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Democratic Amendments to FY 2019 Republican Budget

Jun 22, 2018

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On June 21, 2018, the House Budget Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2019 Republican budget resolution, which represents the next step of the GOP’s three-step plan to give to the rich and make everyone else pay for it. First, they passed the Republican tax scam that has mostly benefitted the rich. Second, their tax cut predictably led to increased deficits. The CBO’s latest budget and economic outlook estimates the GOP tax scam will increase deficits by $1.9 trillion over 10 years. Now, they have submitted a budget that places the entire burden of deficit reduction on the middle class and struggling families by making deep cuts to programs Americans count on.

While the evidence shows that companies are not spending their tax cuts in ways that grow the economy and create jobs, communities nationwide are struggling with food insecurity, crumbling infrastructure, unsafe air and water, and lack of educational opportunities. Yet this budget resolution leaves these communities behind by drastically cutting investments in our national and economic security. While the tax plan has done nothing to boost wages, this Republican budget cuts key pillars of economic strength and opportunity. It would cause skyrocketing health costs for families through its repeal of the Affordable Care Act, failure to address prescription drug prices, gutting of Medicaid, and the end of Medicare as we know it. While companies rake in tax cuts from the GOP tax scam, this Republican budget asks families, retirees, and veterans to pay the price.

The American people expect their elected officials to put their needs ahead of special interests. The Republican budget falls far short of this goal, but Committee Democrats offered 26 amendments to help increase economic opportunity, secure Americans’ health and retirement security, pass comprehensive immigration reform, and ensure every American has access to a basic standard of living. These amendments rejected the GOP budget’s extreme cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, infrastructure, and nutrition assistance. They supported our veterans, military spouses, and students, and opposed the Trump Administration’s insidious policy of separating children from their families.

The Democratic amendments offset any proposed spending by partially repealing the Republican tax law’s giveaways to the wealthy few, who evidence shows are the true winners of the GOP tax plan. By rejecting every Democratic amendment, Republicans made clear their priorities lie with protecting tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations – not with the American people.

The following is a description of Democratic amendments.

  Amendment Sponsor
1 Reject Trumpcare Schakowsky
2 Protect Medicaid Jackson Lee
3 Protect Nutrition Assistance DelBene
4 Adopt Comphrensive Immigration Reform and Protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Recipients Jayapal
5 Provide Funding for Proven Anti-Poverty Programs Lee
6 Protect Medicare Boyle
7 Protect Social Security Benefits Wasserman Schultz
8 Close the Carried Interest Loophole Yarmuth
9 Protect Americans from Gun Violence Moulton
10 Improve the Earned Income Tax Credit Khanna
11 Invest in America's Future Higgins
12 Reject Cuts to America's Transportation Infrastructure Carbajal
13 Keep Families Together Lujan Grisham
14 Repeal the State and Local Tax Deduction Cap Jeffries
15 Repeal the Survivor Benefit Plan/Dependency and Indemnity Compsenation Offset Yarmuth
16 End the OCO Budget Gimmick Lee
17 Improve and Protect Water Infrastructure Lujan Grisham
18 Improve Economic Opportunity by Funding Worker Education and Training Moulton
21 Improve the Economy and Create Jobs in Areas with High Poverty, Unemployment, Food Insecurity, Homelessness, and Foreclosure Rates DelBene
22 Combat Climate Change Wasserman Schultz
23 Improve Access to Higher Education Boyle
24 Fully Fund Diplomatic and Foreign Aid Operations Khanna
25 Ensuring an Accurate Decennial Census Count Jayapal
26 Reject Cuts to Veterans' Benefits and Reject Privatization of Veterans' Health Care Carbajal
27 Fully Fund the Investigation of Russia Interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election Jackson Lee
28 Reduce Prescription Drug Costs for All Americans Schakowsky

 


Reject Trumpcare

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Schakowsky)

This amendment rejects the Republican budget’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and make deep cuts to Medicaid. The Congressional Budget Office estimated in 2017 that the House-passed repeal bill would drastically raise costs for older and low-income adults, cause millions of Americans to become uninsured, and effectively remove protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Though their effort to outright repeal the ACA failed last year, Republicans and the Trump Administration have repeatedly taken actions aimed at sabotaging the Marketplace and reversing the historic coverage gains made under the law.

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Protect Medicaid

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Jackson Lee)

This amendment rejects policies that would lead to roughly $1 trillion in cuts to Medicaid over ten years. The policies driving these cuts include converting Medicaid to a per-capita cap or block grant, effectively ending the Medicaid eligibility expansion under the ACA, and imposing work requirements on beneficiaries. Reductions in federal funding for Medicaid will ultimately fall on seniors in nursing homes, children with disabilities, and working families as cash-strapped states look to reduce services or drop people from coverage altogether. This amendment accommodates this necessary level of Medicaid funding by partially reversing tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations enacted in P.L. 115-97.

