Opening Statement in Hearing on Trump Budget
Washington, D.C.— The opening remarks of Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth, Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, at today’s hearing on the Trump administration’s 2018 budget request as prepared are below.
[Note, these remarks were delivered in hearing by Vice Ranking Member Pramila Jayapal]
Thank you Chairman Black. Director Mulvaney – it is good to see you and congratulations on your new position.
As you know, this hearing traditionally gives the American people the chance to see the differences between the priorities and values of our two parties. Those contrasts will be made absolutely clear today. The Trump budget is shockingly extreme….the antithesis of what the American people have said they want from their government. It leaves no question of what this administration values: greater gains for millionaires, and corporations, at the expense of American families, economic progress and our national security.
Yes - the President’s budget is a betrayal: a line by line tally of broken promises. But above all, it’s a shattering of dreams and the loss of hope and opportunity for millions of families.
This budget starts by taking away health care, then food, then housing, then education, then job opportunities. For nearly every American family struggling to get ahead, this budget makes that much harder --- if not impossible.
The level of cuts to investments Americans need is astonishing and frankly immoral.
This budget cuts non-defense discretionary (NDD) funding for 2018 by a massive $54 billion from the already austerity-level spending cap. Then this budget goes haywire, cutting NDD more and more each year, until 2027, when investments are decimated by nearly 30 percent, and that’s without adjusting for inflation. A Thirty percent cut in NDD, which includes homeland security, education, medical research, veterans’ health care, transportation, and much more, represents a total disinvestment in our nation, and a complete departure from every standard of responsible governing.
But it gets worse. We know that at least 24 million Americans will lose health care coverage because this budget includes the Republican health care repeal bill. This budget cuts Medicaid by another $600 billion. That’s a total cut of $1.4 trillion to a program that is the only source of health care for tens of thousands of individuals in every single congressional district in the country. The vast majority of those people are children, seniors in nursing homes and the disabled.
This budget actually targets help for people with disabilities, cutting Social Security Disability Insurance by as much as $72 billion despite the President’s pledge to not to touch Social Security at all.
The budget cuts $193 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This is the program that makes sure our poorest families have at least some chance to put a meal on the table. It provides just $1.42 per person per meal, again mainly to seniors, children and the disabled.
The President’s budget eliminates or eviscerates 14 education and arts programs; makes it harder for Americans to get needed skills to compete for jobs; guts investments in rural and urban communities; jeopardizes the safety our food, air, and water; and leave roads and bridges to crumble.
The Trump Administration makes all these cuts for one simple, disgraceful reason – to hide the fact that their huge tax breaks for millionaires, corporations, and special interests will explode the debt. And they even do that in a dishonest way.
This budget relies on absurd economic projections and pretend revenues that no credible economist would validate. It provides no real information on “tax reform” other than to claim it is revenue neutral. I guess this is the President’s “believe me” part of his budget.
Mick, with all due respect we aren’t going to take the President’s word for it – particularly when no one else will.
We have been down this road before – more than once. And I know you believe it with all your heart, but you’re wrong. Tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest American do not pay for themselves. They drive up our deficits and rob our country of needed investments. That’s the truth.
It’s also true that we can’t trust a budget that sets-up false choices. The budget increases 2018 defense funding by $54 billion while cutting NDD by the same amount. We do not have to choose between updating tanks or textbooks – and we should not be pitting teachers against soldiers. To strengthen our national security we must ensure that our military and American families both have tools needed for success. In fact, that is our responsibility.
It’s also our responsibility to invest in the future of American families and help grow our economy. Education, health care, job training, innovation and infrastructure, programs that help individuals with nowhere left to turn, and a tax code that helps families get ahead. Those are American priorities – and they should be the priorities of this Congress and our Committee.