Budget and Deficit Reduction

CLASP engages in analysis and advocacy to ensure funding for effective programs that improve the lives of low-income people. CLASP educates the public and policymakers about the impacts of budget and deficit reduction proposals on the programs that affect low-income people.

FEDERAL BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS: CLASP advocates to influence and analyzes the president's budget and advocates before the House and Senate Budget Committees as they consider the annual budget resolution, which sets the framework and overall caps for the appropriations process. CLASP analyzes the appropriations provisions that affect key programs for low-income people and advocates before the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to ensure adequate funding for these programs.

DEFICIT REDUCTION: Over the past decade, the federal government has spent more than it has taken in through taxes. These deficits were the result of tax cuts, two long-lasting wars, and the deep recession of the past years, which both reduced revenues and drove increased spending on safety-net programs and stimulus efforts. In recent years, both the President and Congress have focused increased attention on the need to reduce the long-term deficit. CLASP has analyzed and responded to the various proposals, and has advocated vigorously for deficit reduction that:

  • Does not increase poverty or inequality;
  • Does not risk undermining the still fragile recovery; and
  • Includes a balance of increased revenues and spending cuts.


November 10, 2015 | CLASP
CLASP calls on House Appropriations Committee to pass omnibus spending bill that invests in poor families

Today, nearly one in five children and young adults live in poverty in the United States; millions more live in families struggling to make ends meet, yet funding for vital programs that support these children and families has declined substantially over the years of budget stalemate. That's why CLASP encourages Congress to pass an omnibus spending bill that invests in those hit hardest by the extreme cuts in previous years—vulnerable, poor families.

November 2, 2015 | CLASP
The Budget Deal and Low-Income People: A Welcome Down Payment on Needed Investments

On November 2, 2015, President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 into law, providing a framework for federal spending over this year and the next. This blueprint enables Congress to move to the crucial next steps by mid-December of deciding the details of a spending bill for fiscal year 2016 (FY 2016), while leaving important unfinished business to improve the lives of low-income people.

September 30, 2015 | CLASP
Continuing Resolution Passes Congress, Critical Funding Needs Remain Unresolved

October 1, 2015 marks the start of federal Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16), as Congress passed a "Continuing Resolution" (CR) for the first 10 weeks of the fiscal year, acting at the last possible minute to keep the government running until mid-December. Yet this short-term action can't be counted as an accomplishment because the CR fails fundamentally to meet the resource needs of programs that support low-income families, as it temporarily continues last year's inadequate funding levels—the lowest in a decade, adjusted for inflation—for all annually appropriated federal programs.

June 25, 2015 | CLASP
A House Labor/HHS Funding Bill That Fails to Meet the Nation's Needs

On June 24, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives' Appropriations Committee passed a bill to provide funding for discretionary programs in the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (the Labor/H budget) for fiscal year (FY) 2016. This annual appropriations bill funds a wide range of programs and services, including education, workforce, child care, and Head Start, many of which serve low-income workers and families.

May 8, 2015 | CLASP
House and Senate Budget Makes Wrong Choices for Hard-Working Poor, Low-Income People

Writing a budget is an exercise in making choices, which means that every budget sends a signal about priorities. The budget resolution that passed with overwhelming Republican support in the U. S. House and Senate reflects priority choices that would make it more challenging for hard-working poor and low-income people to lift themselves and their families to economic security, damaging critical programs that support work and that are necessary to grow our economy for all, not just for those at the top.

April 3, 2015 | CLASP
Congressional Leadership Budgets vs. Positive Budget Alternatives: The Road Not Taken Leads to a Stronger America

Before leaving the nation's capital for a two-week spring recess, the House and Senate passed separate budget resolutions with roadmaps drawn by Republican leadership intended to lead, in the words of the House budget, to a "stronger America." Despite the stated goal, however, both the House and Senate budget resolutions as passed risk substantial damage to the federal programs that poor and low-income children, families, and individuals rely on to lift themselves to economic security. But there are more promising paths forward for our country than those included in the House- and Senate-passed resolutions.

March 20, 2015 | CLASP
This Week's Congressional Leadership Budget Proposals: A Roadmap to Nowhere for Low-Income Individuals and Families

The budget proposals offered this week by the U.S. House and Senate are important statements by Republican leaders about their values and priorities for our country. These proposals serve as roadmaps for how policymakers believe government can get from where we are today to where they would like the nation to be down the road.

February 4, 2015 | Olivia Golden
Statement by Olivia Golden on President Obama's FY 2016 Budget

President Obama's budget features ambitious and thoughtful proposals to create opportunity for children and youth, help struggling low-income families move into the middle class and succeed once there, and invest in America's labor force.

December 16, 2014 | CLASP
The 2015 'CRomnibus' and What It Means for Low-Income People

After pushing the deadline to the limit, both the U.S. Senate and House have approved a bill to fund the federal government—with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security—through the end of the 2015 fiscal year on September 30, 2015, averting what would have been a second federal shutdown in as many years. The bill was dubbed a "CRomnibus" because it is a hybrid between a continuing resolution (CR) often used for short-term budget extensions and an omnibus budget bill, which typically funds the federal budget for an entire fiscal year.

November 12, 2014 | Coalition for Human Needs
CLASP Joins National Organizations Calling on Congress to Enact Full-Year Funding

CLASP has joined with the Coalition on Human Needs and more than 160 national organizations in urging Congress to pass a full-year funding bill that meets urgent needs before the current temporary appropriations bill expires on December 11. The organizations include faith groups, a wide range of service providers, labor, expert policy groups, and other important advocates, together representing millions of people nationwide.