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Protect Nutrition Assistance

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. DelBene)

This amendment protects the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by ensuring it retains its current structure and continues to play a vital role in helping vulnerable Americans combat food insecurity. The current structure allows the program to automatically expand as needs increase, ensuring millions of Americans, especially children and seniors, do not go hungry. The cost of this SNAP funding level is paid for by partially reversing the tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations enacted in P.L. 115‑97.

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Adopt Comprehensive Immigration Reform and Protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Recipients

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Jayapal)

This amendment provides for comprehensive immigration reform, like the Dream Act of 2017 (H.R. 344) and the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) proposed by House Democrats during the 113th Congress. Immigration reform will bring clear and just rules for those seeking citizenship and help secure our borders, all while boosting the economy, extending Social Security solvency, and reducing budget deficits. The Dream Act is a bipartisan bill that would provide legal protections for undocumented immigrants brought here as children.

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Provide Funding for Proven Anti-Poverty Programs

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Lee)

This amendment restores funding for critical and proven anti-poverty programs. The programs restored by this amendment ensure all Americans have access to basic standards of living like food, housing, and education. This funding protects individuals unable to work such as seniors and persons with disabilities, while investing in job training and removing barriers to economic opportunity. The cost of funding these programs is paid for by reversing the tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations enacted in P.L. 115‑97.

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Protect Medicare

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Boyle)

This amendment rejects policies that would eliminate Medicare’s guarantee of a defined set of health insurance benefits for seniors and people with disabilities; establish a Medicare voucher or premium support plan that provides limited payments to Medicare beneficiaries; increase costs for seniors or persons with disabilities; raise the eligibility age; or weaken the traditional Medicare program.

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Protect Social Security Benefits

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Wasserman Schultz)

This amendment rejects any cuts in Social Security benefits. Social Security ensures that millions of older Americans can retire and live with dignity, and this amendment affirms the ongoing importance of Social Security and expresses Congress’s intent to protect retirees and other beneficiaries. 

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Close the Carried Interest Loophole

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Yarmuth)

This amendment supports ending the “carried interest” loophole, which unfairly benefits wealthy asset managers by allowing them to claim their compensation as capital gains and pay lower taxes. The loophole allows certain asset managers at private equity firms to categorize the compensation they receive for services they provide as capital gains, which are taxed at no more than a 20 percent rate. This rate is substantially lower than the rate they would pay if their compensation was categorized as ordinary income. The top individual income tax rate is 37 percent. This amendment supports ending the unfair tax giveaway to wealthy asset managers by treating their compensation as regular income just like all other working Americans.

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Protect Americans from Gun Violence

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Moulton)

This amendment provides an additional $75 million is mandatory funding for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals and others prohibited by law from possessing firearms. The additional NICS funding is paid for by partially reversing tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations enacted in P.L. 115-97.

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Improve the Earned Income Tax Credit

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Khanna)

This amendment enhances the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), including expanding benefits for workers without children and for non-custodial parents. The EITC is one of the most pro-work, pro-family programs administered by the federal government. Both Republican and Democratic presidents have signed into law increases in EITC benefits. Enhancements to the EITC are paid for by partially reversing tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations enacted in P.L. 115-97.

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Invest in America's Future

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Higgins)

This amendment provides $1 trillion for a strong infrastructure initiative, reversing our nationwide infrastructure investment shortfall. Additional investments in highways, transit systems, bridges, rail, aviation, harbors, seaports, inland waterway systems, broadband, water, energy, telecommunications, and other infrastructure will help fuel future economic growth. 

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Reject Cuts to America's Transportation Infrastructure

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Carbajal)

This amendment rejects a $116 billion cut in future highway and transit spending through the Highway Trust Fund that is assumed in the GOP resolution.  The President and many Republicans in Congress claim to be seeking ways to significantly increase infrastructure investment, yet the Republican budget actually cuts future spending through the Highway Trust Fund.

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Keep Families Together

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Lujan Grisham)

This amendment supports keeping families together by preventing taxpayer dollars from being spent enforcing President Trump’s cruel and inhumane policy of separating children from their parents at the border.

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Repeal the State and Local Tax Deduction Cap

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Jeffries)

This amendment provides for elimination of the $10,000 cap for the itemized deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) on federal individual income tax returns. The SALT deduction cap weakens states’ and localities’ ability to raise taxes on high-income residents and undermines the progressivity of state and local tax systems. This amendment protects states’ and localities’ ability to finance crucial programs and services for their residents. The cost of eliminating the SALT deduction cap is paid for by partially reversing the tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations enacted in P.L. 115-97.

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Repeal the Survivor Benefit Plan/Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Offset

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Yarmuth)

This amendment ensures all surviving military spouses receive full survivor annuities under the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) without any reduction to offset the receipt of veterans Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). The survivors of military servicemembers who gave their lives for the nation deserve fair treatment and full receipt of their SBP benefits. When servicemembers die while serving our nation, DIC should be paid in addition to the SBP benefits. The cost of providing full SBP benefits is paid for by reversing less than one percent of the GOP tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations enacted in P.L. 115‑97.

