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Two Steps Forward for the Rich and Two Steps Backward for Working Families

Last week, Republicans in Congress made two steps forward in their plan to give massive tax cuts to millionaires, billionaires, and big corporations at the expense of working families.

Republicans in Congress are seeking to use the fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget resolution to advance a tax plan that both the Tax Policy Center and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy have found would overwhelmingly favor the very wealthy. Last week, the House passed its budget resolution, which would cut trillions from critical programs helping women and families and pave the way for giving tax handouts to millionaires, billionaires, and big corporations. Eighteen Republicans prioritized women and families over politics and voted against the House budget, but it still passed 219 to 206.

Later that day, the Senate Committee on the Budget passed its budget resolution along party lines. While the Senate budget resolution postpones more program cuts to the latter half of the next decade and would increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion, it shares the House budget resolution’s reverse-Robin Hood strategy—that is, taking from low- and middle-income families to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy few. It also leaves room for Republicans to continue their partisan attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Nevertheless, Congress can still shift its priorities and focus on women and families, not tax cuts for big corporations and the super wealthy.

The Senate can still reject its budget resolution when it goes to the floor for a vote, likely during the week of October 16. If the Senate budget resolution passes, then Members of the House and Senate will still have to reconcile the differences in the budget resolutions in a conference committee to form a joint budget resolution—which is the vehicle that would actually enable them to use reconciliation instructions to push their tax cuts through the Senate with a simple majority vote.

These final two steps in the budget process present opportunities for Congress to stop the trillions in cuts to programs helping families meet their basic needs and stop the tax legislation designed to help the rich and not the low- or middle-class. Or perhaps I should say – there’s still time for US to stop both program cuts and tax cuts; we only have to look to the recent ACA fight to show how powerful we can be to stop Congress from doing harm.

The federal budget shows Congress’s priorities for the nation. It’s time for Congress to prioritize women and families and put a stop to any budget resolution that permits tax cuts for the wealthy few at the expense of women and families.

It's time for change, and we must act now. Time's up.