WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House says the account is in House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s plan Reducing the federal deficit is “ruthless”—estimating a massive 22% cut to non-defense spending would leave children poorer, veterans sicker, families hungrier, and housing more expensive.
“There is no escaping the pain of working families and our economic future,” White House budget director Shalanda Young concluded in a draft analysis obtained by The Associated Press Thursday.
President Joe Biden and GOP lawmakers are engaged in a tense standoff over federal finances, Republican House Speaker McCarthy insists spending cuts as a condition for lifting the government’s legal borrowing authority while Democrat Biden wants to keep budget talks separate from critical debt-reduction measures.
McCarthy criticized Biden for avoiding the sit-down talks. On Wednesday, the spokesman unveiled a plan that he said would cut more than $4 trillion in deficits over the next decade, largely by freezing discretionary spending at 2024 levels and increasing them by just 1% a year later. In his January State of the Union address, Biden indicated he would engage in some form of conversation — once Republicans put the budget proposal in place.
Republican lawmakers are betting that the public supports their vision of smaller government, while the White House’s strategy is that the resulting cuts are unpopular once the consequences are understood.
Budget Director Young’s analysis is an attempt to explain those potential consequences, though McCarthy anticipated criticism by telling a Wall Street audience Monday: “Don’t believe anyone who says our plans hurt Americans’ social safety net. We are a very generous nation. And when people fall into Hard times, we’ll help them.”
Young argues in her analysis that McCarthy’s budget caps mask the full extent of potential cuts, and that they would accumulate over time in ways she said would harm millions of American families. White House budget proposal It offers nearly $3 trillion in deficit savings, mainly through higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations.
“The legislation drafted by Republicans in Congress is designed to avoid compromising with the American people about how these cuts will affect their lives,” Young wrote in the draft. “This bill is ambiguous by design – but that doesn’t obscure the fact that it would force devastating cuts that will harm millions of people, damage our economy, and undermine our national security.”
By not making clear the specific cuts, Republicans can minimize the backlash to their plan. McCarthy’s proposal would raise the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion through March 2024 against a long list of GOP priorities.
In addition to a 1% limit on future spending increases, the GOP plan would pay Biden’s climate change money, eliminate up to $20,000 per person in student loan forgiveness, and impose long-overdue work requirements on government aid recipients, among provisions. other.
The president and Congress need to reach some kind of agreement to raise the $31 trillion debt ceiling this summer, when the Treasury’s “extraordinary” steps are exhausted and the government could default on its payments.
Given that Republicans have indicated they will protect defense spending, Young estimates that domestic programs would be cut by 22% under the GOP plan. Social Security and Medicare — the programs expected to increase the national debt in the long term — are protected from any cuts.
At this lower level of funding, there would be 30 million fewer veteran outpatient visits and 81,000 jobs lost across the Veterans Health Administration, according to the analysis.
Cuts in schools that teach the poorest children, 7.5 million students with special needs, and could result in the loss of 108,000 teacher and classroom assistant jobs will be borne by 25 million students. 200,000 fewer children will be enrolled in Head Start and 180,000 children will lose access to child care.
Approximately 1.7 million women, infants and children will miss out on vital nutritional assistance through the Special Supplemental Feeding Programme. More than 1 million seniors will lose access to food programs such as Meals on Wheels.
There will be 630,000 poor families who will lose access to housing vouchers. And just months after the Norfolk South train derailment in Ohio led to GOP criticism of the Biden administration, there will be 7,000 fewer rail safety inspections, the analysis confirms.