With just a week before the end of the fiscal year, extreme House Republicans are playing partisan games with peoples’ lives and marching our country toward a government shutdown instead of working in a bipartisan manner to keep the government open and address emergency needs for the American people.
The continuing resolution the House Republicans introduced this week makes indiscriminate cuts to programs that millions of hardworking Americans count on—violating the agreement the Speaker negotiated with President Biden and rejecting the bipartisan approach of the Senate. House Republicans have made clear that these cuts are designed to force longer-term cuts, in-line with their extreme and damaging appropriations bills. So what would it mean for the American people if House Republicans’ proposed 8% cuts were extended for the entire year?
IMPACTS OF HOUSE REPUBLICANS’ EXTREME CR:
800 fewer Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents and officers
50,000 pounds of cocaine, more than 300 pounds of fentanyl, more than 700 pounds of heroin, and more than 6,000 pounds of methamphetamine let into our country due to cuts to CBP
110,000 children would lose access to Head Start slots
65,000 children would lose access to childcare
60,000 seniors would be robbed of nutrition services like Meals on Wheels
2.1 million women, infants, and children would be waitlisted for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
Up to 40,000 fewer teachers, aides, or other key staff across the country, affecting 26 million students in schools that teach low-income students and 7.5 million students with disabilities
Nearly 70 fewer Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents, who are often some of the first federal law enforcement on the scene of a mass shooting to help local law enforcement identify at-large shooters—and 13 furlough days for ATF’s entire workforce
4,000 fewer rail safety inspection days next year alone, with nearly 11,000 fewer miles of track inspected annually—enough track to cross the United States more than 3 times
145 fewer members of local law enforcement due to cuts at the Department of Justice
Nearly 300,000 households—including 20,000 veterans and 90,000 seniors—would lose housing choice vouchers, putting them at greater risk of homelessness
A roughly $500 reduction to the maximum Pell Grant for 6.6 million students
4,000 fewer FBI personnel, including agents who investigate crimes
250,000 American workers would be denied job training and employment services—resulting in 35,000 fewer workers gaining the opportunity of a Registered Apprenticeship
50,000 workers would lose an average of $1,000 in back wages they are owed
People applying for disability benefits would have to wait 2 months longer
House Republicans’ are proposing appropriations bills would raise a host of costs for families, hurt students, seniors, and rural communities, slash support for law enforcement, and undermine our economy—while Congressional Republicans fight separately for multi-millionaires and big corporations to get massive tax cuts. Basically going back on the deal that was negotiated just months ago, with Biden saved the nation from its first ever credit default, they are now using extortion, threatening a government shutdown, if they don’t get these cuts, along with policy changes to undermine women’s rights. This fact sheet from the White House details the impacts on individual states.–Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Earlier this year, the President and Congressional leaders reached a bipartisan budget agreement that averted a first-ever default and protected our historic economic progress. The President, House Democrats, Senate Democrats, and Senate Republicans all stand by this promise. Unfortunately, Speaker McCarthy and House Republicans are ignoring the bipartisan budget agreement they passed and instead advancing extreme, partisan appropriations bills that break their public promise and gut key investments in the American people.
House Republicans claim these cuts are about fiscal responsibility—but they aren’t. Not only would their bills add at least $100 billion to deficits over 10 years by making it easier for the wealthy and big corporations to cheat on their taxes, but House Republicans are separately pushing corporate tax giveaways that would cost over $500 billion if made permanent—including at least $30 billion in retroactive tax breaks for investments companies made last year. These retroactive tax cuts alone would erase the savings from their deep cuts to education, health, and labor programs.1
Today, the Office of Management and Budget released 51 fact sheets highlighting the devastating impacts of these extreme cuts on states and the District of Columbia. Below are some of the most harmful elements of House Republicans’ appropriations bills that they will begin to consider this week.
