Allowing radicals in the House to deprive millions of basic economic security is a recipe for slower economic growth and widespread economic pain.
Many people are rightly focused on the negative impacts a government shutdown would have on the economy. But we should not lose sight of the cruel and economically disastrous cuts that extremists in the House are demanding in exchange for keeping the government open.
The original debt limit deal was unnecessary and damaging. It cuts essential investments in workers and families and includes harmful work requirements that present unnecessary obstacles for families to get the support they need. But it was a deal nonetheless, passed on a broadly bipartisan basis in both chambers of Congress and signed by the President in order to avert self-inflicted economic calamity. Now, as the President, both parties in the Senate, and Democrats in the House stand ready to fund the government at levels consistent with that deal, a small minority of House members have reneged and are holding our economy hostage again in an attempt to extract even worse cuts.
"A government shutdown will cause pain, but the cuts that are being proposed in the House would go further."”
A government shutdown will cause pain, but the cuts that are being proposed in the House would go further. They would take away, on a long-term basis, essential food and housing assistance programs, funding for schools that serve low-income students and child care, and stifle clean energy initiatives.
These cuts would sacrifice the basic economic security of millions and jeopardize the economic progress made through pandemic-era public investments.
A government shutdown will cause millions of families in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to lose benefits. But permanent cuts to food assistance, public education, and child care would deprive a generation of children of a fair head start.
The Senate appropriations bill, which aligns with the debt ceiling deal, would already lead to thousands of families losing WIC benefits. During a government shutdown, the vast majority of the estimated 7 million WIC participants would see an immediate reduction in benefits.
However, the Agriculture Appropriations Bill proposed in the House would inflict even more long-term pain as millions of infants, toddlers, and pregnant or postpartum adults would lose WIC support. Almost half of newborns rely on WIC, and straining family budgets not only puts children at risk of poverty in the present, but also increases childrens’ likelihood of experiencing poverty later on in life.
The Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill also includes enormous cuts to Title I education grants for low-income communities, eliminates preschool development grants, and risks removing about 80,000 children from Head Start. In the short run, this will make it harder for working parents to stay in the labor force and harder for families to make ends meet, but it will also have long-run economic consequences. We cannot build a healthy economy by stifling the potential of children to achieve economic mobility and security.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) made historic investments in our clean energy future. House Republicans’ proposed cuts would immediately harm workers and families and turn back the progress we have made.
The Inflation Reduction Act made historic investments in combating climate change by spurring clean energy investments, empowering rural communities to develop clean energy systems, and allocating funds to communities to reduce pollution. In its first year, the IRA has already created thousands of jobs across the country and accelerated the move away from fossil fuels.
A government shutdown could put billions of dollars worth of clean energy investments on ice by thwarting the Treasury Department’s ability to provide guidance on the IRA’s clean energy incentives.
Permanently cutting billions of dollars in IRA funding would be far worse. The cuts in the House Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill would undermine clean energy projects and slow job creation. If allowed to move forward, the cuts would undo the progress made toward building sustainable energy systems that will reduce energy costs for families, strengthen supply chains, and build a stronger, more resilient economy for all of us.
Slashing funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would derail the agency’s efforts to raise revenue, improve taxpayer services, and make wealthy tax cheats pay their fair share.
The IRS has been underfunded for decades, restricting the agency’s ability to improve taxpayer services, go after wealthy tax evaders, and hold big corporations accountable. The historic investments in the Inflation Reduction Act allocated tens of billions of dollars in additional funding to the IRS. The agency is moving forward with important initiatives, including increased compliance activities targeted at the wealthiest and a pilot program to allow ordinary taxpayers to file their taxes for free and directly with the government, rather than paying private tax preparers.
IRS services will be dramatically curtailed during a government shutdown, possibly imperiling the economic well-being of ordinary taxpayers facing financial hardship. Audit and examination activities will also pause.
But conservative lawmakers want to go much further, rescinding billions of dollars in IRS funding in order to protect billionaires who routinely avoid paying their taxes. Those cuts would further enrich the wealthy, widening inequality. The cuts would also cost the economy a significant amount of revenue, since for every dollar invested in auditing the top 10% percent of earners, the IRS recoups $12 for the public.
As thousands of workers strike around the country, cuts to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) would undermine the agency’s ability to protect the right to organize and demand better wages and benefits.
The last few years were some of the most profitable in history for large corporations, who were allowed to take in record profits while hiking prices and keeping wages low for the workers who kept our economy running during a global pandemic. Now, workers around the country are organizing to demand better wages and working conditions, intensifying the NLRB’s caseload. The debt ceiling deal already fails to adequately fund these growing caseloads, but the cuts in the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill proposed in the House would reduce the agency’s budget by a third. Further slashing the NLRB’s budget would harm the agency’s ability to administer union elections or enforce labor laws around minimum wage, paid leave, and child labor.
“Strong labor laws empower workers to fight for better wages and benefits, strengthening the labor force and building a more just and equitable economy."”
We cannot have a strong and healthy labor market when workers do not have sufficient support and protection at the workplace. Strong labor laws empower workers to fight for better wages and benefits, strengthening the labor force and building a more just and equitable economy. We know, for example, that children of working-class unionized parents earn higher earnings than those of nonunionized parents and unionization reduces racial wealth gaps.