The People’s Budget Seeks Citizen Co-Sponsors And Democratic Support

Isaiah J. Poole

The Congressional Progressive Caucus officially released its “People’s Budget: A Raise for America” today outside a chilly Capitol, as representatives of key progressive supporters stood beside Progressive Caucus co-chairs Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.).

In response, the Campaign for America’s Future launched its effort, in concert with Daily Kos and nine other progressive organizations, to sign up citizen co-sponsors for the budget. The goal is to get a majority of House Democrats to vote for the budget when it comes up for a vote next week.

“The number that you should keep in mind: 8.4 million good-paying jobs by 2018. That’s pretty good, right?” said Ellison, highlighting one of the main goals of the budget – and one of its sharpest contrasts with the House Republican budget.

The House Republican Budget will cut $5 trillion in government spending over the next decade, mostly out of programs that low- and moderate-income Americans need and depend on. At the same time, it adds $400 million in defense spending, and promises to lower tax rates for wealthy Americans and corporations. A Senate Republican budget proposal was also released today that follows the same basic outlines.

“I just have to tell you as a member of the budget and appropriations committee … that the [House GOP] budget is rigged; it slashes every initiative that was developed and formed under the War on Poverty 50 years ago,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). By contrast, “we make historic investments in housing, in food assistance, in workforce training so that the American Dream is open to everyone,” she said, while refocusing military security spending by reining in waste and the undue influence of defense contractors.

“We believe that the greatest investment and asset that we have is our people, and that is where we put our money,” Grijalva said.

The Economic Policy Institute released a paper today that said that the People’s Budget would “sharply accelerate economic and employment growth,” boosting gross domestic product by almost 4 percent within the first year. It would produce 4.7 million jobs in calendar year 2015 and an additional 3.8 million jobs over the following two years, the analysis said. An EPI analyst said that the effect would be to bring unemployment down below 4 percent.

A variety of initiatives and policy changes in the People’s Budget would ensure that the effects would “boost economic opportunity for all segments of the population,” the analysis said.

Today the Campaign for America’s Future issued this call to its supporters:

On Tuesday, the Republicans released their budget. It was even worse than expected. It seeks to balance the budget on the backs of working and poor Americans. … Congress should vote this terrible budget down. But that’s not enough. Let members of Congress know that Americans want an alternative that makes sense. Become a citizen co-sponsor of the People’s Budget introduced by the Progressive Caucus.

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