The President’s Budget: Shifting a Harmful, Unjust Burden to the Most Vulnerable

From: Kathy Guthrie

Legislative Action Message

The President’s Budget: Shifting a Harmful, Unjust Burden to the Most Vulnerable - FCNL

House and Senate Budget Committees this week began putting together the federal budget for next year. The stakes are high, and the debate contentious.The votes in the weeks ahead are likely to be close.

The president’s plan would, over the next five years, waste more than $2.5 trillion on wars and preparing for war, and it would cut taxes, primarily for the wealthiest, by at least another $285 billion (and much more over the next ten years). To reduce the deficits caused by these priorities, the president’s budget would shift the burden of deficit reduction to the most vulnerable by cutting funding for programs that address human needs.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the president’s plan, if enacted, will increase the debt by at least $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years - not counting the future cost of the wars and other emergencies which will increase the debt still further.

Act Now

The House and Senate are on a fast track to complete their budget work early in this short legislative year. March through early April will be key. Please contact your senators and representative now. Urge them to oppose balancing the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable.

To see talking points and write a letter to your senators and representative visit

Read More

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates the president’s budget would cut domestic discretionary programs $183 billion below the current services baseline over the next five years (adjusted for inflation). The president’s proposed cuts and changes to mandatory programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps would be in addition to that - more than $40 billion over five years, according to the Coalition on Human Needs.

To reduce the deficits caused by the mounting costs of the wars, runaway military spending, and tax cuts for the wealthiest, the president would cut programs that serve the poor, the young, the disabled, the disadvantaged, the elderly, and low- and middle-income households. Funding for education, training, employment, and social services would be cut more than $27 billion (24%) next year alone. Health care for the elderly and poor (Medicare and Medicaid), community services, food and nutrition programs, housing for the elderly and disabled, and child care assistance would also be cut below current services levels.

The president would cut environmental protection and conservation programs by $4.3 billion (13%) for next year. Energy efficiency and renewable energy programs would be cut 1% to just over $1 billion, and energy conservation programs, an even smaller crumb in the budget pie, would be cut 15% to only $662 million. Adjusted for inflation, these cuts go even deeper into current levels of services.

The Indian Health Service budget would increase about 3.5%, which is about the rate of inflation, but it would not keep up with increasing demand due to population growth, and it would still fall far short of what is needed to close the wide disparity between Indian Country and the rest of the U.S. in the quality and availability of health care. Other Native American programs (education, housing, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and law enforcement programs) would be frozen or cut. Again, adjusted for inflation, these cuts go even deeper into current levels of services.

In the president’s plan, funding for international development and humanitarian assistance, key to the peaceful prevention of deadly conflict, would increase $1.9 billion (14.3%) to $14.9 billion. (Omitted from this total are funds for wasteful, ill-conceived overseas anti-narcotics programs.) Overall funding for non-military international affairs, adding to the above State Department and foreign information and exchange activities (but excluding foreign military financing, economic support funds for Israel, and other security assistance) would increase $4.6 billion (23%) to $24.4 billion. This is a trend in the right direction, but falls far short of the level of need.

More Information

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “Program Cuts in the President’s Budget: Cuts Grow Deeper Over Time and Will Hit States Hard,” Feb. 23, 2006

Coalition on Human Needs, “Guide to the FY 2007 Federal Budget: What’s at Stake for Human Needs,” March 7, 2006 (PDF)

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