4 Reasons Why States Suing to Stop Immigration Actions Stand to Lose Big

Immigration activists demonstrate at the Supreme Court in Washington in support of President Barack Obama’s executive order to grant relief from deportation in order to keep immigrant families together, March 18, 2016. The U.S. Capitol is in the background.

Immigration activists demonstrate at the Supreme Court.
SOURCE: AP/J. Scott Applewhite

 — by Tom Jawetz 

On April 18, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in a lawsuit, United States v. Texas, brought by more than two dozen states challenging an immigration enforcement policy by the secretary of homeland security. If successful, the lawsuit could tear apart millions of American families, while at the same time greatly undercutting the U.S. economy.

Twenty-six states filed a lawsuit challenging the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, initiative along with the expansion of the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, initiative. Under DAPA, DACA, and expanded DACA, certain unauthorized immigrants who have lived in the United States for many years and who either came to the country as children or are the parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents can come forward, register with the government, pass background checks, and request deferred action—a temporary protection from the threat of deportation. With deferred action, such people are also eligible to request permission to work in the country legally. The implementation of both DAPA and expanded DACA has been temporarily placed on hold while the case works its way through the courts.

In suing to freeze DAPA and expanded DACA, these 26 states have chosen to forgo tens of billions of dollars in increased state gross domestic product, or GDP, not to mention the additional earnings of their own residents, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars each year in increased state and local tax revenue. This is significant in part because the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the plaintiff states had standing to bring this lawsuit based upon the district court’s finding that the state of Texas may end up spending “several million dollars” to issue driver’s licenses to some of the people who receive deferred action. In addition to these monetary losses, the plaintiff states are also threatening to tear fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters away from the more than 2.6 million U.S. citizen family members with whom they live in these states. (see Table 2)

Here are four key facts you should know about the states that are suing to freeze DAPA and expanded DACA.

1. The plaintiff states stand to lose at least $91.9 billion in increased state GDP

Nationally, the three deferred action initiatives—DAPA, DACA, and expanded DACA—are estimated to grow the U.S. economy cumulatively by $230 billion over 10 years. The reasons for this are fairly simple. As professional economists and scholars in related fields recently explained in an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, when unauthorized immigrants gain work authorization and protection from deportation—even temporarily—they are able to find jobs that make full use of their skills and abilities, earn higher wages, and become even more economically productive.

What’s more, individual states can expect to see their economies grow as a result of these initiatives. Together, 18 of the 26 states suing to freeze DAPA and expanded DACA stand to lose an estimated $91.9 billion in increased state GDP over 10 years if the three deferred action initiatives are not fully implemented. And while the original DACA initiative is not under review in United States v. Texas, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision places a cloud over it as well.

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2. Residents of the plaintiff states stand to lose an estimated $48.4 billion in increased earnings

Because of the enormous economic activity that would be generated by these initiatives, the cumulative earnings of American workers would increase by an estimated $124 billion nationally. In the 18 plaintiff states for which CAP has data, we estimate that implementing DAPA, DACA, and expanded DACA would raise the earnings of these states’ residents by more than $48.4 billion over 10 years.

3. The plaintiff states stand to lose nearly $272 million annually in increased state and local tax revenue

Unauthorized immigrants contribute enormous sums to state and local coffers through taxes:$11.64 billion annually, according to a new report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Full implementation of the three deferred action initiatives would increase state and local tax contributions by unauthorized immigrants by an estimated $805 million each year.

The 26 states that are suing to block DAPA and expanded DACA would stand to gain an estimated $271.7 million annually in state and local tax revenue. Texas leads the way with the nearly $59 million it is estimated to gain each year in such revenue through the implementation of DAPA, DACA, and expanded DACA. (see Table 1)

And it’s not just states and localities that would stand to lose additional tax revenues: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation studied the budgetary effects of legislation to block DAPA, DACA, and expanded DACA and found that the bill would reduce federal tax revenues by $22.3 billion over a 10-year period, leading to a $7.5 billion increase in the deficit over that same period.

4. More than 2.6 million U.S. citizens live with a DAPA-eligible family member in the plaintiff states

By definition, the parents of American citizens or lawful permanent residents who would be eligible to apply for DAPA have deep roots in the United States. Nearly 70 percent of anticipated DAPA beneficiaries have lived in the United States for at least 10 years, and a full one-quarter have lived here for at least 20 years.

