Yesterday night the Senate passed their FY 2018 budget resolution with a 51-49 vote. What comes next could have a big impact on our community, and will require us to once again ramp up our advocacy efforts. That’s because the main goal for this year’s budget is to set the stage for a major tax cut bill, which will increase the deficit and lead to dangerous cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and other programs our lives and independence rely on.
The Senate budget resolution is a plan – not a law – so the budget itself doesn’t make changes to funding or the tax code. Rather, the budget resolution provides instructions that pave the way for Congress to pass their tax cut legislation using the reconciliation process, meaning it will only require a simple majority of votes. We’ve seen the GOP’s tax reform priorities (link below), and it’s clear that the Senate intends to use this process to pass tax cut legislation that will benefit the wealthy and profitable corporations while significantly increasing the federal deficit and negatively impacting everyone else.
Tax cuts don’t pay for themselves. The budget resolution will increase the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion, and it assumes over $5 trillion in cuts to services over the next decade. With numbers like these, no programs are safe. Congress has shown us time and again that they are intent on slashing Medicaid, and unsurprisingly, their tax plan will provide them with the opportunity to do just that. The Senate budget calls for trillions of dollars in cuts to mandatory programs (which includes programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security). Much of the remainder will come from non-defense discretionary funding, which includes other programs we rely on like the Independent Living Program, housing assistance, and education. If this tax plan becomes law, people with disabilities, poor people, and other marginalized communities will be significantly harmed, while wealthy people and corporations reap the benefits.
Late-night changes to the budget resolution were intended to reconcile the Senate and House budgets, and the House is expected to vote on and pass the same budget next week. That said, the budget is just the first step. Our goal is to stop the tax bill that will lead to cuts to the programs people with disabilities need.
We will continue to monitor these efforts as they progress. We’ll continue to follow progress on the tax bill as well as appropriations, and we will keep you informed of any new developments. One thing is for sure: a plan that will result in trillions of dollars in cuts to the programs we rely on is not good for our country. But the disability community has demonstrated that we are powerful, and together, we will work to stop this.
For additional information:
• Senate FY 2018 Budget Resolution (PDF)
• Senate Resources on the Budget Resolution
• Tax Reform Framework (PDF) from the Trump Administration, the House Committee on Ways and Means, and the Senate Committee on Finance