House Budget Jeopardizes Economic Security of Women and Families
This week House Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) introduced the FY 2017 budget resolution. Despite its title, the budget resolution is hardly a recipe for a “stronger America.” Instead, it proposes policies that will substantially undercut the economic security of women and families by jeopardizing their access to essential programs like Social Security and Medicaid, eliminating the Affordable Care Act, and slashing funding available for domestic programs like Head Start, child care assistance and domestic violence prevention.
The Budget Committee approved Chairman Price’s plan on Wednesday evening. And the Budget Committee is not the only one in a slash-and-burn mood lately: also this week, the Ways & Means Committee approved several harmful proposals, including a bill to deny critical tax benefits to millions of children in low-income, working, immigrant families, while the Energy & Commerce Committee agreed to cut funding for preventive health care and children’s health programs.
The House budget resolution would:
- Cut $6.5 trillion from the federal budget in the next decade. About 60 percent of these cuts are to programs that serve low-income people—most of whom are women and their families.
- Repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including eliminating the Marketplaces 8 million women and girls currently use to purchase health coverage, and the Medicaid eligibility expansion that provides health insurance to millions more. The budget plan would also revoke improved coverage for maternity care and preventive services, including birth control, allow insurance companies to once again treat being a woman as a pre-existing condition, and eliminate historic protections against discrimination based on sex.
- Turn traditional Medicaid into a block grant while cutting more than $1 trillion from the program over 10 years, potentially forcing states to restrict eligibility and eliminate benefits to cope with these cuts. It also proposes new, unfair work requirements for Medicaid recipients.
- Between the ACA repeal and the Medicaid cuts, tens of millions of people would likely lose their health insurance coverage under the Price plan. More than two-thirds of adult Medicaid beneficiaries are women.
- Unfairly undermine the financial security of Social Security Disability Insurance recipients by denying beneficiaries who have recently lost jobs through no fault of their own access to the unemployment insurance benefits they have earned.
- Slash the funding available for critical programs like Head Start, child care assistance, K-12 education, job training, and domestic violence prevention—indeed, for all of the non-defense programs Congress funds each year, including food safety, environmental protection, transportation, and medical research. On top of deep cuts to non-defense programs from sequestration, the budget would cut $887 billion more over 10 years.
- Turn the SNAP (food stamps) program into a block grant, limiting its ability to respond effectively to increased need. More than six in ten adult SNAP beneficiaries are women.
- Freeze the maximum amount for Pell Grants for at least 10 years, despite rising tuition costs. Pell Grants offer low-income students a chance to get the higher education they need to get ahead, and nearly two-thirds of the recipients are women.
And here’s what the Price budget would not do: raise the revenue we need to invest in our economy and our families, instead opting to lower tax rates for high-income people and shelter offshore corporate profits from U.S. taxes. Overall, Rep. Price’s plan would almost certainly increase poverty and inequality, causing the most harm to the struggling families it claims to help.