fresh voices from the front lines of change







The House GOP has no qualms about letting the American people know they stand for the wealthy and big corporations over everyone else. Their latest budget proposal from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is bold and unapologetic in its testimony to who the Republican Party serves.

“This budget chooses to protect tax breaks and special interests at the expense of education, kids, the social safety net, and seniors,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), ranking Budget Committee member, on Thursday during a briefing on Capitol Hill. Van Hollen was joined by Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) and grassroots activists to discuss the pernicious impact of the Ryan budget on jobs, economic and health security.

The budget, misleadingly titled “The Path to Prosperity,” is a slap in the face to the American middle class. “They dramatically cut our investment in infrastructure; they cut our investment in research and development, innovation, advanced manufacturing and they’re also going to dramatically cut our investments in education.” said Van Hollen.

Specifically the budget would slash:

  • $135 billion from food stamps.

  • $791 billion from non-defense discretionary funding.

  • $52 billion for transportation funding in fiscal year 2015 alone.

  • $145 billion from educational programs, including Head Start, Pell Grants, and special education.

Congressional Republicans are zealously cutting programs that struggling Americans rely on the most so they can secure tax breaks for the wealthiest. If enacted, a middle-class family with children would see their taxes raised by an average of at least $2,000 so households with incomes over $1 million can enjoy a tax cut. Citizens for Tax Justice estimates this would save millionaires around $200,000, meaning they can “afford” to take an extra vacation, buy a third home or simply donate it all to a campaign so they can buy an elected official.

“Dropping the top marginal tax rate from 39 percent to 25 percent cannot be done in a revenue neutral way without increasing the tax burden on middle-income families,” said Van Hollen. “They’re back to fantasy land.”

The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the Ryan budget would decrease gross domestic product by 0.9 percent and cost the economy 1.1 million jobs next year. On net, “The Path to Prosperity” would decrease GDP by 2.5 percent and cause the economy to lose over 3 million jobs if the recovery remains sluggish.

So they protect folks at the top, kick struggling Americans while they’re down, and exacerbate inequality, all in the name of deficit reduction and balancing the budget. But here’s the kicker: They do neither of those.

Budgets are more than just mere numbers and arithmetic. They provide a vision for the country’s future and represent what America’s values and priorities are. House Republicans have made it loud and clear who they support.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus is on the other side of the aisle fighting for the middle class. Their budget accurately reflects the values of the nation, grows the economy, and alleviates pain and suffering for millions of American families while also reducing the deficit. We’re still signing up citizen co-sponsors for the Better Off Budget; add your name to the list of more than 31,000 people who have endorsed this budget.

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