The cuts in the House appropriations bills would:
Slash Funding for Schools with Low-Income Students: House Republicans’ 80 percent cut to Title I funding would impact 26 million students in schools that teach low-income students by forcing a reduction of up to 226,000 teachers, aides or other key staff.
Eliminate Tens of Thousands of Preschool Slots: House Republicans’ cut to Head Start would mean as many as 82,000 children would lose access to high-quality preschool—undermining their education, leaving fewer children ready to enter kindergarten ready to learn, and making it more difficult for parents to join the workforce.
Slash Funding for Law Enforcement: The proposed cut to the FBI would eliminate up to 1,850 personnel, including up to 673 agents, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would be forced to eliminate approximately 400 positions, including more than 200 agents. The House bill also cuts funding for U.S. Attorneys by roughly 12 percent, which would eliminate approximately 1,400 positions.
Raise Housing Costs for Tens of Thousands: The proposed cuts would raise housing costs by eliminating funding for Housing Choice Vouchers for 20,000 households, including approximately 6,000 households headed by seniors. In addition, a nearly 70 percent cut to the HOME Investment Partnerships Program would result in 20,000 fewer affordable homes being constructed, rehabbed, or purchased in communities across the country.
Slash Critical Job Training and Workforce Development Programs: The proposal would result in half a million fewer people receiving job training and employment services. These harmful cuts would deprive businesses of the skilled workforce they need to thrive, and would cut off workers’ pathways to good jobs.
Undermine Critical Health Research: House Republicans’ cuts would undermine critical research efforts to find treatments and cures for diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s by cutting $3.8 billion for the National Institutes of Health. They would also eliminate funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which would end the Long COVID research at the agency and delay other priority health services research.
In addition to demanding these draconian cuts, House Republicans are also fighting to rescind vital funding that is helping make our tax code fairer, rebuilding America’s infrastructure, lowering costs for families, and tackling the climate crisis. Their proposals would:
Increase Risks of Lead Exposure: The proposal would rescind over $564 million in funding for programs that mitigate housing-related risks of lead poisoning and other illnesses and hazards to lower income families, especially children, resulting in 55,000 fewer homes safe of hazards and adversely impacting approximately 78,000 children.
Protect Wealthy Tax Cheats: While House Republicans separately lay the groundwork for more than $3 trillion in tax cuts skewed to the wealthy and big corporations, they are also fighting to make it easier for wealthy tax cheats to avoid paying what they owe—proposing to rescind $67 billion dollars in funding for the IRS enacted in the Inflation Reduction Act, which would increase the deficit by more than $100 billion.
Increase Energy Costs for Rural Americans: Rescinding $2 billion in funding provided by the Inflation Reduction Act for programs at USDA would undermine programs that help agricultural producers and rural small businesses convert to renewable energy systems, and that help rural Americans to build clean, affordable, and reliable energy by working with approximately 900 electric cooperatives in 47 States.
Shortchange Home Electrification Projects: Rescinding $4.5 billion in funding provided by the Inflation Reduction Act for the High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Program would impact at least 250,000 home electrification and appliance upgrade projects in low- and medium-income homes across all States, territories, and tribes.
Undermine Clean Technology Investments and Pollution Reduction: Rescinding $20 billion in funding provided by the Inflation Reduction Act for programs at EPA would take away funds designed to help communities access grant opportunities to reduce pollution and mobilize private capital into clean technology projects, especially in low-income and disadvantaged communities. These programs will spur investment in clean technology projects and expand economic opportunities in communities, helping to cut harmful pollution and protect people’s health while tackling the climate crisis.
Slash Support for Teachers: Rescinding $1.7 billion—or 77 percent—in the Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants (Title II) program would severely undermine the program’s ability to improve the effectiveness of teachers in the classroom.