According to an estimate prepared for CAP by the University of Southern California’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, there are more than 6.1 million U.S. citizens around the country who live in the same household as a DAPA-eligible family member. California leads the pack with an estimated 1.8 million individuals, but Texas comes in a close second at nearly 1.1 million. And in the 21 plaintiff states for which CAP has data, there are more than 2.6 million U.S. citizens living with a DAPA-eligible family member.

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Conclusion

Given the facts presented above, it is little wonder that the largest cities and counties in many of the plaintiff states filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court arguing in support of DAPA and expanded DACA. If the Supreme Court overturns the lower court’s decision and permits these policies to take effect—as it should—not only will the nation as a whole benefit from the implementation of these sensible policies, but the plaintiff states will benefit as well.


Tom Jawetz is the Vice President of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress.

This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe. ‘Like’ CAP Action on Facebook and ‘follow’ us on Twitter

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The Obama Health Care Legacy: More Coverage and Less Spending

—by Harry Stein

ImageOn March 24, the Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, published data that surprised even the staunchest advocates for health care reform: New estimates show that total federal spending in fiscal year 2016 for major health care programs will be lower than was projected back in January 2009. Why is this shocking? The January 2009 projections did not include the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, which was not signed into law until March 2010. This means that federal health programs are covering more people while spending less money.

Though the ACA coverage expansion added new costs, total spending for federal health programs is still less than what the CBO projected in January 2009 because of huge savings from Medicare. In fact, the CBO’s projections for FY 2016 Medicare spending have fallen $107 billion since January 2009. A portion of the Medicare savings can be unambiguously attributed to the ACA.

Read more about how the ACA expanded coverage while saving money at the Center for American Progress.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe. ‘Like’ CAP Action on Facebook and ‘follow’ us on Twitter

House Moves On Bills That Would Allow States To Seize Millions Of Acres Of Public Lands

— by Matt Lee-Ashley, ThinkProgress Guest Contributor

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/RICK BOWMER

Less than two weeks after the arrest of Cliven Bundy and the armed militants who were occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, the U.S. House of Representatives will consider three bills that would dispose of vast stretches of national forests and other public lands across the country.

The bills, which will be heard in a meeting of the House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday, represent an escalation of the political battle being waged by the Koch brothers’ political network, anti-government extremist groups, and a small group of conservative politicians led by the committee’s chairman, U.S. Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT).

The first bill, introduced by Representative Don Young from Alaska (R), would allow any state to seize control and ownership of up to 2 million acres of national forests within its borders — an area nearly the size of Yellowstone National Park. A state would then be able to auction off the lands to private ownership or for mining, logging, and drilling.

The second bill, written by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), would give states and counties the right to take direct control of up to 4 million acres of national forests across the country for clear-cut logging, without regard to environmental laws and protections. A third bill, written by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), would turn over what the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance estimates to be 6,000 miles of road right-of-ways on U.S. public lands to counties in Utah, opening the door for road construction and development in protected wilderness areas.

These legislative efforts echo the demands of militant rancher Cliven Bundy and his sons, Ryan and Ammon, that the federal government cede ownership of all national forests and public lands to state, county, and private interests. A federal grand jury in Las Vegas last week indicted the Bundys on conspiracy charges for leading armed standoffs with federal law enforcement officials in 2014 and in Oregon earlier this year.

Although Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Governor John Kasich (R-OH) are making Bundy-inspired pitches on the presidential campaign trail, their proposals to seize or sell public lands are deeply unpopular among most Westerners. Recent public opinion research from Colorado College found that approximately six in 10 voters in the region — including a majority in Nevada — are opposed to the idea.

There are signs that the Bundys’ political supporters are facing a growing political backlash for their extreme views. In Wyoming, for example, an outcry from hunters, anglers, and outdoor recreationists in the state recently helped defeat two bills that aimed to facilitate a state take-over of national public lands.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives may vote this week on an amendment by Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA) that would prohibit convicted Bundy militants from ever carrying weapons through certain nationally-owned lands.

Four Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate in Western states are also circulating a petition to “Keep Public Lands in Public Hands,” which criticizes efforts to seize and sell public lands. “We cannot allow our public lands to be locked up, sold off, or only accessible to the wealthy few,” the petition reads.

