FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2017
Contact: Michelle Nicolet
Chicago, IL—Everyone in this country should have a fair chance at upward mobility and a decent quality of life. The federal government plays a vital role in advancing those goals for tens of millions of families and individuals through ensuring access to basic necessities, like food, healthcare, and housing, and through other important opportunity enhancing efforts, like education and job-training.
On Thursday, House Republicans passed their version of a 2018 fiscal year budget—a major threat to our shared commitment to equal opportunity for all. To finance tax cuts for our country’s wealthiest households, the GOP House budget would slash trillions in funding from crucial programs—including education, job-training, human services, healthcare, and housing, food, and other basic assistance. The budget would also impose or tighten dubious “work requirements” on various anti-poverty programs, mechanisms that have been proven to accomplish little other than stripping assistance from otherwise eligible people in need.
If the GOP House budget were to become law, poverty would sharply increase, our country’s already-weakened ladder of upward mobility would be further undermined, and the financial and physical well-being of tens of millions of people would be devastated. This budget threatens virtually all people living in or near poverty—working people, children and older adults, sick and well—but it would fall disproportionately hard on people of color and those who face additional barriers to opportunity.
Though the suffering would be national in scope, it would largely unfold at the local level. By slashing billions in federal funding for programs like food assistance, the GOP’s House budget would effectively shift massive costs to state governments, fiscally paralyzing them and forcing them to choose who loses crucial assistance.
As the House voted to advance this disastrous budget Thursday, Republican Senators had also started working on their fiscal framework. Many details remain to be seen, but early signs are not promising. The Senate blueprint unveiled earlier this month calls for more of the same—lavish tax cuts for the rich to be paid for by gutting programs that support or enhance opportunity for people with low and moderate income.
The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law urges lawmakers to reject the House budget and any similar plan. We should be investing in opportunity for all—not tearing it down.
The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. We advocate for and serve clients directly, while also building the capacity of the nation’s legal aid providers to advance justice and opportunity for their clients. www.povertylaw.org