The debt-ceiling deal and the Supercommittee were unnecessary exercises in political posturing, but they were also a game with real consequences for real people. Now the House Republicans have used the opportunity to push broad and devastating cuts to federal programs.
Yesterday, House Republicans pushed through (by a 218-199 vote) a bill to override the “sequester” in the debt ceiling deal and instead cut around $240 billion from domestic programs, with big impacts for the most vulnerable. Meant to replace the (smaller) defense cuts mandated by the debt ceiling deal, this bill really shows the House GOP’s priorities: they are 100% unwilling to ask anyone for any more tax revenue and deeply uninterested in maintaining programs that help keep families afloat and healthy.
Question: Are the House Republicans pursuing this ideological crusade in defiance of public opinion? Answer: Do you even have to ask? As Jonathan Bernstein notes, either they don’t believe what the polls say about what their constituents want, or they don’t care.
Instead, let’s talk about the things that would be cut under this bill:
• The American Community Survey, a part of the census which gives the largest-scale picture available of the what and where of poverty, housing and income.
• The Community Services Block Grant, a fund that support programs for children and seniors like foster care and Meals on Wheels.
• Food stamps, which would see 2 million lose their benefits entirely.
• Affordable Care Act subsidies, resulting in some 350,000 people losing coverage.
• Free and reduced-price school lunches.
We’ve said all along that there’s no reason for us to be here, except that congressional Republicans turned the routine debt-ceiling vote into a manufactured crisis. Now the House Republicans are trying to take advantage of that crisis to cripple our ability to help working-class people, retirees and kids. It’s appalling, but not surprising. We hope the Senate will refuse to join in with these devastating cuts.