Matt Lee-Ashley is a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Public Lands Project at the Center for American Progress. You can follow him on Twitter @MLeeAshley.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe. ‘Like’ CAP Action on Facebook and ‘follow’ us on Twitter

New Report Outlines How To Stop Prescription Drug Prices From Skyrocketing

— by CAP Action War Room

CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

Almost half of all Americans, and 90 percent of all seniors, take a prescribed drug every month. Meanwhile, U.S. spending on prescription drugs increased 13 percent last year to a record $374 billion. Prescription drugs save lives and can sometimes prevent costlier, more invasive treatments. But a drug can only be lifesaving if patients can afford it, and skyrocketing prescription drug prices are putting a strain on families, businesses, and state and federal budgets.

But a new report from the Center for American Progress outlines several reforms that could control the rapidly rising prices, bring transparency to the pharmaceutical industry, and encourage innovation. Within the report’s proposed package are six major policy recommendations that focus on consumer education and paying for value. Here’s a brief look at those six ideas:

  • Commission an independent organization to evaluate new drugs. The FDA only tests whether a drug is safe and works better than a placebo, not whether it’s better than other drugs. Yet pharmaceutical companies often claim new drugs are “innovative” and charge ever-higher prices even if the drug is no more effective than existing treatments. Much like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 5-star safety rating system, the report recommends establishing an independent organization to provide consumer-friendly ratings of drugs to tell patients whether a drug provides minor, significant, or no added benefits when compared to medications already on the market.
  • Provide more transparency on research and development costs. The amount of money pharmaceutical companies spend on research and development pales in comparison to average marketing budgets, and drug companies have the highest profits in the entire health sector. Requiring companies to disclose how much they spend on research and development and forcing those who do not meet the required budget threshold to pay into a fund to support the National Institute of Health, which conducts much of the research that leads to new drugs, would help incentivize companies to invest more in the development of better medications.
  • Protect consumers by capping cost-sharing. CAP’s report recommends setting monthly limits on out-of-pocket spending on prescription medication and capping cost sharing–the share of costs that individuals pay themselves—for drugs at $3,250 annually. The proposals would also give insurers greater flexibility in designing their official lists of medications.
  • Incentivize drug companies to set fair prices. Over the next 10 years, more than $1.1 trillion in taxpayer dollars will go to pharmaceutical companies for name-brand drugs – in addition to federal tax credits and funding for research and development. The amount of taxpayer dollars going to new drugs is straining state and federal budgets. Under CAP’s recommendation, an independent organization would set voluntary price ranges based on a drug’s added benefit to patients. Drug companies would be forced to publicly justify setting a price outside the designated range, and if the drug’s patent came from federally funded research, competitors will be allowed to create generic versions of the medication.
  • Change Medicare’s payment policy for physician-administered drugs. Under Medicare’s current system, physicians get an added administrative fee of 6 percent of a drug’s price, which incentivizes them to over-prescribe costly treatments. Changing that system to a flat fee that would cover overhead costs would change their incentive structure and cut costs. CAP recommends that Medicare test several alternatives, including a flat fee, and then expand the most successful to the full Medicare program.
  • Adapt Medicaid drug rebates based on the comparative effectiveness of drugs. The Medicaid Drug Rebate Program requires manufacturers to pay a minimum rebate to states and the federal government as a condition for Medicaid covering their drugs. Instead of setting a default rebate amount, rebates should vary based on a drug’s comparative effectiveness.

BOTTOM LINE: The current rate of prescription drug spending growth is unsustainable. But by enacting these reforms and shifting the focus to consumer education and the value of medication, lawmakers can control the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs and ease the strain on families, businesses, state and federal budgets.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

Jeb’s New Tax Plan: Another Bush Family Favor To The Wealthy Few

Well, now we know what Jeb means by “Right to Rise” … might it refer to deficits and debt?

— by CAP Action War Room

New Analysis Of Jeb’s Tax Plan Details Massive Tax Giveaways To Wealthiest Americans

Yesterday, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush released a tax plan that he pledged would “unleash 4% growth.” Bush took pains to emphasize that his plan would benefit working families, much like many of his opponents for the Republican nomination. But a new Center for American Progress Action Fund analysis has crunched the numbers, and despite Bush’s rhetoric, the reality is that his new tax plan is a huge giveaway to the country’s wealthiest at the expense of everyone else.

