- Each plan would repeal health reform, including its subsidies to make coverage affordable for people with low or moderate incomes and its Medicaid expansion, and block-grant much of Medicaid, while also making deep cuts to the program. At least 14 million people would lose their Medicaid coverage or no longer gain coverage in the future.
- The House plan block-grants SNAP starting in 2021 and cuts SNAP funds by $125 billion, or over 2021 to 2025. Cuts of this magnitude would for millions of low-income families, cut benefits for millions of such households, or do some combination of the two.
- Each plan would let critical provisions of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) expire at the end of 2017, which would push more than 16 million people, including almost 8 million children, into or deeper .
- The House and Senate plans would each cut hundreds of billions of dollars from mandatory programs in the education and income security categories of the budget. Although each plan lacks specifics, severe cuts of up to 90 billion dollars would occur to Pell Grants, which help students from families with modest incomes afford college.
- The House and Senate plans each would make additional cuts on top of the significant reductions required by the Budget Control Act’s discretionary caps and sequestration. These cuts would shrink the funds available for investments in education, research, and transportation, as well as for low-income programs such as housing assistance, Head Start, and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
Military Spending is Safe. The House and Senate would both stay within the budget caps for the Pentagon’s base budget ($523 billion) in 2016 but the House would significantly increase the war funding account to $90 billion, and would add $397 billion to the Pentagon accounts over the next 10 years.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
- The House budget proposal drastically cuts SNAP (formerly the Food Stamp Program) by at least 34 percent, the equivalent of up to 220 missed meals annually for each SNAP participant.
- Both budget plans would repeal the Affordable Care Act and block grant Medicaid, making deep cuts to health coverage for low-income people.
- Lifesaving international programs would be cut by 16 percent in the House budget. Funding for our international humanitarian aid budget has already been cut by 22 percent – we can’t afford any further cuts.
- Sixty-nine percent of the budget cuts in both the House and Senate come directly from programs impacting low-income people – placing the burden on those who are already suffering.
- Both House and Senate budgets allow to expire critical tax relief for the poorest workers, through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), plunging 16 million people, including 8 million children, into deeper poverty.
- Both budgets keep the automatics budget cuts of 2011 (called sequestration) in place – and cut even further. This puts programs like WIC, food aid, and poverty focused development assistance in grave danger.
Monday, March 16, 2015
Running out the door of our Tucson house, my roommate Heather shouted to me, “Don’t forget to
feed the chickens!” Feeding our four hens was a fact of life as a Young Adult Volunteer in Tucson. The YAVs before us had purchased several hens and built a coop for them in the
|DC YAVs on Retreat in the Shenandoah Valley|
The commitment to a YAV year is threefold: mission service, simple living, and intentional Christian community. I’ve struggled with intentional community the most. We don’t just live together; we share every aspect of our lives. As a participant in a culture enamored of convenience, I’ve found that this kind of intentionality isn’t easy. In fact, it requires hard work.
YAVs make communal patterns of life a priority. We participate in weekly community days; we share meals; we pray together. We fill out chore charts and talk for an hour about who left the glass of milk that curdled in the sink. Sometimes coming home to my community feels as if I’m headed to my second job. We might have a meeting scheduled that I’d rather not attend. Or, my housemates are watching a movie, and I join them out of obligation more than desire. During my year in Tucson, I often complained about feeding the chickens. But I put my desires aside, because this intentionality is what creates the space to experience the bounty of community.
This abundance has filled my soul over the past two years, despite the challenges that come with community. One time last year, we met at 6:00 a.m. because we were too busy to meet at any other time. We quibbled over trivial matters that symbolized different values within our group, like whether to keep bikes in the house. When our individual expectations for community were not met, we felt hurt. But we carried on, because the joy and the sense of family we so often experienced were worth it.
We YAVs in Washington, DC, have just returned from our first retreat in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. There, we lifted our lives up to God as we shared our life stories with one another. It was an incredibly meaningful time of vulnerability that brought us closer. We cried, laughed, hugged, and were
present with one another for four days. We began to love one another in new, profound ways.
We nurture this love—God’s abundant love—in community. It flows through us as we care for those whom we serve. Our work in community is indeed love in action, which has the power to transform our relationships not only with one another but also with the world around us.
So I will keep choosing to love, especially when it’s hard. The chickens need to eat.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
The Reverend Dr. J. Herbert Nelson is the Director for Public Witness at the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness in Washington, DC. He preached this sermon as part of the Lenten series of the weekly chapel services organized at the United Methodist Building in Washington, DC. The ecumenical advocacy community gathers weekly for worship.