September 23, 2023

The brand new proposal from a bunch of 176 Home Republicans would increase the retirement age for Social Safety and Medicare, ban free faculty meals for college students, reduce spending on meals assist, and weaken environmental protections.

The 2024 election is greater than a 12 months away, however we acquired a glimpse into the priorities of Home Republicans final week, when the Republican Research Committee (RSC) launched its proposed funds for the 2024 fiscal 12 months, a 167-page doc that requires making cuts to Social Safety and Medicare, eliminating free faculty meals for youths, and an entire lot extra.

The RSC is a bunch of conservative Home members that was fashioned in 1973 and contains about three-quarters of Home Republicans, together with 176 lawmakers from 38 states. There are three Virginia representatives on the committee: Rep. Ben Cline, Rep. Bob Good, and Rep. Robert J. Wittman. 

The sheer measurement of the RSC successfully makes the group’s funds doc a dependable indicator of the place the bigger Home GOP caucus stands on key points.

Listed below are 5 of probably the most notable proposals within the RSC’s new funds: 

Gutting Social Safety and Medicare 

For years, congressional Republicans have repeatedly tried to chop and/or privatize Medicare and Social Safety, however have failed amid staunch Democratic resistance to such efforts.

With the discharge of the Republican Research Committee’s funds, Republicans have ramped again up their assaults on these applications. 

The proposed funds would make cuts to Social Safety by elevating the retirement age, although it doesn’t particularly say what that new retirement age can be. Advantages would even be decreased for individuals who earned a “larger wage” earlier than retirement, however the funds once more doesn’t specify what that threshold can be. The funds additionally assures that there would solely be “modest changes” to Social Safety because it operates now, however once more, doesn’t define precisely what meaning.

“The funds fearmongers about Social Safety’s modest shortfall (nonetheless a decade away) however then guidelines out any choices for elevating income, corresponding to requiring billionaires to contribute even a penny extra,” Nancy Altman, president of Social Safety Works, a nonprofit which goals to increase social applications, mentioned in a press release. “That leaves profit cuts as the one ‘resolution.’ In different phrases, they need to reduce advantages now to keep away from chopping them later, which isn’t an answer in any respect.” 

The funds additionally proposes requiring disabled folks to attend longer earlier than they will entry Medicare advantages. GOP lawmakers are in favor of turning Medicare right into a “premium help system,” the place seniors would as a substitute obtain a subsidy they may use on non-public plans competing towards conventional Medicare. This might result in 1000’s of {dollars} in extra out of pocket prices for American seniors throughout america, and would siphon Medicare funds to non-public insurance coverage firms. 

“Premium help ends the Medicare assure,” Social Safety Works mentioned in its  assertion. “As a substitute, seniors should fend for themselves on the open market with nothing however a coupon to offset as a lot of the price of the insurance coverage that they will discover.” 

Making Trump’s Tax Cuts Everlasting

In February, a bunch of greater than 70 Home Republicans launched laws that might make former President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts for people—which primarily benefited the tremendous wealthy—everlasting. 

The Republican Research Committee’s Price range additionally desires to make the person provisions of Trump’s tax cuts—which gave a roughly $49,000 tax reduce to the highest 1%, and solely $500 to these within the backside 60%—everlasting. Doing so, in line with a Congressional Price range Workplace evaluation, would value round $2.2 trillion by way of 2032, spiking the nationwide debt. A Tax Coverage Middle evaluation additionally estimated that the extension would ship a mean tax reduce of $175,710 to the richest 0.1%.

The funds additionally proposes eliminating the property tax, which solely impacts those that inherit property value at the very least $13 million.

Banning Common Free College Meals 

Many states throughout the nation have handed laws—or are within the strategy of passing laws—that would supply common free faculty meals to kids, a confirmed option to scale back childhood starvation, enhance college students’ well being and educational efficiency, and save households cash on groceries.

A invoice was launched in Virginia this 12 months that might set up common free meals for elementary and secondary faculty college students throughout the commonwealth. The invoice, which was blocked by the Republican-led state Home, would additionally concurrently render all present faculty lunch debt out of date. 