The facts are that Bush’s tax plan:

  1. Cuts the Top Tax Rates for the Wealthy Few: Under the Bush plan, the top tax rate would be capped at 28 percent, or a nearly one-third drop from the 39.6 percent top rate in the law now. Cutting top tax rates would mean a huge tax windfall for the wealthiest taxpayers—and could exacerbate rising economic inequality while doing nothing to spur economic growth. The analysis supporting Bush’s plan obscures this massive giveaway for high incomes by only looking at the tax plan’s impact on people earning up to $250,000.
  2. Slashes the Corporate Tax Rate and Other Corporate Taxes: The Bush tax plan also proposes dropping the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from the current rate of 35 percent. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the top 20 percent of income earners effectively pay almost four-fifths of the country’s corporate taxes, while the bottom 80 percent of households pays just 21.4 percent. Nearly half of the corporate tax burden—48.7 percent—falls on the top 1 of households alone. No surprise here: corporate ownership is concentrated among high-income households, so cutting taxes on corporations would be a very large giveaway to the wealthy.
  3. Lowers Tax Rates on Capital Gains and Dividends: Bush is also pitching to lower the top tax rate on capital gains and dividends, from 23.8 percent to 20 percent. Income from capital gains and dividends goes overwhelmingly to the wealthy. CAP has previously shown that a lower tax rate on dividends and capital gains is one of the ways the U.S. tax code helps those who are wealthy enough to own capital accumulate even more wealth, worsening income inequality. Jeb’s tax plan would go even farther.

The problems with the tax plan don’t end there. All these tax cuts for the rich will be costly. Even the four conservative economists who wrote a white paper defending the Bush plan say so. They say the plan will add $1.2 trillion to the deficit over the next ten years, using a vague model that presupposes significant economic growth resulting from the plan. When using a more traditional way of evaluating the plan, these same conservative economists say it would cost an astounding $3.4 trillion— that is about $45,946 per child under 18 in the United States.

Additionally, the tax plan’s supporters have vastly inflated claims of the economic growth it would create. We know from Jeb’s brother George W. that substantial tax cuts, combined with slashed regulations as Jeb has also promised but not specified yet, do not result in the booming economy we are promised. This tired rationale for selling tax cuts should not be used again after it has been consistently debunked. But it’s what we are getting from Jeb’s economic advisors, two of which were also advisors to his brother.

We aren’t alone in exposing Jeb’s tax plan for what it is. The New York Times calls the plan a “large tax cut for the wealthiest” and estimates that taxpayers who earned over $10 million dollars in 2013 would have saved an average of $1.5 million with this tax plan in place.

BOTTOM LINE: Though Jeb Bush and his Super PAC have boasted the theme of a “right to rise” as a central campaign message, his tax plan proves that his policy priorities are squarely focused on improving the fortunes of the country’s wealthiest—even though everyone else will be left with the bill. We’ve seen how much that fails most Americans, and how it fails our economy overall. We need policies that help working families by growing the economy from the middle-out, not the top down.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

Bargaining For The American Dream

—by CAP Action War Room

Economic Mobility and Union Membership Go Hand In Hand

We all can agree that zip code shouldn’t determine destiny and a child’s economic future should not be determined by his or her parents’ income. Upward mobility and opportunity are the definition of the American dream. But today, the United States has less mobility and fewer opportunities than other advanced economies: a U.S. child born in the bottom quintile of the income distribution has only a 7.5 percent chance to reach the top quintile of the income distribution as an adult. In comparison, a child born in Denmark in the bottom quintile has an 11.7 percent chance of reaching the top quintile as an adult. That child born in Canada has a 13.4 percent chance.

Understanding the challenges to economic mobility are key to increasing it. A groundbreaking new report from researchers at Harvard, Wellesley, and the Center for American Progress does just that: it finds that economic mobility thrives where unions thrive. The data show a strong relationship between union membership and intergenerational economic mobility. Here are some other key findings from the report:

  • Areas with higher union membership demonstrate more mobility for low income children. Low-income children rise higher in the income rankings when they grow up in areas with high-union membership. A 10 percentage point increase in a geographic area’s union membership is associated with low-income children ranking 1.3 percentile points higher in the national income distribution.
  • Areas with higher union membership have more mobility as measured by all children’s incomes. After controlling for parents’ incomes, the report finds that a 10 percentage point increase in union density is associated with a 4.5 percent increase in the income of an area’s children.
  • Children who grow up in union households have better outcomes. Children of non-college-educated fathers earn 28 percent more if their father was in a labor union.
  • Union density is one of the strongest predictors of an area’s mobility. The relationship between unions and the mobility of low-income children is at least as strong as the relationship between mobility and high school dropout rates—a factor that is generally recognized as one of the most important correlates of economic mobility. Furthermore, unions remain a significant predictor of economic mobility even after one controls for several variables including race, types of industries, inequality, and more.

