Call on your legislators to reject a budget that erodes opportunity, health, safety
The Trump administration’s proposed 2018 budget would cut a path of destruction through programs that support health and safety in the US and around the world. Released today, the budget proposal dramatically cuts funding not just for health and prevention, but for education, scientific research, environmental protection, and social services—areas that support the conditions for health. Cuts to any single agency or program in these areas would be harmful enough; taken together, they would be downright devastating.
By suggesting cuts of this scope, the administration reveals a troubling lack of understanding about what people need to be healthy and safe, and to thrive. No wonder the New York Times’ editorial board calls it “A budget that promises little but pain,” and the Washington Post deems it a budget that “helps the rich at the expense of the poor.”
The proposed budget would:
- Increase defense spending by $22 billion by cutting funding from all departments besides the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs.
- Reduce healthcare spending by $866 billion over 10 years primarily through limits to Medicaid.
- Cut over $1.2 billion from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including eliminating the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program, the Prevention Research Centers, the Injury Control Research Centers, and the Elderly Falls program. CDC chronic disease prevention programs alone face cuts of $222 million.
- Shift greater responsibility to states for chronic disease prevention through a new $500 million America’s Health Block Grant to “increase State, Tribal, and territorial flexibility on the leading chronic disease challenges specific to each State.” This amount is not nearly enough to cover programs slated for elimination or severe cuts, and will instead force states and communities to absorb the political flak—and will ultimately diminish the prevention efforts we know can advance health and reduce treatment needs and costs.
- Slash the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by $192 billion over 10 years.
- Eliminate the HOME Investment Partnerships (which increases affordable housing and low-income home ownership options) and Choice Neighborhoods (which supports “locally driven strategies to address struggling neighborhoods with distressed public or HUD-assisted housing.”
- Terminate the US Interagency Council on Homelessness.
- Eliminate virtually all funding for the Community Services Block Grant, which helps fund anti-poverty efforts like Meals on Wheels and job training for people seeking employment.
- Reduce funding to the Environmental Protection Agency by over 31%.
- Cut Social Security Disability Insurance.
- Slash funding to the National Institutes of Health by $5.8 billion, an approximately 18% cut.
While it’s widely expected that the budget will not be adopted by Congress in its current form, it’s important to understand it as a proxy for the administration’s values and priorities. One line item at a time, the president’s budget exposes values that are a far cry from its purported goal to “unleash the dreams of the American people.” Instead, the proposal reveals an ideology that values profit over people, plundering public goods and services to pad the bank accounts of a few rich investors. In doing so, it threatens our health and our safety, widens existing inequalities, and eats away at the sources of freedom and opportunity.
Contact your Members of Congress and tell them that true fiscal responsibility and American greatness calls for investments in public health and prevention programs that create opportunity for all.
Building walls and raiding community resources is not a foundation for American greatness. Protecting and supporting people’s dignity, health, and opportunity — here and around the world— is the bedrock and the way forward.