The Republican House passed a spending bill last Friday cutting nearly $60 billion from domestic programs that include education, environmental protection and community services. While Democrats are outraged by the Republicans’ approach to slimming the deficit, a conclusion must be reached promptly as the government will no longer be able to spend money past the March 4, deadline, leaving Congress to face a government shutdown.
The bill’s budget reductions strike heavily on social programs millions of Americans rely on during these hard economic times and ignores the true long-term deficit threat: entitlements. On NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Speaker Boehner said the reason Congress is not addressing entitlements is because most Americans do not yet realize that they are the problem.
In the meantime, Speaker Boehner and House Republicans have come up with other solutions to reducing the deficit. The recent spending bill blocks all funding for Obama’s health care measure signed into law last year.
The bill also eliminates all federal funds for Planned Parenthood, which provides birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing, abortions and other life-saving aid to millions of Americans each year.
In addition, Republicans intend to bar federal family planning and teen pregnancy prevention grants. The measure cuts $747 million in food aid for poor pregnant women and women with young children.
The bill also contains a $5.6 billion cut in Pell Grants that provide low-income students the opportunity to go to college. The White House says this cut will reduce the maximum grant of $5,550 by $850.
The measure prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing climate regulations on gas emissions and air-quality. The Social Security Administration will also be cut under the bill, likely causing many workers to lose their jobs.
In a callous statement by Speaker Boehner, he said, “In the last two years since President Barack Obama took office, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs. And if some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it.” While he believes only “some” of the recently added jobs will be cut, research conducted by the Center for American Progress show that Boehner’s budget cuts will cause nearly 1 million government employees to lose their jobs.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said, “Today, they have made matters worse-passing a spending bill that destroys jobs, weakens the middle class, hurts schools and young adults, eliminates assistance to homeless veterans and diminishes critical investments in our future.”
It is clear Republican interests do not lie with the well-being of the American people. The House spending bill is just another dogmatic piece of Republican legislation aimed at disadvantaging the less fortunate and makes the American dream even less attainable for our lower-income citizens.