These findings indicate that those who want to increase economic mobility should support unions. “The ongoing decline of unions will make it harder and harder for the United States to reduce inequality and maintain a strong middle class in the future,” explains Richard B. Freeman, Herbert Ascherman Chair in Economics at Harvard University and lead author of the report. Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, quoted in New York Times coverage of the report, says the results show “further grounds for concern about the decline of unionism in the United States.”

BOTTOM LINE: There’s new evidence about the importance of unions in America: Economic mobility and union membership go hand in hand. Unions need support to continue their role of reducing inequality, opening doors for workers and their families, and keeping America a place where you don’t need to be born wealthy to get ahead.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

Twelve by 2020

Apr 30, 2015 | by CAP Action War Room

RaiseTheWage-3Sen. Murray and Rep. Scott Introduce The Raise The Wage Act To Raise The Minimum Wage To $12

Today, Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Bobby Scott released the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020, get rid of the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers, and tie future increases to the median wage. This legislation would not only be a huge step forward for low-wage workers, but also for the recognition that growing our economy requires investing the workers that make it run, from the middle out, not the top down.

For decades, the value of the federal minimum wage has continued to fall, forcing low-wage workers to fall further and further behind. Raising the minimum wage is a key step in building an economy that works for everyone and investing in the everyday working Americans who strengthen our economy. Here are just a few of the many necessary things the Raise the Wage Act does:

  • Give 38 million workers a raise. Raising the minimum wage to $12 will help nearly 38 million workers, 90 percent of whom are adults, and more than 25 percent of whom are parents.
  • Help working women get ahead. More than half of all workers who would earn a raise from the Raise the Wage Act are women. The vast majority of women who would receive a raise are over the age of 25 and one-third of the women who would be affected are mothers.
  • Give workers $100 billion in increased earnings. According to the Economic Policy Institute, workers would see earnings increase by more than $100 billion over the next five years, money they would likely spend in their communities, helping to boost local economies.
  • Help families make ends meet. According to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, increasing the minimum wage to $12 an hour would reduce taxpayer spending on food stamps by $5.3 billion annually, by helping to lift families out of poverty, allowing many who currently turn to nutrition assistance to make ends meet.

America’s current minimum wage is a poverty wage: Many full-time workers who receive minimum-wage salaries live at or near the federal poverty level. This means that many must turn to public assistance such as food assistance and Medicaid in order to make ends meet. In a recent study, the Center for American Progress analyzed the impact of past minimum-wage changes on spending in one particular program—the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. The study found that minimum-wage increases lead to statistically significant reductions in SNAP enrollment and spending. When workers’ incomes are increased, some end up relying less on SNAP benefits while others see their earnings boosted above the threshold for SNAP eligibility. The result is a win-win situation for both low-wage workers and taxpayers.

RaiseTheWage

BOTTOM LINE: Americans who work hard and play by the rules should never have to live in poverty. Investing in workers honors the hard work of millions of Americans and puts money back in the pocket of families. What’s good for workers and families is good for the economy.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

GOP Budget Slashes Tax Rates for the 1 Percent, Safety Net for Everyone Else

Proposal, columnist writes, ‘is based on an economic philosophy that has failed the country and its people savagely in the past and inevitably will do so again.’

by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

U.S. Congressman Tom Price, House Budget Committee chairman and lead author of the House budget blueprint, speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

U.S. Congressman Tom Price, House Budget Committee chairman and lead author of the House budget blueprint, speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

Revealing their commitment to ravaging critical safety net programs while accommodating corporations and the ultra-wealthy, the Republican-controlled House unveiled on Tuesday a budget proposal (pdf) that would undermine both Social Security and Medicare, repeal the Affordable Care Act, and prioritize tax cuts for the one percent—all while boosting defense spending.

The U.S. Senate, also majority Republican, is expected to introduce similar legislation on Wednesday.

According to news reports, the initial proposals, authored by House Budget Committee chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Senate Budget Committee chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), seek to balance the federal budget over 10 years, without raising taxes. To achieve those goals, the plans are expected to include $5 trillion in cuts to domestic programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Pell grants, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, over the course of the next decade.

It would provide $90 billion in additional war funding—much more than the $51 billion proposed by President Barack Obama—while pushing cuts to renewable energy incentives and climate change programs and repealing parts of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

And, as Sahil Kapur writes for Talking Points Memo, “the budget sets the stage for a showdown next year on Social Security.”

The New York Times notes that the proposal “leans heavily on the policy prescriptions that Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin outlined when he was budget chairman”—prescriptions that were blasted at the time as “a path to more adversity.”

