For Immediate Release: April 05, 2011

House Budget Proposal Is Political and Disingenuous

Purports to balance the budget but slashes programs for low-income people, maintains tax breaks for the wealthy

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) today released a proposed budget for FY 2012. The budget cuts workforce development programs, raises the real cost of tuition and college expenses for low-income students by decreasing Pell grant aid, slashes spending on health care and nutrition assistance for low-income people by block granting Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and undoes health care reform. At the same time, the budget proposal cuts taxes for the richest households and sets an arbitrary cap on revenues below the levels needed to meet the nation's critical priorities.

Following is a statement by Alan W. Houseman, executive director of CLASP, the Center for Law and Social Policy, regarding the budget proposal. 

"The House has released a budget proposal that purports to set the nation on a ‘path to prosperity' and to ‘strengthen the social safety net' by slashing it. Behind that Orwellian rhetoric is a fundamental approach to government that limits the ability of those at the bottom to get the education and training necessary to acquire a good job, get nutritious food for their children or to access health care. 

"The budget is highly political and as dubious and disingenuous for what it excludes as for what it includes. Tax increases and other revenue raisers are off the table, yet programs that alleviate poverty, promote opportunity and truly provide a ‘path to prosperity' are targets for deep cuts.

"During a press conference today, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said the budget represents ‘our choice for America's future.' The problem is that the House choice isn't consistent with the nation's values.  Given a ‘choice', people want to get jobs, contribute to the nation's growth and pay taxes. Given a ‘choice', Americans don't want children to go hungry. Given a choice, Americans want a government that works as well for Main Street Americans as it does for the wealthy few.  America wants a path to prosperity for everyone.

"Leaders from the left and right, through the deficit commission and other venues, have called for a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not lean on sleight of hand or the poor to fix the problems we face.  The House budget proposal pays lip service to this principle, while violating it at every turn.

"As both the House and Senate continue to debate FY 2012 funding, we urge them to chart a true path to prosperity-one that feeds and clothes those in need, provides affordable health care, and supports job training and education from birth through college while making appropriate and reasonable changes to the tax code and entitlement programs."

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