House Budget Reconciliation Brings More Woes For Those In Need
Last week, the House of Representatives doubled down on the Ryan budget by passing the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act. This bill took the framework established by the Ryan budget and proposed still deeper cuts in an effort to avoid the automatic cuts to defense programs that were agreed to in the August debt-ceiling agreement and are set to take effect in January 2013. The Ryan budget already proposed ending entitlement status for Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and effectively privatizing Medicare, but the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act took the cuts to social safety net programs a step further to avoid the automatic defense-spending cuts prescribed under the August deal.
For example, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act cut an additional $36 billion from SNAP, which could cause 300,000 students to lose meals in schools. The Huffington Post noted that the bill would also “cut $83 billion in federal retirement benefits (equivalent to about a 5 percent pay cut),” and would “save $49 billion by capping medical malpractice lawsuits.” At its core, the proposal fundamentally and unjustly restructures our commitment to seniors and low-income families. Deuteronomy teaches us, “If there is a needy person among you…do not harden your heart and shut your hand against your kin.” (15:7). Congress must take bold steps to restore fiscal responsibility, but this budget fails the moral test outlined by our Jewish teachings. Image courtesy of Open Congress