What to Watch For in the House GOP Budget

Jul 17, 2017

With barely more than two months before the start of the fiscal year, House Republicans announced today that there will FINALLY be a mark-up of their 2018 budget in the House Committee on the Budget scheduled for Wednesday.

Here’s what to watch for:

  1. Major tax breaks for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations. It’s been long known that Republicans’ main goal for their 2018 budget is to give themselves the ability to fast track massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations through the budget process known as “reconciliation.”  While the budget itself won’t contain any specific tax plan, the House Republican tax plan, released last year, gave 99.6% of its benefits to the top one-percent, all while reducing rates on big corporations. In the same vein, President Trump’s one-page tax “plan” gave specific and huge tax cuts to the wealthy, while middle and poor households got essentially nothing.
  2. Drastic cuts to health care and basic standards of living that will make life even harder for millions of Americans already struggling to get by. House Republicans will almost certainly embrace their House-passed Trumpcare legislation, which stripped more than 20 million Americans of health care coverage, gutted protections for pre-existing conditions, imposed a cruel age tax on older Americans, and drained Medicaid by more than $800 billion. If that wasn’t enough, after weeks of arguing over how much to cut from families struggling to get by, Republicans are expected to try and fast track at least $200 billion in additional cuts to mandatory programs that help families put food on the table, a roof over their head, and provide the security of health coverage. Programs that could see cuts include: Medicaid, SNAP, Pell Grants, and housing assistance for student veterans. And despite what Republicans will try and say about the pattern of spending from year to year, these are truly “cuts” that will lead to reduced services and jeopardized coverage.
  3. Historically low investments in programs that help expand economic opportunity, create jobs, and support our families. Non-defense discretionary (NDD) funding—our investments in education, research, veterans’ health care, homeland security, infrastructure and more—are already subject to austerity-level caps. But instead of working with Democrats on a bipartisan agreement to raise the caps and build a competitive economy, House Republicans plan to cut non-defense spending even further—to the lowest levels, relative to the size of the economy, since the category has been tracked. Instead of supporting economic growth, these short-sighted cuts would limit it—and make it harder for Americans to find a job that pays the bills.
  4. A narrow focus on military spending that endangers national security. Like the Trump budget before it, Republicans are planning to narrowly focus on increased military spending while vastly undervaluing diplomacy and foreign aid, ignoring public health threats such as diseases and climate change, and underfunding investments in economic growth that are key to our national security.
  5. Fake Economics and Budget Gimmicks. Republicans will likely use the debunked claim that tax cuts pay for themselves to help them get to balance, and House Budget Democratic Committee staff will be on the hunt for additional gimmicks and faulty assumptions.