With its first federal budget proposal, the White House has taken aim at families struggling to put food on the table, kids around the world seeking an education, and millions more people facing poverty. Proposing massive funding cuts to effective anti-poverty programs, the budget jeopardizes the futures of people across the country and around the world. Now Congress takes up the process.
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 Americans in order to fund massive tax cuts for the wealthy. The budget takes the bad health care proposal passed by the House and makes it even worse, and it slashes funding for nutrition assistance through programs like SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), refundable tax credits for low-income workers, and more.
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, poverty-focused programs are singled out for even steeper cuts. This includes zeroing out the “Development Assistance” account, which is currently the primary source of funding for transformational investments like increasing access to quality education.
Specific proposed cuts to U.S. and global anti-poverty programs include:
A more than 25 percent cut to SNAP over the next ten years, undermining the program that helps put food on the table for more than 42 million low-income Americans.
At least $616 billion in additional cuts to Medicaid – beyond the $800+ billion in cuts passed in the House health care bill earlier this spring – effectively ending the program as we know it.
A $40 billion cut in refundable tax credits for low-income workers, which together lifted almost 10 million people out of poverty last year.
An overall cut of 32 percent to the State Department and USAID, which lead the overall U.S. role in the fight against global poverty.
Eliminating the Development Assistance account, currently the primary funding source for global education and many other anti-poverty programs.
A more than $2 billion cut to global health programs, including tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, maternal & child health, nutrition, and more, which together have helped save millions of lives.
What Congress has to say about the budget
“It’s a problem — it’s a big problem … The cuts are draconian.”
Ultimately Congress has the power of the purse. In the coming months, House and Senate committees will negotiate both the overall budget envelope, as well as actual funding amounts for individual programs in the fight against poverty. If all were to move ahead on schedule, these decisions would take effect in October, the start of Fiscal Year 2018 for the U.S. government.
Many parts of this budget have already faced stiff opposition in Congress. It’s up to congressional leaders to reject the devastating cuts proposed by the Administration, instead protecting and strengthening our country’s investment in the fight against poverty here and around the world.