Budgets show priorities. Based on the fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget resolution passed by the House Budget Committee in July and the proposed budget resolution the Senate Committee on the Budget released last Friday, the majority in Congress is prioritizing the wealthy few over working families. Congress must reject these budget resolution proposals and prioritize working families, not the wealthy and big corporations.
Each body of Congress introduces and passes its own budget resolution, and then they must reconcile the differences into a joint budget resolution. A budget resolution is not law – but it directs congressional committees to propose laws that meet specific targets on spending and taxes. And it can include a partisan procedural device called reconciliation that would allow the Senate to pass certain legislation with 51 votes instead of 60. That’s what Senate Republicans intended to use in their numerous Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal attempts. Now, they want to use reconciliation for tax legislation to give massive cuts to millionaires, billionaires, and big corporations (and keep their dream of ACA repeal alive, too).
The House Republican budget resolution is up for a floor vote on Thursday, and it spells disaster for women and families. The plan is essentially Robin Hood in reverse: it seeks to immediately take more from low- and middle-income families to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. The House proposal would cut trillions from programs like Medicare, Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/food stamps), and many more that help people—especially women—access affordable health care, put food on the table, and otherwise meet their basic needs, especially during tough times. It paints a misleading picture of the national debt as justification for its devastating cuts to programs that serve the most vulnerable, all while paving the way for billions in tax breaks for those who are already extremely well-off.
The new Republican Senate budget resolution proposal (which is being considered in committee today and Thursday) is not identical to the House proposal, but it shares the same upside-down priorities—and the same harm for women and their families. It includes reconciliation instructions that would fast-track legislation to advance the “Big Six” tax framework released last week, which would overwhelmingly benefit the super-rich: the Tax Policy Center estimates that the top 1 percent of households would receive 80 percent of the tax cuts by 2027, and the top 0.1 percent would get an average tax cut of over $1 million apiece!
Working families, however, would be left worse off—not only because the proposed tax cuts would go almost entirely to those at the very top, but also because the massive cost of those tax cuts would force cuts to the programs and services that women and families count on to secure a basic standard of living. Indeed, the Republican Senate budget plan calls for trillions in program cuts—and while it doesn’t say which programs would be targeted, everything from Medicare and Medicaid to child care, education, and job training would likely be at risk. Although some Republican Senators have claimed that the tax cuts will pay for themselves by stimulating “economic growth,” history has shown that trickle-down economics does not work—it does not lead to vast job growth but instead has been linked with increasing income inequality.
Congress must reject any budget resolution that paves the way for massive tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations by cutting programs that help women and families afford the basics for living.
Seriously – the wealthy and corporations should not get one penny in tax cuts. Polls conducted by The Washington Post-ABC News and Fox News reiterate that a majority of Americans oppose lowering taxes for the wealthy. Instead of these cuts that Americans don’t want, Congress should pass a budget resolution that prioritizes investments in working families like The People’s Budget.