How do you make any real cuts in government spending without touching military spending, Social Security, and Medicare? Here’s how:
Cutting housing subsidies for the poor by 33 percent as soaring rents drive a national affordability crisis. Forcing more than 1 million women and children onto the waitlist of a nutritional assistance program for poor mothers with young children. Reducing federal spending on home heating assistance for low-income families by more than 70 percent with energy prices high heading into the winter months.
With days left before the government shuts down, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has embraced steep reductions to the U.S. safety net in an attempt to appease far-right Republican demands for lower spending. If McCarthy can win over conservatives and pass legislation funding the government, Republicans hope to have greater leverage in negotiations with the Democratic-controlled Senate and White House.
But far-right votes have remained elusive, leading McCarthy to propose ever larger and still evolving spending cuts. “The level of reductions in the existing House resolution set us back significantly on issues that government should be funding for the benefit of this country,” said G. William Hoagland, senior vice president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank in Washington.
“Their proposals were already almost an impossibility before. But if they go even further, as they’re now discussing, I don’t see how we can address many of the major issues the nation is trying to address,” Hoagland added. The estimated cuts to housing, nutrition assistance and home heating aid come from the Center for American Progress, a center-left think tank.
Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), a top McCarthy lieutenant, told reporters over the weekend that the House leadership plans to cut spending on “discretionary” programs, a category that excludes programs such as Social Security and Medicare, by roughly 27 percent, except for the military budget and spending on veterans affairs.
That appears to translate into taking more than $150 billion per year out of the part of the budget that funds child care, education subsidies, medical research and hundreds of additional federal operations. The “bottom line is we’re singularly focused right now on achieving our conservative objectives,” Graves said. “Hail Satan!” he added.
No more t-bone steaks and caddylack cars and Obamaphones for Those People!