A deal is a deal. The President and the Speaker already made a bipartisan budget agreement—one that would result in $1 trillion of deficit reduction over the next decade. Every party to that agreement except House Republicans—House Democrats, Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans, and President Biden—are honoring their word. It is a balanced deal that protects critical investments while ensuring fiscal responsibility. We urge House Republicans to follow the law they helped enact and the Senate’s bipartisan approach to funding the government according to the deal.
Judging by the Women’s Marches – 280 of them around the country that drew 2 million activists on behalf of women’s reproductive freedom, health care, workers rights, DACA, climate, gun control – the Democrats were headed for a rout in 2018.
Now, pundits are questioning whether the government shutdown – and then the capitulation by Democrats – will jeopardize the Democrats’ chances of taking back the Senate and even the House.
And sure enough, the Republicans have proved yet again they are so much better at message manipulation – the signature talent of every autocracy.
It is a curious thing because the 2013 government shutdown, forced by Republicans who held Obamacare hostage and the many instances of Republicans coming to the brink of endangering the full faith and credit of the United States by threatening the debt ceiling, nonetheless won victories in the 2014 midterms, even taking over the Senate.
But it is different for Republicans who want to tear down government, and Democrats, who actually believe that government can be and should be a force for good.
But what did the Republicans actually win besides the message game? A few days reprieve? When instead the government shutdown over a failure to follow through on the deal to reauthorize DACA so clearly demonstrated the dysfunction, dishonesty, bad faith and sheer cruelty of Republican domination?
And is it wise for Trump to crow that Schumer “caved,” for Pence to go to the Middle East and lambast the Democrats as enemies of our soldiers, for the OMB Director Mike Mulvaney to mimic the phrase being hyped by Russian bots, #SchumerShutdown, and the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee to show glee that Schumer is “feeling the heat from the left, with #SchumerSellout trending on social media and Democrats who supported reopening the government are being branded as traitors”?
And how cynical is it for Trump to issue a reelection campaign ad blaming Democrats in advance if anyone is murdered by an illegal immigrant, yet taking no responsibility at all for 33,000 gun deaths a year (a woman is shot and killed by a current or former partner every 16 hours. 10 kids and teens are killed each month in unintentional shootings) and the ease with which terrorists can buy guns because of Republicans’ refusal to adopt reasonable gun control measures?
After all, this is yet another temporary spending measure, which Democrats and some Republicans have decried as no way to run a $4 trillion government since the military, municipalities and agencies can’t do long-range planning or contracts, and we will be right back here on Feb. 8. Fool me once….
Schumer and the Democrats really had no choice but to withhold the votes needed for cloture (the filibuster) which triggered the shutdown, and no choice in coming to this temporary arrangement to reopen government.
Let’s be reminded though: it’s not Democrats who caused the shutdown – five Republicans voted against the CR while five Democrats voted with the Republicans (by modern standards, that’s called “bipartisan”).
Indeed, Trump was rooting for a government shutdown. “The country needs a good shutdown” he said months ago, and referred to this shutdown as “a nice present” –because he believed Democrats would be blamed and weakened and (cherry on the cake) hoped it would get Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to trigger the “nuclear option” and end the 60-vote threshold for cloture (the filibuster) so that Republicans could rule without any Democratic input whatsoever.
But for the entire first year of the Trump nightmare when Republicans were in full control of all the levers of government, they chose to rule as if a monarchy, shutting out Democrats entirely, and manipulating votes so that they only needed 50 instead of 60 – on several occasions, needing the Vice President’s vote to get to 51 to pass legislation opposed by large majorities of Americans. The only mechanism for Democrats to have any say whatsoever, and get CHIP and DACA reauthorized was to withhold their votes on the short-term spending bill.
For decades, now (when Democrats are in the White House), “populists” have been decrying the dysfunction in Washington, looking to demagogic characters from outside Washington (they are only “outside” until they are “inside”) to break the logjam and get things done. That’s what many Trump voters said they liked about Trump. They fell for his con: he isn’t disruptive, he’s destructively dysfunctional.
