When the House Republican leadership unveiled its plan to fund (and de-fund) the federal government for the rest of this fiscal year, we concluded that the bill (H.R. 1)—which slashed programs vital to the wellbeing of women and their families—would be devastating for women at every stage of their lives. Then the bill went to the House floor—and a terrible bill was made even worse.
Amendments added to H.R. 1 on the House floor would bar funding to implement the landmark health care law, threatening to halt hard-won consumer protections that, among many other things, would stop insurance companies from treating women like a pre-existing condition. Another amendment would remove ALL federal funding from Planned Parenthood–part of a targeted campaign to shut down health centers that serve three million women each year, jeopardizing women’s access to basic, preventive health care. And, H.R. 1 prohibits the Department of Education from using its funds to implement gainful-employment regulations that would ensure that for-profit, non-profit and public schools are providing quality education and not preying on vulnerable students (mostly women) for their financial aid dollars.
The reckless cuts in H.R. 1 would be devastating to the economy as well. Economists at Goldman Sachs estimate that the spending cuts in H.R. 1 could reduce economic growth by 1.5 percentage points to 2 percentage points in the second and third quarters. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that enacting H.R. 1 would cost almost one million jobs, wiping out nearly all the jobs added during 2010.
The economic cost of H.R. 1 adds insult to injury for women, who have actually lost 366,000 jobs during the recovery so far and—because they disproportionately work in the public sector providing the services slashed by H.R. 1—are likely to suffer a disproportionate share of the job losses if anything close to H.R. 1 is enacted.
Now it’s up to the Senate to stop this reckless plan.