The People’s Budget: A Progressive Path Forward


July 24, 2018

The People’s Budget: A Progressive Path Forward
Progressive leaders in Congress Tuesday unveiled an ambitious budget plan that may not receive an up-or-down vote this year, but serves as a stark contrast to budget proposals advanced by President Trump and the House GOP leadership.

The People’s Budget: A Progressive Path Forward, released by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was quickly endorsed by 30 groups, including the Coalition on Human Needs. Last year, the group’s budget proposal attracted the support of a record 108 House members, an impressive accomplishment, given the Caucus’s 78 members.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).

A few highlights of the budget proposal:

The People’s Budget invests $2 trillion to eliminate lead-contaminated water systems, address an overburdened mass transit system, rebuild schools, roads and bridges, and transition from a fossil fuel energy system to one that is more sustainable and recognizes the threats posed by climate change.

The People’s Budget closes tax loopholes and rewrites the rules that put the interests of billionaires and big corporations over ordinary families.

The People’s Budget takes a family-first approach to budgeting. It cuts funding for the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant policies and promotes comprehensive immigration reform to strengthen the economy. And it invests $1 trillion for quality, affordable child care, increased access to SNAP benefits, and expanding the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit.

“There is a simple principle to this budget and that is we are all better off when we are all better off,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) at a news conference announcing the budget’s release. “We put forward a vision of what can and should and will be.”

“Our progressive budget shows the American people that it is possible to be a country that empowers workers and cares for the sick, elderly and disabled; while making the long-term structural investments that provide a pathway to the middle class for those who have been left behind,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “A fair budget starts by ending the Republican and Donald Trump rigged economic system that favors big corporations and the wealthy and puts the focus back on workers, returns power to the people, and empowers communities across the country through real investments and bold policies. Our budget paints a very different picture than the cruel Republican budgets, and provides a real path to economic opportunity and economic prosperity for our nation.”

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).

Caucus members who spoke Tuesday often discussed competing budget proposals in Congress in moral terms.

“A budget represents the aspirations and the values of a people,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ). “We think our budget does this very well.”

“It’s a budget that really says to the American people: we are on your side,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).

The document was prepared with the help of the Economic Policy Institute, which has been working with the Caucus on its budget proposals since 2010. EPI Budget Analyst Hunter Blair said the Caucus’s budget is particularly sound because it brings down the deficit while working to address challenging  problems: a lack of good-paying jobs for workers, outdated infrastructure, a childcare system that essentially tells parents they are on their own, and health care costs that are much too high.

CHN Executive Director Deborah Weinstein, in a letter to Caucus Co-Chairs Grijalva and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), called the document “visionary” and yet grounded in practicality and responsibility – a “roadmap towards sustainable economic progress that will improve the lives of the vast majority of Americans.”

“The People’s Budget shows that it is possible to reverse the stagnation and decline of family incomes and to provide the education, health care, affordable housing, and job opportunities we all need,” Weinstein wrote in endorsing the proposal. “It is possible to protect public health and to address the needs of retirees and families needing child care. It is not only possible, but essential, to reverse the inhumane and cruelly wasteful anti-immigrant policies being harshly carried out by the Trump Administration. We can do all this if we follow the Progressive Path Forward outlined in The People’s Budget.”