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House Republicans unveiled their 2018 budget blueprint Tuesday which is intended to pave the way for their major rewrite of the tax code. But the only way for them to keep their tax overhaul dreams within reach for a simple party-line vote is by using the budget to slash the heck out of social safety net programs that help some of America’s neediest populations. Politico’s Sarah Ferris writes:
To unlock Congress’ power to expedite tax overhaul this year, GOP lawmakers would need to slash billions from politically sensitive programs like food stamps, student aid and federal pension funds. […]
The ambitious plan calls for $203 billion in mandatory cuts, which would mark the largest amount of deficit reduction through the budget process in two decades. And forcing Republicans to combine their already-complex push for tax reform with massive funding reductions would be a risky maneuver.
Some GOP lawmakers have
said they are worried about the potential political attacks if they’re seen as cutting programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to pay for billions in tax breaks.
Can’t imagine why they’re worried—“Tax cuts for the rich, death to the poor!” has been great messaging for their healthcare repeal debacle. Hard to see where it went so wrong.
Similar to Trump’s budget proposal, the House plan forecasts increased defense spending coupled with decreased domestic spending and relies on some rather unrealistic yearly economic growth to stay out of the red. Where the House budget differs is that it slashes Medicare and Social Security funding.
Unlike Trump’s budget, the House proposal cuts into Medicare and Social Security — entitlement programs that the president has pledged to preserve. The House plan also makes a less-rosy economic growth assumption of 2.6 percent versus the 3 percent eyed by the Trump administration. Both, however, exceed the 1.9 percent figure used by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in its most recent economic estimates.