Week 9: Tell your U.S. Rep to oppose the new Republican House budget plan

House Budget Chairwoman Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) talks with reporters after releasing committee's 2017-18 budget resolution, Jul. 18, 2017

House Budget Chairwoman Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) talks with reporters after releasing committee’s 2017-18 budget resolution, Jul. 18, 2017

In the second week of our 30 Weeks of Action Against Hunger campaign we asked you to take action against Pres. Trump’s budget plan. It’s a starvation budget that makes drastic cuts to dozens of our nation’s key anti-poverty and anti-hunger programs so that he can give more tax cuts to the wealthy.

Well now Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have released their version of a national budget. In some ways it’s even worse.

It makes drastic cuts ($203 billion) to programs that help working families, seniors, and people with disabilities meet their basic needs. These are programs that help with things like food, health care, housing, and other social services. It also charts a course for a major overhaul of the tax code to benefit the wealthy and corporations. All while increasing military spending.

Because those are the Republicans’ priorities.

The new House budget plan

Last week the House Budget committee passed their 10-year budget blueprint out of the House Budget Committee on a straight party-line vote.

What specifically does the “Building a Better America” Budget Resolution do? According to our national ally Food Research and Action Center, it makes:

  • $10 billion in cuts over 10 years to Agriculture programs — a reduction clearly pointed at SNAP/Food Stamps given the language in the Budget Committee’s explanatory documents;
  • another $150 billion in SNAP cuts by changing the program over to a block grant funded program, meaning states would have to pick up most of the tab for paying for food stamps rather than SNAP being assured funding based on need; and
  • it reduces eligibility for a key child nutrition program (Community Eligibility) that makes it easier for high-poverty schools to provide free school meals, targeting an estimated 8,284 currently participating schools with over 3.8 million students, and precluding another 12,843 schools with over 6.2 million students from choosing this option.

The House budget plan also assumes huge cuts to Medicaid (from Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act). It also would change Medicare from an entitlement program to a voucher program.

Now is the time to make sure this wrong-headed and hurtful plan gets stopped in its tracks. 

THE WHAT-WHERE-WHEN

This Budget Resolution bill hasn’t yet been scheduled to come to the House floor for a full vote before Congress is due to go on recess in August. House Democrats are united in opposition to it. But House Republican leaders are desperate to show progress on something – something that cuts spending on social programs while rewarding the wealthy – given their repeated failures to do exactly that with the Affordable Care Act.

With the recent forward progress of their Budget Resolution and the fact that the nation is now focused on the Senate-side of the Republican healthcare debacle, they may try to advance it quickly and soon, to escape public notice.

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION

Some moderate House Republicans (who make up the Tuesday Group Caucus), like Pennsylvania’s Charlie Dent and Glenn Thompson, oppose the cuts the House budget bill makes to social programs. On the other hand, more conservative Freedom Caucus members of the House think those cuts don’t go far enough.

It is unclear whether the House can pass this bill and when (the budget deadline is September 30). But we must mount a strong and vocal effort to oppose it now. If we wait for it to get to the House floor for a full and final vote, it will likely be too late.

Contact your House Member now and let his office know you are paying attention and you oppose the House Budget Resolution because of the harm it would do to seniors, children, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable people.

  • If your Rep. is Mike Doyle (D) he is already opposed — thank him.
  • If your Rep. is Keith Rothfus (R) or Tim Murphy (R), ask that he stand with their Republican Pa. colleagues Charlie Dent and Glenn Thompson in opposition to this bill.

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