It falls to Congress to protect and strengthen anti-poverty programs
February 2018 — The White House has once again jeopardized the futures of families struggling to put food on the table, kids around the world seeking an education, and millions more people facing poverty. The administration’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget request proposes massive funding cuts to effective anti-poverty programs in the U.S. and around the world. Now the process and final decisions fall to Congress, where there is stiff opposition to much of this budget and where similar proposals failed last year.
At a time when more than 43 million Americans are living below the poverty line, this budget would strip basic health and nutrition assistance from low-income people while corporations and the wealthy enjoy massive new tax cuts. The proposal slashes funding for Medicaid, SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), and other key programs that help millions of families get by, in addition to proposing a series of misguided policy changes. Multiple attempts to gut Medicaid failed last year, but some members of Congress are once again entertaining proposals to take food and health care away from Americans struggling to find work.
The budget would also gut funding for the global fight against poverty, from proper nutrition to lifesaving medical treatment to education. Beyond the nearly one-third cut to overall international affairs funding, certain poverty-focused health and education programs are singled out for even steeper cuts. Leaders in Congress from both parties ignored the same kind of cuts proposed by the White House last year.
Specific proposed cuts to U.S. and global anti-poverty programs include:
A more than 20 percent cut to Medicaid, eliminating the Medicaid expansion, and imposing “per capita” caps that would leave millions of people uninsured.
Imposing time limits to take away SNAP and Medicaid from those struggling to find work.
A 30 percent cut to funding for the State Department and USAID, which lead the overall U.S. role in the fight against global poverty.
A $2 billion cut to global health programs across all accounts, slashing funding for tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, maternal & child health, vaccines, nutrition, and more. Together, these programs have helped save millions of lives.
Final budget decisions lie with Congress
Many parts of this budget are already facing stiff opposition in Congress — and ultimately, they are the ones with power of the purse. In the coming months, House and Senate committees will negotiate funding amounts for individual programs in the fight against poverty.
U.S. anti-poverty programs have come under repeated threat over the last year — from attempts to gut Medicaid, to a tax bill that gives huge breaks for the wealthy while jeopardizing funding for basic assistance, to new schemes that would undermine SNAP in the name of “workforce development.” While the specifics of the President’s budget request are unlikely to become law, it’s the latest in this series of proposals that jeopardize food and health care assistance for low-income people.
Now RESULTS advocates and people across the country are calling on Congress to reject the president’s budget or any proposal that would take food and health care away from struggling Americans.
The fight against global poverty has long had bipartisan support, with both parties rejecting proposed cuts to foreign aid programs last year. On a handful of issues, including both access to education and the fight against tuberculosis, Congress not only rejected the cuts, but proposed increases.
In response to the latest White House proposal, Chairman Ed Royce, who oversees the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said “A strong, bipartisan coalitifon in Congress has already acted once to stop deep cuts to the State Department and Agency for International Development… This year, we will act again.” Constituents across the country, faith leaders, military leaders, and leaders from both political parties are echoing Chairman Royce’s call for continued U.S. leadership.
Learn more about funding the global fight against poverty: