Top Reasons to Support the Democratic Budget
Mar 24, 2015
Grows the Economy and Strengthens Ladders of Opportunity
- Ensures shared prosperity for middle-class families and those working their way into the middle class – The Democratic budget boosts take-home pay and ensures that all hard-working Americans, not just the wealthy and well-connected, benefit from America's growing economy. It does so through tax reform that rewards work, as well as through job-creating strategic investments in infrastructure and increased funding for R&D and education.
- Tax reform that helps American workers, not special interests – The budget reforms the tax code to work for hard-working Americans. It extends improvements to the EITC and Child Tax Credit, expands the EITC for childless workers, and extends and improves the American Opportunity Tax Credit. It cuts special interest tax breaks for the top one percent and closes unproductive special interest corporate tax breaks and loopholes, without increasing the tax burden on middle-class taxpayers.
- Ensures access to a high quality education for all – To ensure all children enter school ready to succeed, the budget increases funding for early childhood education, including the President's early childhood initiative. It also increases funding for elementary and secondary education, and makes college more affordable.
- Supports strategic investments – To make needed investments and keep the country strong, the budget lifts the sequester on non-defense funding and adds a comparable amount of defense funding for 2016 and 2017. It matches the President's discretionary spending levels for subsequent years. Overseas Contingency Operations matches the President's request for 2016.
- Advances scientific R&D and innovation – Provides robust funding to promote scientific jobs and biomedical research, innovation in U.S. manufacturing, information technology, energy, aeronautics and space exploration, and climate change science. This funding is essential to competing in the global economy.
- Improves the nation's infrastructure – Funds the President's six-year, $478 billion surface transportation reauthorization proposal and additional infrastructure investments that create jobs while helping to repair and modernize the nation's roads, bridges, railways and transit systems.
- Supports veterans' services – Includes an 8 percent increase over current year funding for veterans' programs, matching the President's request. This better enables the VA to improve the timely delivery and the quality of services and ensure all veterans receive the health care and benefits that they have earned. The resolution expands advance appropriations to cover all of the VA's discretionary budget to prevent delays in veterans' benefits and services during a government shutdown.
- Includes immigration reform – Accommodates comprehensive immigration reform to provide clear and just rules for those seeking citizenship and help secure our borders, while boosting the economy, extending the solvency of Social Security, and reducing budget deficits.
- Supports Federal employees – Unlike the Republican budget, the Democratic resolution does not penalize the Federal workforce for choosing to pursue public service. Since 2011, Federal employees have contributed over $150 billion toward deficit reduction in the form of reduced pay and benefits. This resolution rejects proposals targeting Federal workers further and recognizes the important work that they do to provide vital services to our nation on a daily basis.
Protects Access to Health Care
- Reinforces the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – Supports the ongoing implementation of the ACA. At its fifth anniversary, the ACA is working to expand access to health coverage and dramatically slow down growth in health costs. An estimated 16.4 million uninsured Americans gained coverage so far, and the uninsured rate in the U.S. is now near the lowest level recorded over the last five decades. Today, working families have the security of knowing their health insurance plan covers basic necessary services, protects them from unlimited out-of-pocket costs, and cannot deny coverage or charge higher premiums based on pre-existing conditions.
- Preserves and improves Medicare – Rejects the Republican attempt to end Medicare as we know it. The Republican budget turns Medicare into a voucher-like system that will increase costs for seniors and destabilize the traditional Medicare program that has served seniors well for half a century. The Democratic budget rejects cuts to benefits and instead strengthens Medicare for the 55 million seniors and individuals with disabilities who rely on it for secure, stable health coverage.
- Protects Medicaid – Supports Medicaid expansion under the ACA and provides a critical health care safety net for 69 million Americans, including seniors, persons with disabilities, and children in working families. More than one out of three children is covered by the program. Expanding Medicaid not only improves access to health care services, but the funding that flows to states also generates economic activity and creates jobs.
- Extends the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – Extends funding for CHIP for four years to ensure coverage for every eligible child in the country. Reauthorized through 2019, CHIP is an important source of health insurance for children in working families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.
Strengthens the Safety Net
- Preserves nutrition assistance, expands child care assistance, and supports vital programs – Supports and enhances a number of vital programs that serve low-income families. The Democratic budget rejects cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which lifts millions out of poverty. It increases funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and fully funds the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to support the 8.5 million people expected to participate. It includes a child care initiative that will benefit two generations, increasing employment and earnings for parents while promoting a healthy growing and learning environment for children.
- Endorses strategies to alleviate poverty – Endorses development of a national strategy to eliminate poverty, with the initial goal of cutting poverty in half in ten years, and to extend equitable access to economic opportunity to all Americans. The budget recognizes the important role that government plays in reducing poverty with a multi-pronged approach that allows workers to develop skills and have good jobs, removes obstacles to taking advantage of economic opportunities, and supports the most vulnerable in society.
- Protects Social Security – Permits the Social Security Administration to use Social Security's existing resources to pay benefits, preventing possible cuts in Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
Keeps the Nation Secure
- Strengthens national security – Matches the President's request for defense and provides funding certainty to our military by lifting the sequester in an open and transparent way, rather than through budget gimmicks that undermine the budget process. It emphasizes the need to continue to support a strong military that is second to none, that can meet the country's security challenges and that provides the necessary support for the selfless men and women who serve in uniform. It also highlights that we still must be vigilant in reining in wasteful spending at the nation's security agencies.
- Responsibly budgets for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) – Includes a budget enforcement provision that allows allocation adjustments for 2016 OCO appropriations only up to the level requested by the President, provided that the appropriations are truly OCO-related. This provision will help prevent the abuse of the OCO designation as a backdoor loophole to skirt discretionary spending caps.