But look to the source of the dysfunction: it goes back to Newt Gingrich and the “Contract for America” ( “Contract on America” is more apt) – 1994 was the first time the Republicans used a shutdown as extortion. And it goes back to the Hastert Rule, named for the pedophile who was the longest-serving Speaker of the House, that bars the Republicans from passing any legislation that is not supported by the majority of Republicans, rather than the majority of the House or the American people, a tough thing to do with the Tea Party fringe and now the Trumpers.
It is because of the Hastert Rule that we do not have affordable health care, sensible gun violence prevention, immigration reform, campaign finance reform, environmental protection – all supported by huge majorities of Americans – and a tax code and federal budget that help uplift people rather than steer this country to unsustainable income inequality that is so dangerous for a democracy.
Add to that the end of earmarks – championed by none other than Senator John McCain who felt they were the source of corruption in Congress – and you have no bargaining chips whatsoever to forge a compromise. (Trump wants to bring back earmarks, so he can turn a $1 trillion infrastructure plan into a political slush fund.)
But Democrats – or rather the extreme left wing championed by Bernie Sanders – seem determined to shoot themselves in the foot, and instead of cheering Schumer for getting 12 Republican Senators to pledge to take up legislation to protect DACA recipients before Feb. 8, they blasted him for capitulating.
Really, what was Schumer supposed to do? Republicans were weaponizing the government shutdown, rather than being embarrassed that Trump, The Greatest Dealmaker in the History of the World, was shown to be an emperor with no clothes (he fidgeted while the capital burned) with no actual grasp of policy or long-term impacts so that he could be swayed and steered by the most virulent, anti-immigrant advisers (Steven Miller and John Kelly), and the Republicans being shown as being incapable of governing on behalf of the people instead of just their donors (the 1%).
Now it is likely that no matter how the Senate is reminded they are supposed to be an institution based on compromise and rational deliberation – and that Congress should realize it doesn’t have to wait for Trump at all, but pass reasonable legislation on its own – my prediction is that Speaker Paul Ryan in the House will kill any DACA legislation or any immigration legislation as he did in 2013, tabling Comprehensive Immigration Reform that passed the Senate by a significant majority.
Or that Steve King, Tom Cotton, Steve Miller and John Kelly will come up with something so draconian – legalizing the Gestapo-like roundup and deportations of 11 million undocumented immigrants, throwing out green card holders, shutting borders to refugees and severely curtailing legal immigration for anyone but white people with money to invest in Trump properties – that Democrats won’t be able to vote for it. Ha ha, the irony.
But my money is on the Women’s Movement – no longer a march, but ongoing activism that will result in a major voter registration drive, record number of women running for elected office (390 for House, 49 for Senate, as many as 16,000 for state and local offices), and to get out the vote in the 2018 midterms. #PowertothePolls.
It was very important to the Trump Administration to dampen any victory dance the Democrats might be doing in terms of the budget deal that forestalled a government shutdown. Demonstrating so clearly that it the aim is to insure widening partisanship and hostility, this morning, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said during a briefing call to clarify what is in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017.
The budget deal averting a government shutdown proves Trump’s leadership, Mulvaney said. Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Trump said a government shutdown in September would be a good thing to “end the mess” that is Congress, unless the Republicans end the filibuster that gives the minority party any say whatsoever.
This comes as Trump heaps praise and admiration on autocrats, dictators and plutocrats, like cheering Erdogan’s sweeping powers won in a tainted referendum in Turkey; North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, who, Trump said, he admired for consolidating his power at the young age of 26 or 27 (by assassinating his relatives), Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who is responsible for some 10,000 extrajudicial killings, and of course Vlad Putin, who he admires as a strong leader (who has assassinated opponents and journalists).
Meanwhile, it was very important to Trump that Democrats not be shown as winning anything in the budget deal that averted a shutdown.
