The League joined with other organizations in a letter to Congress urging them to keep the following principles in mind as they work on the end of year budget agreement. The letter emphasizes that any budget agreement must: end sequestration cuts, protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security from benefit cuts and defend core programs for those most at risk.
Principles for End of Year Budget Deal
Signed by 94 National Organizations
November 5, 2013
Dear Member of Congress:
As work accelerates toward a possible end of the year budget agreement, with the Budget Conference Committee expected to issue its report by Dec. 13, the undersigned organizations strongly believe that any budget agreement must meet the following key principles:
End Job-Killing Sequestration Cuts
The greatest challenge facing our economy today is the continuing jobs crisis, not the deficit. Over 20 million people are in need of full-time work. Meanwhile, the annual deficit has been cut by more than half since 2009 as a portion of the economy, and is now falling faster than at any time since the end of World War II.
The across-the-board budget cuts – called “sequestration” – that began in March of this year are making the jobs crisis worse and holding back economic growth. According to the Congressional Budget Office, simply repealing sequestration would generate 900,000 jobs over the next year. The sequester cuts have also deprived children of needed educational opportunities, prevented low-income seniors from receiving meals, and hindered scientific and medical research.
We call on Congress to repeal sequestration – period – not replace sequestration cuts with other harmful cuts. If Congress cancels sequestration cuts to defense spending, the same dollar-for-dollar protection must be provided to non-defense discretionary programs. Congress must not simply replace defense sequestration cuts with cuts to non-defense programs.
If Congress chooses to replace sequestration cuts – whether over nine years or over a minimum of two years in a smaller budget agreement – it must not do so in ways that harm workers, low-income people, or others most at risk in this economy. Congress can avoid all of these pitfalls by enacting specific tax provisions that ask the wealthiest Americans and profitable Wall Street corporations to contribute their
fair share in taxes. To date, 70 percent of policy or deficit savings have come from cuts, with just 30 percent from revenues; this rises to a 79-21 split if the sequester remains in place.
Protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security from Benefit Cuts
We urge you to oppose any cuts in Social Security, Medicaid, or Medicare benefits, including the shifting of health care costs to beneficiaries. We should be improving Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare by expanding benefits, not cutting them, because working people and families need more economic security, not less.
Defend Core Programs for Those Most at Risk
Congress should defend the core security programs for those most at risk in this economy, such as impoverished women and children, the elderly, or the long-term unemployed. The savage cuts proposed for food stamps (SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) are unconscionable. Any budget agreement must protect essential programs such as housing, home heating, Head Start, infant nutrition, education, and other programs vital to low-income families.
Eliminate All Tax Incentives for Sending Jobs Overseas and Instead Create Jobs at Home
Powerful corporations and the rich should pay their fair share of taxes. As a start, we call on Congress to eliminate all tax incentives that encourage companies to ship jobs abroad. Ending these tax subsidies would – by itself – increase investment and employment in the U.S. At the same time, it would generate hundreds of billions in revenue which could help rebuild our economy without increasing the deficit.
This money could be used to launch a five-year plan to rebuild our outmoded infrastructure; to help ensure that the U.S. captures the lead in a green industrial revolution that is already generating growing numbers of good jobs; and to invest in education, from pre-K to affordable college to prepare our children to succeed in the 21st century. Prioritizing job creation, including proposals like the American Jobs Act, is urgently needed.
For more information, please contact Rob Randhava, Senior Counsel at The Leadership Conference on
Civil and Human Rights, at (202) 466-3311.
(See Attached for full List of Signers)