This week, the House Budget Committee approved the 2018 budget resolution, which calls for trillions of dollars in cuts to investments in our economy and assistance that helps Americans afford the basics, while giving huge tax cuts to the very wealthy and corporations making large profits.
The House Republican budget plan cuts: health care for children, seniors, people with disabilities, and low-wage workers; food assistance that keeps millions of kids from going hungry; and aid that helps students afford college. The budget ignores our growing need for education, health care, workforce training, scientific research, and environmental programs in favor of massive increases in defense spending that exceed even what the Trump Administration requested.
Specifically, the budget calls for $4.4 trillion in cuts over the next decade including:
- $1.5 trillion in cuts in Medicaid and other health programs;
- $487 billion in cuts to Medicare;
- $150 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
- $500 billion in unspecified cuts to “income security” programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), TANF, Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and Foster Care; and
- $200 billion in cuts to Pell Grants and Student Loans.
“These cuts will hurt real Montana families, including those who are struggling in today’s economy,” said Tara Jensen, co-director of the Montana Budget and Policy Center. “The state, local governments, and non-profits will not be able to fill the gap.”
The budget plan could result in harsh cuts to programs that could harm:
- more than 200,000 Montanans who receive health care through Medicaid, including almost 100,000 children;
- economic opportunity for Montanans, such as job training, education, student aid, and economic development programs across the state;
- 122,000 Montanans who depend on SNAP to feed their families and ensure no child goes hungry;
- 15,000 elderly and severely disabled people with low incomes who receive critical aid through SSI;
- Montana’s air and water, and our national parks.
“This is a budget makes the lives of everyday Montanans harder by risking access to health care, nutrition, education, and even our national parks,” said Tara Jensen, Co-Director of the Montana Budget and Policy Center. “Our state and our citizens deserve a budget that makes life better for all of us, not just the wealthy and huge corporations.”
Ultimately, the FY2018 House Budget Resolution calls for extreme cuts to programs that currently help tens of millions of Americans while simultaneously facilitating massive tax breaks for the wealthiest individuals and corporations. The House budget plan sets up “flexibility” for states, which is usually just code for even deeper cuts, especially when cash-strapped states like ours cannot fill the gap left by the federal cuts. One of the most concerning aspects of the House Budget Resolution is the reconciliation instructions, as they create a fast-track process to force billions of dollars of cuts to the programs listed above.
With only one week until the House leaves for the August recess, it looks increasingly likely that Republicans may not be able to accomplish the most fundamental task of governing: passing a budget. It looks as though House leadership does not have the votes needed to pass the budget on the floor, but news reports suggest they are still set on pushing a vote early the week of July 24th.