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End the OCO Budget Gimmick

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Lee)

This amendment ends the use of the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) designation as a backdoor loophole to circumvent funding caps.  The OCO gimmick obfuscates the true cost of regular government operations, disincentivizes tradeoffs in the budget, and inhibits long-term planning. In short, it is bad budgeting.

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Improve and Protect Water Infrastructure

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Lujan Grisham)

This amendment builds and safeguards water infrastructure in the U.S. by creating a $10 billion fund for water infrastructure needs. Water infrastructure is key to both national and economic security, and this amendment promotes additional investment to construct, improve, and protect these critical resources. The cost of this fund is paid for by partially reversing tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations enacted in P.L. 115-97.

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Improve Economic Opportunity by Funding Worker Education and Training

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Moulton)

This amendment funds a pilot program that will help retrain workers for 21st century jobs, like the America at Work Act would create.  Automation and worker displacement are redefining the nature of work in America.  This amendment will help workers become lifelong learners, able to adapt to changing jobs and the associated skills needed to perform them. The cost of this program is paid for by partially reversing tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations enacted in P.L. 115-97.

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Improve the Economy and Create Jobs in Areas with High Poverty, Unemployment, Food Insecurity, Homelessness, and Foreclosure Rates

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. DelBene)

This amendment supports efforts to improve the economy and create jobs in areas of the country that are struggling, including tribal communities.  Investments in these communities are critical to providing economic opportunity. The cost of funding these investments is paid for by partially reversing the tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations enacted in P.L. 115‑97.

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Combat Climate Change

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Wasserman Schultz)

This amendment reclaims American leadership on climate change. It reaffirms our commitment to the Paris Agreement, demands adequate funding for federal research and greenhouse gas reduction, and helps cities and states in their efforts to reduce the looming danger of a warming planet. The amendment also calls on the Administration to stop taking actions that make this growing national security threat worse.

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Improve Access to Higher Education

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Boyle)

This amendment reverses the harmful cuts to financial aid programs proposed in the Republican budget resolution.  It also increases the maximum Pell Grant award by $500 and indexes its value to inflation. The Pell Grant program is the primary federal aid program that helps low-income students pay for college and remains the cornerstone for funding higher education for these families.  After years of declining purchasing power, this amendment increases the value of the Pell Grant, ensuring future academic and economic success for the millions of Americans who rely on federal grants to attend and complete higher education. The cost of this amendment is paid for by partially reversing tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations enacted in P.L. 115-97.

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Fully Fund Diplomatic and Foreign Aid Operations

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Khanna)

This amendment recognizes that national security depends on more than military spending and ineffective border walls. It supports full funding of diplomatic and foreign aid operations, critical components of our national security that facilitate stability around the world. These programs help address the root causes of extremism and engender goodwill around the world by responding to humanitarian crises. More than 150 former admirals and generals called on Congress to support these activities, saying they are “critical to keeping America safe.”

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Ensuring an Accurate Decennial Census Count

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Jayapal)

This amendment ensures that the 2020 Census is a complete, fair, and accurate count of the population. To achieve this goal, the Census must eliminate a question that asks households about citizenship, Congress must fully fund every year of the Census, and Congress must conduct rigorous oversight of the Census Bureau in the lead-up to the 2020 Census.

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Reject Cuts to Veterans' Benefits and Reject Privatization of Veterans' Health Care

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Carbajal)

This amendment fully funds veterans’ mandatory programs, which include veterans’ disability compensation, pensions and education benefits. Providing veterans timely access to quality health care and other benefits has been an ongoing challenge for the VA, and assuring adequate funding is critical for meeting this challenge. The amendment adds $59 billion in mandatory funding to reject Republican cuts, paid for by partially reversing the tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations enacted in P.L. 115 97. It also rejects efforts to privatize veterans’ health care that would compromise the VA health care system and the highly specialized care it provides to treat service-connected illnesses and injuries. 

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Fully Fund the Investigation of Russia Interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Jackson Lee)

This amendment supports full funding of the Special Counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. 2016 presidential election.  Uncovering the extent of Russian interference in our election, including any collusion, is the first step in restoring the public’s trust in our electoral system and preventing our adversaries from interfering in the future.

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Reduce Prescription Drug Costs for All Americans

(Lead Sponsor: Rep. Schakowsky)

This amendment endorses the principle of building on the Affordable Care Act to improve access to, and affordability of, prescription drugs for all Americans. This amendment seeks to hold the health care industry accountable for the prices that consumers and federal programs pay for critical medications, while providing appropriate incentives to promote pharmaceutical innovation that can lead to new cures and more effective treatments.

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