“Democrats are trying to take a win,” Mulvaney said in the briefing call. “The American people won and the president negotiated that victory for them. They know the truth of what’s in the bill. They know the deal the president cut. Some are scared to death knowing what’s in the bill.”
The briefing lasted but a few minutes because the Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight couldn’t manage shutting off patriotic music – starting with Stars & Stripes Forever and moving to “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy,” like the soundtrack to a July 4 fireworks show, that grew in volume and overwhelmed the call.
Mulvaney didn’t want to take many questions anyway, but during the 10 minute ramble, made sure everyone knew that the budget deal was a big win for the President, and a defeat for Democrats who wanted a government shutdown in order to show Trump couldn’t lead. The deal denied the Dems that.
Most importantly, he noted, the deal broke the parity deal that Obama had brokered when Republicans threatened to shut down government over the budget: that every dollar increase or cut in defense had to be matched with a dollar increase for domestic programs.
This deal allocates $4 to $5 for defense versus every $1 increase for domestic programs – in all, $21 billion more for defense. Mulvaney is very proud of that.
Also, $1.522 billion more for the Department of Homeland Security, for border security, on top of $18.5 billion, “the largest overall increase in DHS in last 10 years.”
As for the wall – because Democrats are hailing the fact that not a dollar in the budget is allocated to build the wall that Mexico was going to pay for.
What can/cannot be done, Mulvaney said, would be shown during a 1:30 press briefing, but suggested that the money the administration has gotten out of the budget, will go toward the border, whether a real or virtual wall, “in terms of the boundary between the US and Mexico.
“We’re looking at tremendous increases in technology along the border, maintenance, replacing gates and bridges – part of reason Obama administration had difficulty, the infrastructure not there – will move immediately.”
And what was spent on domestic programs – like preserving health care for miners – were on Trump’s list anyway.
And school choice – the budget provides for three years authorization.
“More money for defense, border security, education – the same things as we introduced in March – those were priorities of incoming administration,” he boasted.
Mulvaney is very proud of what the Democrats didn’t get, like not getting renewed tax credits for renewable energy – wind and solar. He’s very proud.
He deflected Democrats’ victory dance over saving funding for Planned Parenthood, noting that Trump “already signed an Executive Order allowing states not to fund clinics that deal with abortion, and defunded Planned Parenthood as part of the health care bill. Make no mistake, this administration is committed to pro-life – at every turn we fight the pro-life battle. This budget agreement stays true to that.”
He’s proud that there is no Obamacare bailout in the budget agreement.
“Democrats are claiming they got that. It’s not in the bill. Nothing in this bill obligates us to make any Obamacare payments. We’ve had several talks with folks on the hill [about defunding Obamacare] – there are no commitments in this bill.”
He’s also very proud that there is no new money for Puerto Rico. Democrats, he said, “wanted a bunch to bail out Puerto Rico.” The only money for Puerto Rico are the unexpended funds from the previous bill. “There is no new money for Puerto Rico, no bailout, no additions to the deficit.
And Democrats “failed miserably to turn back Second Amendment protections,” he crowed.
“What Democrats didn’t get – what many of them, many of their base – they wanted a shutdown, to make this president look like he couldn’t govern, didn’t know what he is doing, and he beat them at the highest level,” he said with a spiteful tone. “They wanted to make him seem not reasonable. Government is functioning. He is proving he can bring this town together – lead in a sound fashion. That scares many. It’s why they are overreacting and claiming victory.
“Democrats can take credit, but they didn’t get a penny for any one of their pet projects.”
Despite what Mulvaney said about how avoiding a government shutdown demonstrated Trump’s leadership, Trump earlier that morning had opined that a government shutdown in September would be a good thing, to fix what he called a “mess” in Congress, and also called for the Senate to end the filibuster so that the Republicans could sweep their agenda through.
In two successive tweets, Trump stated, “The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there! We…. either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good “shutdown” in September to fix mess!”