That prognosis came from Mark Zandi, Chief Economist for Moody’s Analytics. Zandi testified about the probable effects of either defaulting on the national debt or  not defaulting on the debt, but passing severe cuts. His testimony came after the House last week passed the “Limit, Save, and Grow Act,” largely along a party-line vote. 

The public wants gun safety. So why isn’t Congress acting? 

On June 12, 2016, the city of Orlando experienced one of the worst tragedies in recent memory when a gunman entered a safe haven for the LGBTQ+ community and took the lives of 49 people. This was the second deadliest mass shooting in the United States but obviously not the last. It is not up for debate that guns have made this country increasingly unsafe. But right-wing leaders take every opportunity to allow weapons of mass destruction to proliferate. Just last month in the state of Florida, where the Pulse, Parkland, and countless other tragedies have taken place, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that would allow for permitless carry in the state. 

CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship, April 28, 2023

The debt ceiling hostage edition. America is being held hostage. House Republicans this week passed a measure that would cause permanent, lasting damage to a wide array of critical human needs programs – everything from health care to child care to housing to nutrition assistance to climate change. In passing this legislation, which will not advance in the Senate in its current form, House Republicans are teetering on the precipice of default on the national debt, which would cost millions of jobs and almost immediately plunge the nation – and perhaps the world – into a recession. 

War on the poor: Advocates express fury over Congressional debt ceiling, spending cuts proposal 

Human needs advocates, including people of faith, rallied this week against a House measure that would severely cut spending for critical domestic programs in exchange for raising the nation’s debt ceiling.  The bill passed narrowly (217-215), but it is strongly opposed in the Senate and by President Biden. The advocates at Wednesday’s event were well aware that their fight must continue. 

High energy bills force Americans to choose between paying utilities, rent, or even food 

More Americans are behind on their utility bills than at any point since the 2009 Great Recession, a new report has found. Fueled by dramatic spikes in the cost of energy and by the expiration of pandemic aid programs, Americans owed $17.8 billion on their utility bills as of the end of January 2023. That’s up from $15.9 billion in January 2022, according to the report, released this week by the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association (NEADA). 

Medicaid cutoffs: An American horror story

The biggest threat to Americans today isn’t from a foreign power. It’s from a long-running war on the poor by out of touch politicians and their Wall Street backers. The latest attack on working Americans even has a name: “The Unwinding.” If that sounds like the title of a horror movie to you, you’re not far off. Starting this April, state governments and welfare offices began cutting off Medicaid coverage from some 15 million people.

Don’t shred the safety net — expand it.

Most of us rely on some cash assistance to get by at some point, whether we realize it or not. For wealthy people, that might include a family trust or any number of elaborate tax breaks. For middle-income people, it might come in the form of a mortgage interest deduction on their taxes, an inheritance, or a grandparent’s contribution to a college fund. But for many working people, that kind of help can only come from public programs — the kind that are now under threat from conservatives in Congress.

CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship, April 14, 2023

The Tax Day edition. Tuesday is Tax Day, and the human needs community has activities planned. The message behind the activities is that we need to raise revenues reasonably and responsibly in order to invest in a care economy. A care economy will mean hope, opportunity, and prosperity for millions of Americans.