USA: Supporting the “People’s Budget”

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USA: Supporting the “People’s Budget”
By: Michael Kane, Daily Kos
02 May 2017
 

Stop Trump’s Budget Cuts! Pass the Peoples Budget to Save Our Homes!

Donald Trump started out as a slumlord blocking people of color from his federally subsidized real estate empire. Now, will the Slumlord in Chief throw 12 million seniors, differently abled people, children and parents out on the street?

Trump’s proposals for housing. Tea Party extremist Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s Budget Director, released Trump’s “skinny budget” proposal for FY 2018 on March 16. Trump’s 2018 budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) cuts $6.2 billion, including elimination of $4 billion in Community Development Block Grant, HOME and other grants to cities; deep cuts to Public Housing Operating (13% cut) and grants for repairs (32% cut); and $900 million in cuts to the Section 8 Voucher program below current levels--resulting in 200,000 fewer Vouchers next year, a 10% cut.

Section 8 and Public Housing provide vital rental assistance to 12 million low income people to keep a roof over their heads. Only one in four Americans who qualify for HUD rental assistance receive it today--resulting in mass homelessness that remains a disgrace for the wealthiest nation on earth.

Last year, in the House, Mulvaney supported the Heritage Foundation’s plan to phase out funding for 12 million low income renters, by “block granting” Section 8 and Public Housing to the states with 10% annual cuts over 10 years. Trump’s “skinny budget” is consistent with Year I of this plan. Unless states pick up the tab, millions would be displaced. Will Trump’s full budget embrace this 10 year plan, when it is released later this month?

“There`s a lot of programs that simply cannot justify their existence, and that`s where we zeroed in,” Trump’s Budget Director Mulvaney said, referring specifically to HUD (Politico 3/16/17).

Rather than addressing the nation’s deep and growing crisis in affordable housing, Trump’s proposals will only add to mass displacement, homelessness, and misery.

Stop Trump’s “Death Budget”. Overall, Trump is proposing a $54 billion increase in Pentagon spending in 2018, by taking away $54 billion from the environment, diplomacy and virtually every “safety net” program that keep Americans secure--such as housing and heating assistance, clean air and water, education and job training, legal services to fight unjust evictions, Meals on Wheels and more. Worse, Republicans have proposed the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, including deep cuts to Medicaid, which provides health insurance to poor and differently-abled Americans. Their proposals would slash 24 million people from the healthcare rolls in the next decade--14 million next year--and increase insurance payments with reduced coverage for millions, particularly people aged 50 to 64.

According to Ed Lucas, 58, a Chicago Marine Corps vet and President of the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT): “People will die if these proposals see the light of day. Congress should declare Trump’s “Death Budget” dead on arrival.”

•Is Medicare Next? Congressional Republicans are also sharpening their knives to cut Medicare and Social Security later this spring, while joining Trump to slash corporate tax rates and further reduce taxes on billionaires. As a Tea Party leader in the House and co-founder of the right wing “Freedom Caucus”, Mulvaney was a strident supporter of massive cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Food Stamps. House Speaker Ryan plans to release his 2018 Budget Resolution on May 15, and Mulvaney has promised Trump’s full 2018 budget proposal on May 25.

Although Trump has “promised” to not cut Social Security and Medicare, he has already broken his promise to not cut Medicaid in the “Trumpscare” proposal before Congress. If carried out, Trump’s massive tax cuts for the 1% along with increased Pentagon spending will only squeeze housing and other vital programs that serve lower income people.

“Hard power,” the Wall and a plane that doesn’t fly. Trump’s “skinny budget” would transfer $54 billion to Pentagon military contractors for a new generation of nuclear weapons and to speed up purchases of Lockheed-Martin’s controversial F-35 fighter, which has been plagued by failed flight safety tests and cost overruns for many years. Trump has also proposed jumps in “border security,” privatized prisons, militarized police, and the Wall. In Mulvaney’s words, “No question this is a hard power budget. It is not a soft power budget.”

Comments NAHT Board Vice President Charlotte Delgado, 81, a retired, disabled restaurant manager in Sacramento, California, “Three of my sons died fighting for this country. They did not die to take housing, Meals on Wheels and healthcare away from the American people to hand over $54 billion to military contractors for a plane that doesn’t fly.”

Adds NAHT Board member Eleanor Walden, 86, a long time social justice activist, “Trump’s Death Budget is a recipe for austerity, inequality, war, racism and fear.”

Tell Congress: “The Peoples Budget Does It!” There is an alternative to the Republican “Death Budget.” The “Peoples Budget” released by the Congressional Progressive Caucus on May 2, presents an alternative vision to invest in housing, jobs and $2 trillion for infrastructure; ensure clean air and water and renewable energy; increase, not cut, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; strengthen, not repeal, the Affordable Care Act; fund, not privatize, public education; end corporate tax loopholes, tax the 1%, and redirect wasteful Pentagon spending to meet domestic needs.

In stark contrast to Trump’s proposals for HUD, the Peoples Budget proposes to increase CDBG and HOME grants to cities and the National Housing Trust Fund to build much needed new housing. The Peoples Budget would provide $32 billion for the backlog of repairs in Public Housing; fully fund Public Housing operating budgets; and increase Section 8 Vouchers by 400,000. The Peoples Budget also would provide $12.8 billion for Rep. Waters bill to End Homelessness in America.

The Peoples Budget will be offered as an amendment to the Ryan Republican Budget Resolution, expected after May 15. The last time a vote was taken, in 2015, 96 Representatives voted “Yes!” on the Peoples Budget.

Adds NAHT’s Walden: “Send a message to Trump! Demand that all House members pass the Peoples Budget to embrace prosperity, peace, unity and hope for our future.”

Original article

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Michael Kane is executive director of the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT). Founded in 1992, NAHT is the national tenants’ union representing 2.1 million families in privately-owned, HUD assisted multifamily housing. NAHT is celebrating its 25th year empowering tenants to save and improve their homes

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