With much of the nation focused on the humanitarian crisis of the Trump administration separating undocumented children from their parents, House Republicans quietly proposed a budget that would cut anti-poverty programs by more than $5 trillion.
The House Budget Committee’s “Budget for a Brighter American Future” sets a goal of cutting the budget deficit by more than $8 trillion over the next ten years, with a bulk of the cuts coming from social safety net programs aimed at keeping Americans out of poverty. According to Roll Call, the House Budget Committee’s plan would cut Medicaid funding by $1 trillion over the next decade, and would slash Medicare support by $537 billion.
Aside from beltway-centric outlets like Roll Call and The Hill, the GOP’s draconian budget proposal has gone almost entirely unnoticed by the media as of this writing.
Most notably, House Republicans are allocating more money for discretionary military spending ($647 billion) than for non-military discretionary spending ($597 billion). Lawmakers are also leaving the tax cut signed by President Trump in December wholly intact, despite the Trump tax cuts costing approximately $2.3 trillion over a ten-year period. Vox estimated that 83 percent of the tax cuts would exclusively benefit the richest one percent of Americans.
Even though Republicans argue the tax cuts would eventually pay for themselves through projected GDP growth, Politico estimates that even under the most optimistic GDP predictions, the Republican tax cuts of 2017 still leave a gaping hole in the budget.
“For the years 2018 to 2027, the shortfall ranges from $1 trillion to $1.3 trillion,” Politico’s David Rogers wrote in February. “In measuring for 2019 to 2028, the picture improves, but the 10-year shortfall still is between $700 billion to $1.1 trillion.”
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Kentucky), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, said House Republicans’ budget proposal would cause “serious harm” to American families.
“The 2019 Republican budget scraps any sense of responsibility to the American people and any obligation to being honest. Its repeal of the Affordable Care Act and extreme cuts to health care, retirement security, anti-poverty programs, education, infrastructure, and other critical investments are real and will inflict serious harm on American families,” Rep. Yarmuth stated.
Although Republicans failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) last year and officially gave up the repeal effort earlier this year, the current budget proposal’s repeal of the ACA could still very well pass, as Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House. Congressional Republicans will likely move quickly in their attempts to pass the budget, given predictions that Democrats will take back control of at least one chamber of Congress after this November’s midterm elections.
Logan Espinoza is a freelance contributor specializing in economic issues. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and daughter. Contact him at logan DOT espinoza AT yahoo DOT com.