September 18, 2014 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch
Congress Passes Temporary Spending Bill to Keep Government Running

On September 17 and 18, 2014, both chambers of Congress passed a continuing resolution, a bill that allows federally funded programs to continue at current spending levels and that will keep the government running through December 11, 2014.

December 13, 2013 | Tom Salyers
Budget Deal Would Halt Some Sequester Woes, Provide Fiscal Stability

As pundits dissect the proposed budget deal hammered out by the committee co-chaired by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), CLASP is examining the proposal with a focus on how it affects low-income children, families and individuals.

November 7, 2013 | Olivia Golden
Recommendations to the Congressional Budget Conference Committee

CLASP offers recommendations to the Congressional Budget Conference Committee, including ending sequestration and defending core programs for low-income people.

October 18, 2013 | Olivia Golden
The Real Costs of the Federal Shutdown

Even when celebrating the resumption of federal operations, we need to look closely at the true costs of start-and-stop government, including the damage it does to high-quality, reliable, and effective public services. When you tally the real costs this way, they add up to far more than the short-term economic losses for families and communities.

October 18, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Tom Salyers
The Federal Government is Open Again

Thanks to Congress passing and President Obama signing H.R. 2775, the government was able to re-open October 17 after a 16-day partial shutdown. This fact sheet describes the headlines of what H.R. 2775 does.

October 9, 2013 | Olivia Golden
Why Cherry-Picking Programs is No Way to Govern

Piecemeal solutions to the federal government shutdown just will not work, because families that use Head Start and WIC also need what all the rest of us need: USDA inspectors on the job to make sure food is safe, CDC public health experts monitoring flu infections, scientists finding the next breakthrough in health, worker safety experts at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration protecting us on-the-job, and all the rest of the work of the federal government. The effort by the leadership in the House to cherry-pick certain programs for funding while neglecting to act on the overall budget is a dangerous precedent and an ineffective way to govern.

October 1, 2013 | Tom Salyers
What a Federal Government Shutdown Means for Low-Income People

A CLASP Q&A discusses hw a partial federal government shutdown could affect programs that support low-income families and individuals.

August 27, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch
Sequester II: The Scariest Sequel This Fall, Coming to a Community Near You??

During the last days of 2012, the political news was dominated by stories of the "fiscal cliff" and "sequestration." At the last minute, Congress and the President came to a deal that extended most of the Bush-era tax cuts and other provisions that would otherwise have expired on January 1, 2013. Taxes were allowed to rise for some of the wealthiest households, and payroll taxes returned to their usual levels. Congress temporarily postponed the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts of sequestration - but they began to take effect on March 1. These cuts have disproportionately affected the poor and vulnerable - children in Head Start, homeless families hoping for a housing subsidy, Native American students at Tribal schools.

July 18, 2013 | Marcie Foster
Senate Continues Higher Education Investments in Low-Income Students

The budget President Obama released this week was not the typical Administration budget. Usually, the President's budget is a statement of his vision for the country and his priorities for spending. It traditionally comes before the House and Senate budget resolutions and lays out the agenda that he thinks Congress should follow.

July 17, 2013 | CLASP
Senate, House on Contrasting Paths for 2014 Spending; Funding for Low-Income Workers, Families at Stake

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the bill to provide funding for the federal Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education for fiscal year 2014, which begins on October 1, 2013. This bill would provide slightly higher overall funding levels than appropriated for FY 2013, allowing for targeted new investments. However, the House Appropriations Committee is headed down a very different path. It has not yet released a bill to assign funding levels to specific programs, but its budget for these Departments is significantly less—by $44 billion—and would necessitate reductions to key programs that help low-income families gain and maintain economic security.

July 10, 2013 | CLASP
Senate Labor-HHS Mark-up Shows Significant Investment in Early Childhood

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the bill to provide funding for the federal Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education for fiscal year 2014, which begins on October 1, 2013. These Departments are in charge of a huge range of programs and services, many of which serve low-income workers and families. This bill would provide slightly higher overall funding levels than appropriated for FY 2013, allowing for targeted new investments.

April 12, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch
Obama Proposal Combines High-Stakes Poker on Federal Budget, Important Proposals for Low-Income People

The budget President Obama released this week was not the typical Administration budget. Usually, the President's budget is a statement of his vision for the country and his priorities for spending. It traditionally comes before the House and Senate budget resolutions and lays out the agenda that he thinks Congress should follow.

March 29, 2013 | Helly Lee
Budget Amendment Foreshadows Immigration Debate Ahead

Last Friday was full of action on the Senate floor as the budget vote-a-rama was in full swing. Among the hundreds of amendments introduced, Senator Sessions (AL) offered one that would have prohibited both undocumented and lawfully present immigrants from qualifying for health care subsidies through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid.

March 12, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch
Follow the Money...or What Federal Budget Proposals Say about our Priorities

Last week, Senate Democrats and House Republicans moved forward on budget resolutions that offer visions of the role of the federal government and our nations' priorities. Both set targets for federal spending and revenues in fiscal years 2014 and beyond, but they would move the nation in dramatically different directions.

March 12, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Tom Salyers
Confused by the Federal Budget? You're not alone.

We have a habit here Inside the Beltway of speaking in code and getting so deep into the woods on policy issues that we only see the trees and not the forest. Clearly, we are at that point right now in the continuing saga of the federal budget. Here's a quick rundown on just three of the terms being bandied about that are very likely to confuse many nationwide—and probably even the majority of us in DC!

January 2, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch
The Fiscal Cliff Deal: What's Changed and What's Still in Play

The deal that Congress reached to avert the fiscal cliff extended federal unemployment insurance benefits, and continued the Recovery Act improvements to critical refundable tax credits. It postponed the across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration for 2 months. Much is still to be decided over the next few months.

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