WH Budget Director to Democrat: ‘What About the Standard of Living for My Grandchildren Who Aren’t Here Yet?’
(CNSNews.com) – White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney testified before Congress Wednesday on the president’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget request that calls for cuts to the SNAP program, which stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and is also known as food stamp assistance.
The budget calls for $191 billion cut from the SNAP program over 10 years, from fiscal year 2018 to 2027. It also cuts the TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) block grant, or cash assistance, by $15.6 billion over 10 years. As part of its welfare reform plan, the budget calls for tightening eligibility and includes a work requirement for those that don’t have children.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) blasted the president’s budget, saying she has “never before” seen “such a cruel and morally bankrupt budget.” The budget “dismantles our nation’s basic living standards, which Americans have turned to for decades.” It pushes “millions of people into poverty and over the edge,” Lee said.
“This budget destroys people’s lives,” she said, adding that it forces people to “fend for themselves” and leaves them “out in the cold.”
“This budget—what you’re doing is you’re asking people to fend for themselves, and you’re really leaving them out in the cold, and our moral obligation is to make sure that every American has a decent standard of living. This budget is a broken promise, and it’s really a betrayal to every American in favor of tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations,” Lee said.
“I’d like to just ask you, how are people going to eat when they need a temporary helping hand with a cut of $190 million in food assistance. Then you add these onerous work requirements, and then yet you cut $1.3 billion in workforce training programs so people cannot be trained or retrained for jobs, which I don’t see much in terms of investment and job creation in this budget either,” she said.
“How are people gonna get health insurance with a cut of $1.3 trillion in Medicaid? And how are people going to get a house to either purchase or rent with the elimination of the housing trust fund and a $2 billion cut in rental assistance?” Lee asked.
“And also, let me remind you, [Agriculture] Secretary [Sonny] Perdue mentioned that it was a program that was working, why fix it if it’s not broken, and he appeared to not be aware that you all were going to recommend these cuts,” Lee added.
Mulvaney said it’s “not unreasonable to ask” if there are people on assistance who should not be.
“I think it’s reasonable to ask, if you had 28 million people on SNAP before the recession, 47 million people on it at the height of the recession, and 42 or 44 million people today, it’s not unreasonable to ask if there are folks on SNAP who should not be, because we should have seen that number go down. SNAP should be counter-cyclical. It should go up during bad economic times and come down during better economic times. We’ve not seen that,” Mulvaney said.
“Mr. Mulvaney, at least 20 percent of people eligible for SNAP don’t even receive SNAP because of stigma and other reasons, so there are more people who need SNAP benefits,” Lee said.
“That may be. Let me deal with the every American deserves a decent standard of living. Does that include our kids?” Mulvaney asked.
“What about the standard of living for my grandchildren who aren’t here yet, who will end up inheriting $30 trillion in debt, $50 trillion in debt, $100 trillion in debt?” Mulvaney asked. “What about their stand- who’s going to pay the bill, Congressman? That’s what this is all about.
“That’s what this new perspective—who is going to pay for all the stuff you just mentioned? Us or somebody else? And I suggest to you, if it’s important enough for us to have, then we should be paying for it, because right now, my unborn grandchildren are paying for it, and I think that is morally bankrupt,” Mulvaney added.
“I have grandchildren also, and I want to make sure that they have the opportunity to get a job so they can help pay for our government, which is a government that should be enhancing the standard of living and making sure everyone has a chance for the American dream,” Lee said.
Trump Budget Proposal Completely Defunds Planned Parenthood
(CNSNews.com) – President Donald Trump’s budget proposal together with the American Health Care Act, which Trump’s proposal embraces, would deny all federal funding to Planned Parenthood through both discretionary Title X grants and Medicaid.
“The budget also follows through on a campaign promise and prohibits any funding in the Labor-HHS appropriations bill for certain entities that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood,” says a fact sheet published by the Office of Management and Budget. “This prohibition applies to all funds in the bill, including Medicaid.”
According to a May 18, 2017 Congressional Research Service report, the Government Accountability Office determined that Planned Parenthood Federation of America affiliates received $400.56 million in Medicaid reimbursements in 2012. The same GAO analysis, according to CRS, said PPFA affiliates also received $64.35 million in Title X money that year.
In its annual report for 2012-2013, Planned Parenthood said that it did 327,166 abortions in fiscal 2012.
