March 19, 2013 TAKE ACTION: Please send a message to your representative right away urging support for the Back to Work FY 2014 budget proposed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC). This budget plan will truly help women and their families by reducing the federal deficit sensibly and humanely through job creation rather than drastic cuts in social programs.
Tell your representative that you strongly oppose the Republican budget plan, which is a retread of last year's failed Romney-Ryan budget, enhancing tax breaks for corporations and billionaires while sticking it to the most vulnerable -- disproportionately women, especially women of color. Let them know, also, that the Democratic leadership's proposal, while far superior to the Republicans', falls short of the aggressive jobs program we need right now. The CPC's Back to Work proposal is the best of the three.
Votes in the House on the Progressives' Back to Work plan are set to begin on Wednesday (3/20), followed by the Democratic leadership's plan, and then debate and voting on the potentially devastating Ryan budget. Take action NOW!
BACKGROUND: Progressive Budget Plan on House Floor - The House will be voting Wednesday on a FY 2014 budget plan offered by the Congressional Progressive Caucus that makes major investments in job creation, education and training, and re-hiring of laid-off public sector workers. The CPC plan's goal is to grow the economy by generating nearly seven million jobs, assuring continued economic growth so that the federal deficit is reduced gradually as more and more workers, earning middle-class wages with decent benefits, pay income taxes into the federal treasury.
The CPC's Back to Work budget also provides for a public option health care plan, allows the government to negotiate for lower drug prices, and strengthens Medicare and Medicaid. Their plan returns Pentagon spending to 2006 levels, eliminates tax subsidies for oil, gas and coal, and makes millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share in taxes. This is a plan that clearly benefits women and deserves support by members of Congress.
More information is available on the CPC website and the Economic Policy Institute website. Ryan Plan Decimates Vital Programs - In stark contrast is the Republican budget, offered by House Budget Committee Chair Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which is even worse than his plan from last year. Ryan's budget slashes many of the government programs that help keep women and their families in the middle class and provide critical services to low-income families. Virtually every non-defense discretionary program -- covering a wide range of social services -- would see their budgets cut by more than twice as much as would be cut if the sequester was in effect for 10 years. Ryan proposes deep cuts in education, transportation and infrastructure, science and research, health care and human needs.
The Republican 10-year deficit reduction plan involves a zero increase in tax revenues, with $2.7 trillion in mandatory cuts. Another $1 trillion in discretionary cuts would take place over that period, on top of the estimated $1.2 to $1.7 trillion cuts agreed to in the Budget Control Act of 2011. At the same time, the GOP plan would cost nearly $6 trillion in lost federal revenue over the next decade, and would ensure that most of the benefits go to high-income households. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has more information (PDF). Affordable Health Care Targeted - The latest Ryan plan repeals the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but takes the savings the ACA would have realized and appropriates it to pay for drastically reduced tax rates on the rich. This means that the 27 million uninsured persons who, under the ACA, would have been able to gain health care insurance in 2014 would be out of luck.
The Ryan plan cuts $810 billion from Medicaid, a program that provides health care to persons with disabilities and lower-income individuals, including thousands of poor elderly women in nursing homes. Ryan and his anti-government Tea Party colleagues propose to convert Medicare to a voucher plan, like they tried to do last year, placing more of the health care cost burden on seniors. Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs would be seriously undermined with such deep reductions in federal funding. This is especially significant since these programs are routinely under-funded and have suffered declines in support from other sources, like state and local governments and private donors, as a result of the recession and ongoing economic weakness. Effect of GOP Budget Would Be Profound - The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that Ryan gets 66 percent of his budget cuts from programs for people with low and moderate incomes. Of the $5.5 trillion spent overall for non-defense programs, about $3.3 trillion would be eliminated (e.g., Medicaid, Pell Grants, family planning clinics, food stamps, job training, etc.). If the Ryan budget plan passes, it would bring the Tea Party, libertarian dream of "drowning the government in the bathtub" that much closer to reality. The economic devastation to the U.S. would be profound, with estimates of job loss ranging into the millions and dramatic contraction of the economy. The Budget Committee Democrats provide more information. Budget Process from Here - Whichever budget plan is adopted will guide House and Senate appropriations committees as they determine spending amounts for fiscal year 2014, which begins on Oct. 1, 2013. It is possible (some say it is likely) that Congress will be unable to adopt a FY 2014 budget, at least in the near future. That is because the House Republican majority is expected to pass the Ryan budget, but the Senate is expected to declare this "slash and burn" budget plan dead on arrival.
In the meantime, Congress has never gotten around to adopting a budget for FY 2013, which began on Oct. 1, 2012. As a result, the government is currently being funded by means of a continuing resolution (CR), which carries over last year's spending priorities, but with a twist -- that twist being the across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester. This (twisted) CR expires on March 27 and must be re-authorized before that deadline. So, immediately after the House takes up the three competing FY 2014 budgets (the Progressives' Back to Work plan; the Democratic leadership's more moderate plan; and the Ryan plan), it will then take up the FY 2013 CR.
Urge your representative to support the Back to Work plan. Take action NOW!