Resources from around the Coalition: FY18 budget priorities edition


July 17, 2017

Editor’s note: The following blog post was written by Raquel Douglas, CHN’s Summer 2017 intern.

One in four renter households unable to afford rent. Billions of dollars in cuts proposed to SNAP, rental assistance programs, job training grants, and a plethora of other programs vital to the quality of life of the most vulnerable among us.

Meanwhile, the House budget proposal – which the House Budget Committee is expected to take up this week – will likely feature a more than $70 billion increase in Pentagon spending above current law. Bills in Congress would enact a variety of tax cuts for the wealthy, and both chambers have introduced proposed repeals of the Affordable Care Act. These acts work against the needs of the most vulnerable, and prioritize those who do not have the most need. We have gathered resources from around the Coalition about what budget proposals should be focusing on.

In addition to the Senate’s “cut-taxes-for-the-rich/cut-health-care-for-everyone-else” bill, a plethora of legislation with inhumane priorities has recently emerged. In particular, bills to increase Pentagon spending by $70 billion advanced through relevant Senate and House committees. The Friends Committee on National Legislation argues that this increase will encourage a nuclear arms race, continue wars on false principles, and waste the nation’s resources on destruction rather than use funds for innovation. These proposed Pentagon spending increases surface in combination with draconian cuts to many social safety net programs in the Trump and House budget proposals, the repeal of the ACA in the Senate, and the anticipated tax cuts for the wealthy. These all fail to alleviate the needs of the most vulnerable among us.

11.4 million households have extremely low incomes and therefore cannot afford to pay rent at the Fair Market Rent level. According to a new study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, without any federal assistance, households must earn $21.21 an hour to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment and $17.14 to afford a one bedroom. With the federal minimum wage stuck at $7.25 an hour, it’s clear that federal rental assistance and other social safety net programs are vital to families who are struggling to make ends meet. Any bill that seeks to cut these vital programs does not prioritize those who need the most help. See what wages are needed to afford rent in your state.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities debunks the myth that core assistance programs for low-income families are not affordable. Recently, spending on most low-income entitlement programs outside of health care has fallen significantly as a share of GDP. Under the guise of “welfare reform,” President Trump has asked for an additional $272 billion in cuts to entitlement programs other than Medicaid to low-income families, with $193 billion in cuts to SNAP alone. Though SNAP, TANF, housing and rental assistance programs, and job training grants all have measured, positive effects on low-income families, each of these is at risk of losing funding. CBPP also shows how the House’s plan to use a special fast-track budget process to force roughly $200 billion in cuts over ten years to entitlement programs would hurt struggling families.

The National Women’s Law Center’s new Child Care Now Campaign emphasizes why access to affordable child care is a pressing concern that must be addressed in federal budget proposals. In this fact sheet, NWLC details why women need child care to work, how child care benefits children in the long run, and why adequate child care assistance could drastically expand access to quality child care. Nearly 1 in 5 women with very young children work low-wage jobs, meaning that adequate child care funding could have large impacts. Unfortunately, the Trump budget has the wrong priorities when it comes to affordable child care. The proposal primarily helps higher income families while doing little to help low- and middle-income families.

The Child Welfare League of America provides a detailed account of just how much the Trump budget proposal cuts from agencies and services that are vital to the well-being of children. Cuts to LIHEAP, TANF, 21st Century Afterschool Learning Centers, Head Start and others will increase insecurity, inequity, and instability in the lives of low-income children. CWLA therefore supports a budget resolution that does not disinvest in children and that does not feature disproportionate cuts to programs for children and programs that have long-term positive impacts on children.

Fortunately, over 1,500 organizations nationwide have signed on to a letter demanding that Congress pass a budget that invests in our future and prioritizes the quality of life of the most vulnerable. If you believe it is an abomination to impose draconian cuts to the social safety net and repeal of the Affordable Care Act while granting significant tax cuts to the wealthy and increasing Pentagon spending, there are many ways you can take action:

    • Email or visit your members of Congress to ensure they’ve read the letter and that they know their constituents agree.
    • Call your representative directly by dialing 1-855-764-1010 and using your zip code
    • Attend local rallies, and learn more about organizations in your area that are working to oppose these cuts
    • Educate yourself on exactly how much your state needs quality insurance by reading these fact sheets.
    • Use these infographics to tweet directly at target senators.
    • Share this and our other blog posts about the House budget.

…and encourage others to do the same! Remember, there is no limit to what we can accomplish together in solidarity.

Budget and Appropriations
FY18 budget
Poverty and Income
Resources from around the Coalition
tax policy