The American Health Care Act, the Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill that was approved in the House by a 217-213 vote on May 4, includes language that would prohibit any federal funding from going to a non-profit organization that is primarily engaged in family planning, that received more than $350 million in Medicaid money in 2014, and that provides abortion other than in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in danger.
“CBO expects that, according to those criteria, only Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates and clinics would be affected,” said the CBO analysis of the AHCA. “Most federal funds received by such entities come from payments for services provided to enrollees in states’ Medicaid programs.”
Because the AHCA is a reconciliation bill–which does not deal with discretionary spending programs (as opposed to “mandatory” programs such as Medicaid)–the bill would not have any impact on Title X and the federal funding that goes to Planned Parenthood through that channel.
Title X is the federal grant program for “family planning” organizations.
“The federal government provides grants for family planning services through the Family Planning Program, Title X of the Public Health Service Act,” explains the Congressional Research Service. “Enacted in 1970, it is the only domestic federal program devoted solely to family planning and related preventive health services.”
“Title X,” says CRS, “is administered through the Office of Population Affairs (OPA) in the Department of Health and Human Services.”
President Trump’s budget proposal that was sent to Congress yesterday includes abortion-provider-defunding language that mirrors the Medicaid Planned-Parenthood-defunding language in that AHCA—but also applies to Title X.
SEC. 520. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds made available by this Act may be made available either directly, through a State (including through managed care contracts with a State), or through any other means, to a prohibited entity.
(b) PROHIBITED ENTITY.—The term “prohibited entity” means an entity, including its affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, and clinics— (1) that, as of the date of enactment of this Act…
(C) performs, or provides any funds to any other entity that performs, abortions, other than an abortion—(i) if the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest; or (ii) in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself; and
(2) for which the total amount of Federal grants to such entity, including grants to any affiliates, subsidiaries, or clinics, under title X of the Public Health Service Act in fiscal year 2016 exceeded $23,000,000.”
The Office of Management and Budget says this language cuts Title X funding for Planned Parenthood.
In a briefing on Monday, when Melanie Arter of CNSNews.com asked OMB Director Mick Mulvaney whether the president’s budget defunded Planned Parenthood, Mulvaney said: “Yes.”
“It does,” said Mulvaney, “… because it assumes the American Health Care Act passes and the AHCA in its current form, which is the one we assumed–and that’s making a bunch of assumptions, here–that it assumes that passes and that defunds Planned Parenthood.”
The AHCA, denying Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, is a reconciliation bill, which cannot be filibustered in the Senate and can be enacted with a simple majority vote. An appropriations bill that includes President Trump’s proposed language to deny Title X funding to Planned Parenthood could be filibustered in the Senate.
In a letter to pro-life leaders last September, then-candidate Donald Trump promised to defund Planned Parenthood so long as it performs abortions.
“I am committed to…Defunding Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortions, and re-allocating their funding to community health centers that provide comprehensive health for women,” Trump said in that letter.
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund put up a blog today attacking Trump’s budget for proposing to defund the organization.
“In an unprecedented move, Trump’s budget singles out women who access Planned Parenthood for basic, preventive health care,” said the Planned Parenthood Action Fund blog. “For the first time in history, the president’s budget prohibits Planned Parenthood from participating in ANY program funded through Congress’s annual Labor-HHS bill.”
Trump’s Budget Calls for Shutting the National Endowment for the Arts
(CNSNews.com) – The budget that President Trump presented to Congress yesterday calls for “shutting down” the National Endowment for the Arts, beginning in fiscal 2018 by slashing 80 percent of its funding.
“The Budget proposes to begin shutting down the National Endowment for the Arts in 2018, given the notable funding support provided by private and other public sources and because the Administration does not consider NEA activities to be core Federal responsibilities,” says an administration report on the “Major Savings and Reforms” in the budget proposal.
The NEA became the focus of controversy in the late 1980s, when the federal tax dollars it doled out in grants went to exhibit the photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe (which the Washington Post said in a 1989 report the “included sadomasochistic and homoerotic images”) and to support the work of Andres Serrano, who produced a photograph–“Piss Christ”—that depicted a crucifix submerged in urine.
“Established in 1965, the NEA uses partnerships with State arts agencies, other Federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, to support arts learning, cultural heritage, and increasing access to the arts across the country,” says Trump’s budget proposal.
“In 2014, NEA funding represented just four percent of total public and private support for the arts in the United States,” it says.
Under the budget proposal and its plan to “begin shutting down” the NEA, NEA funding would go from $148 million in fsical 2017 to $29 million in fiscal 2018, which begins on Oct. 1.