Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a budget blueprint that would cut taxes for the wealthy, add as much as $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit, and cuts over a trillion dollars from Medicaid and Medicare.
The budget bill also defunds Planned Parenthood and cuts $154 billion out of the nutrition assistance program SNAP, taking access to food away from nearly 7 million households. “Did you really come to Congress to take food out of the mouths of hungry children?” remarked Rep. Jan Schakowsky on the floor of the House of Representatives.
“The House Republicans are using this budget as a vehicle to offer massive giveaways to wealthy special interests, paid for on the backs of everyday Americans,” said a statement from Rep. Barbara Lee, member of the House Budget Committee. “Make no mistake: this ‘Trojan horse’ budget benefits millionaires and billionaires, while making heartless cuts to food stamps, deny healthcare to millions and ending Medicare and Medicaid as we know it.”
According to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, 80 percent of the budget’s tax cuts would go to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. Those households, which make more than $900,000 a year, would see their taxes drop by more than $200,000 on average. Meanwhile 30% of households making between $50,000 and $150,000 a year would see a tax increase, as would the majority of households making between $150,000 and $300,000 a year.
Republicans’ claim that the tax cuts for the wealthy will lead to increased economic development, and thus offset the increase to the deficit, but many economists strongly disagree, saying evidence of that is slim.
After failing to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, many Republicans see overhauling the tax code as their last chance to pass a bill that would appease their wealthy donors.
“If you do the same thing you did on healthcare and try to do it yourselves, I think you will meet the same fate that the healthcare bill did,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). He told Republicans that Democrats will not support any bill that cuts taxes for the wealthy or adds to the federal deficit without giving benefits to the middle class. Because the blueprint is considered a budget reconciliation bill, it will only require 51 votes in the Senate as opposed to the standard 60.
Many Democratic lawmakers are pointing out that the budget’s cuts to Medicaid and Medicare would be even more devastating than the plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Media Resources: Washington Post 10/5/17; Office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee 10/5/17; Office of Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky 10/5/17.