The Republican Research Committee’s funds goals to place a cease to such measures. It particularly states that eliminating the Group Eligibility Provision, or CEP, from the Nationwide College Lunch Program, is a precedence. The funds states that it is because “CEP permits sure faculties to supply free faculty lunches whatever the particular person eligibility of every pupil.” 

Not each faculty in america even participates on this program. In actuality, it’s a meal service program reserved for qualifying faculties and districts in low-income areas. It permits for American kids from low-income backgrounds to eat throughout their faculty day, with out faculties having to gather family functions, or “means-test” their college students, which successfully means limiting eligibility for sure populations on account of their earnings. 

Means-testing has additionally been proven to inadvertently exclude individuals who are eligible for sure applications as a result of purple tape that’s created by implementing such earnings limits and exams. And as Vox notes, “means testing has additionally lengthy been related to an ethical argument that some segments of the inhabitants are deserving of presidency advantages, whereas others usually are not.”

Analysis has additionally proven that the CEP program “improves meals safety and dietary outcomes” for youngsters. The Republican Research Committee Price range goals to place a cease to that. 

New Work Necessities for Federal Packages and Chopping Advantages

The RSC funds additionally requires “all federal profit applications [to] be reformed to incorporate work promotion necessities.” Sure necessities have at all times needed to be met to be eligible for these applications, however the RSC funds extends them so dramatically that tens of millions of Individuals may very well be prone to shedding key assist they should survive. 

For instance, the funds references the “considerably decrease labor drive participation fee of 64.6% for these aged 55-64,” and states that the answer to this “downside” is extending work necessities for this group of individuals. As The New Republic notes, there may very well be any variety of the reason why fewer folks in that age group are working: bodily or psychological well being points, needing to assist care for household, and extra. 

As a substitute of addressing any of these points, the funds proposes that the answer is having older Individuals work extra as a way to qualify for sure federal advantages. 

These applications embody the Supplemental Vitamin Help Program (which helps 41 million Individuals feed their households yearly). The funds additionally proposes as a substitute that SNAP be transformed right into a “discretionary block grant,” given to states based mostly on charges of unemployment, poverty, and the size of time beneficiaries obtain assist. 

Whereas Republicans have lengthy embraced block grants, financial specialists have identified that as a result of funding ranges for block grants are usually mounted, there’s no flexibility to extend funding to answer recessions, pure disasters, or easy will increase in demand for a program. 

For instance, if states’ SNAP applications had been funded by way of block grants in the course of the pandemic—when tens of millions extra households wanted meals assist and relied on this system—it will have made it tougher for the federal government to really reply to the crises by boosting SNAP advantages, as they did. In a state of affairs the place SNAP was funded by way of block grants, states would have both needed to reduce eligibility or advantages, or tackle the upper prices. 

Weakening Environmental Protections 

Smog from Canadian wildfires enveloped the East Coast earlier this month. 1000’s of useless fish washed up on Texas’ Gulf Coast final week. The earth is hotter now than it’s been in 800,000 years.

Whereas that is all occurring—and as a substitute of proposing options—the Republican Research Committee’s funds desires to reinstate former president Trump’s deregulatory govt orders, which embody a spread of orders associated to environmental safety. 

For instance, the Trump administration changed the Clear Energy Plan, which helped scale back electrical energy sector greenhouse fuel emissions, with the Reasonably priced Clear Power rule, which didn’t set greenhouse fuel emission tips for states utilizing emission efficiency charges. An evaluation carried out by the Environmental Safety Company (EPA) discovered that not like the Clear Energy Plan, the ACE rule would improve CO2 emissions by over 60 million quick tons by 2030.

The Trump administration additionally lifted oil and pure fuel extraction bans. Based on the World Wildlife Fund, oil and fuel exploration and improvement “causes disruption of migratory pathways, degradation of essential animal habitats, and oil spills—which will be devastating to the animals and people who depend upon these ecosystems.”

Trump’s administration additionally weakened the Coal Ash Rule, which regulates the disposal of poisonous coal waste. With out regulation, coal waste can pollute waterways, floor water, consuming water, and the air, in line with the EPA.

The Republican Research Committee’s funds proposes that these environmental dangers, and plenty of extra, be reinstated.