According to Politico:

Price, like previous Budget Committee chairmen in both parties, is using his proposal to push an aggressive policy agenda that is far broader than a simple focus on spending and deficits. Like the Ryan budgets of previous years, Price sees government as the cause of economic problems in the country and seeks to rein in federal spending — and power — by shifting programs back to state control or eliminating them outright.

For instance, the Budget Committee notes that there are 92 different anti-poverty programs, 17 food aid programs and 22 housing assistance programs. Similar overlaps have been found in federal job-training progams, it says. Price recommends eliminating or reducing many of these programs. The maximum award under Pell grants would be frozen for a decade, helping slow the huge increases in college costs. Regulations required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial services reform law are also being targeted as needlessly burdensome on the financial services industry and slowing economic growth.

The austere budget plan drew immediate criticism from many corners.

“There should be no compromise from the Democratic minority on any of this,” political analyst Charles Pierce wrote at Esquire. “It should be rejected, root and branch, because it is based on an economic philosophy, and an overall view of the relationship between people and their government, that has failed the country and its people savagely in the past and inevitably will do so again.”

In his breakdown of intra-party budget battles, Dave Johnson of the Campaign for America’s Future noted that despite any splits over specifics, the governing majority has one common desire.

“All of these Republican factions want the government cut back,” Johnson wrote. “None of them care about investing in infrastructure, investing in science, investing in education, expanding health care and safety-net programs for people who need it, or otherwise helping the public.”

Carmel Martin, executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress joined in calling on Congress to reject the proposal.

“Republicans are talking big with respect to tackling income inequality and wage stagnation, but the House budget proposal does not match their rhetoric,” she said. “Rather than creating jobs with investments in infrastructure and education or strengthening health care and nutrition programs to give families a foothold to climb into the middle class, the House majority has once again prioritized big tax cuts for wealthy individuals and corporations.”

In USA Today on Monday, journalist Nicole Gaudiano reported that Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who may run for president in 2016, plans to fight the GOP budget plan tooth and nail.

Sanders, she wrote, said he wants to take next year’s budget resolution in a “radically different” direction from the one preferred by House and Senate Republicans, declaring: “I’m going to work as hard as I can with other progressive members of the Senate to do everything we can to make sure this budget is not balanced on the backs of working families and low-income Americans.”


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Legally Married and Legally Fired

— by CAP Action War Room

The Fight For Equal Rights For LGBT Americans Does Not End At Marriage

We’ve been talking a lot about a certain Supreme Court case over the past month, with the Affordable Care Act under attack for a second time. Next up, the Supreme Court will hear another important case in April on whether to legalize marriage for committed same-sex couples throughout the country. While proponents of equality are hopeful for a historic decision to finally ensure marriage equality nationwide, regardless of the outcome, the fight for LGBT equal rights will not end in June. One aspect of that fight is securing basic non-discrimination protections for the LGBT community.

While the fundamental right to marry the one you love has been extended to Americans in over thirty states, we still have a ways to go in enacting meaningful anti-discrimination laws across the country. As the graphic below demonstrates, LGBT Americans are still vulnerable to discrimination in many other ways. And click here to learn more about all the protections that LGBT Americans don’t have.

LGBT-Discrimination

BOTTOM LINE: While the Supreme Court may soon rightly decide that marriage equality is constitutional, the fight for fairness and full equality will not be over this summer. Congress and the States need to act to ensure equal protections for LGBT Americans.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.  Like CAP Action on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

One Strike and You’re Out

How We Can Eliminate Barriers to Economic Security and Mobility for People with Criminal Records
— By Rebecca Vallas and Sharon Dietrich

incarcerationBetween 70 million and 100 million Americans—or as many as one in three—have a criminal record. Many have only minor offenses, such as misdemeanors and non-serious infractions; others have only arrests without conviction. Nonetheless, because of the rise of technology and the ease of accessing data via the Internet—in conjunction with federal and state policy decisions—having even a minor criminal history now carries lifelong barriers that can block successful re-entry and participation in society. This has broad implications—not only for the millions of individuals who are prevented from moving on with their lives and becoming productive citizens but also for their families, communities, and the national economy.

Today, a criminal record serves as both a direct cause and consequence of poverty. It is a cause because having a criminal record can present obstacles to employment, housing, public assistance, education, family reunification, and more; convictions can result in monetary debts as well. It is a consequence due to the growing criminalization of poverty and homelessness …

This article was published by the Center for American Progress.
Read the full article here.  Or, download the report: PDF