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NOW Action Alert

Urge Senators to Vote Against Destructive House Budget Bill

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TAKE ACTION:

The Senate will hold a vote the week of May 23 on the House-passed budget (H. Con. Res. 34), which would cut $4.3 trillion over 10 years from programs that support moderate- and low-income families -- programs that disproportionately employ women as well as disproportionately serve them -- while maintaining $4.2 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthiest.

If adopted, this budget would turn Medicare into a limited voucher program, greatly reduce Medicaid funding, adopt a fast track for making deep benefit cuts to Social Security, and eventually eliminate virtually all other programs except entitlements and military spending.

Please send a strong message to both of your senators: The House budget proposal needs to be defeated! Take action NOW!

BACKGROUND:

Severest Budget Cuts in History - This regressive budget proposal represents dangerously misguided conservative and Tea Party thinking that we must cut federal spending on social programs to the bone so that the "market" can be free to create jobs -- which recent history shows is a fantasy.

The proposed $4.3 trillion reduction over 10 years would be the most severe and wrenching budget cuts in history -- many millions of low-income workers, single parents, students, unemployed workers, persons with disabilities, seniors and others would be severely affected. Women, and in particular women of color, would be hit hardest. Shamefully, the House budget uses these drastic cuts to pay for the extension of tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, as the social program cuts are just about equal to the cost of the tax breaks.

Would Create Economic Havoc - Cutting federal programs will reverse our already slow economic recovery, permanently eliminating hundreds of thousands of jobs -- held predominately by women. Our already high unemployment would escalate even further, potentially resulting in a full-blown depression that would make the 1930s depression look minor.

The House budget proposes to cap federal spending at a very low fixed share of the Gross Domestic Product -- constraining the government's ability to meet future economic crises. Little funding will be available for investments in education, health care and social well-being, which are essential for a healthy economy and a good society.

Just Plain Bad Economic Policy - The House budget proposal would head the nation in the exact opposite direction of where we need to go. People need jobs. Women, who are being left behind in the current recovery, especially need jobs. Significantly more investment in job growth must be made to accelerate the economic recovery, even if the government has to borrow funds and run a deficit until the recovery is secure.

Republicans and some Democrats have succumbed to a foolhardy agenda of debt and deficit reduction -- perhaps because most have not felt the brunt of job loss, home foreclosure or dwindling savings. We must bolster those senators who are standing with us for job growth, and set the rest on the right path.

Take action NOW!

Some of the alarming specifics in the proposed House budget resolution:

It slashes funding for programs women and families depend on --

  • The budget proposes to cut $719 billion in mandatory programs (other than Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security), an estimated $350 billion of which is for programs serving low- and moderate-income individuals and families.
  • The budget proposal also cuts an estimated $400 billion in non-military discretionary programs primarily benefiting low- and moderate-income persons.
  • It would slash funding for maternal and child health, child care, Head Start, and K-12 education and many more vital educational programs.
  • The House budget would cut funding for Pell grants, job training, housing and energy assistance, and services for the elderly.
  • It would dismantle the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps), among many other human needs programs.

It block grants Medicaid and would reduce the federal share --

  • Millions of low-income Medicaid beneficiaries would have to pay more for their health care.
  • Limiting the federal share of Medicaid funding imperils the thousands of very-low-income seniors and persons with serious disabilities in long-term care facilities.
  • $2.17 trillion in reductions from Medicaid and related health care programs are proposed.
  • States -- many facing serious budget shortfalls -- will have to assume a larger share of funding under a new block grant approach.
  • The House budget does nothing to address increasing health care costs and the rising deficit and, most significantly, dooms health care reform under the Affordable Care Act.

It would privatize Medicare by transforming it to a voucher program --

  • Instead of the current fee-for-service traditional Medicare, the program would be converted to a voucher approach.
  • Vouchers would go straight to insurance companies, who would then decide how much health care coverage seniors could receive.
  • It would cut $30 billion by shifting costs to Medicare beneficiaries through increased premiums and cost-sharing.

It puts Social Security benefit cuts on a fast track --

  • H. Con. Res. 34 would change budget rules to enable benefit cuts to Social Security to be pushed through Congress on a fast track.
  • It rejects the idea of requiring high earners -- whose earnings above $106,800 are exempt from Social Security taxes -- to pay their fair share into Social Security.
  • The budget's spending caps would result in Social Security cuts deeper than those proposed in the earlier Simpson-Bowles proposal. Simpson-Bowles cuts benefits in several ways, including increasing the retirement age to 69 -- all very harmful changes for women whose average monthly Social Security check is about $1,000.

These are only a few of the vital programs that would be devastated by the House budget resolution. Send a message to your senators to urge that this harmful legislation be defeated! Take action NOW!

Further Information:
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
National Women's Law Center

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