FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 19, 2017
Contact: Allie Aguilera, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-734-6529
[Washington] – Today, the House Budget Committee and House Appropriations Committee began markups on spending bills that work together to strip funding for programs that young people need to succeed in 21st century America. Together, the bills cut money from annual budgets for health care, higher education, and job training programs, while also creating a long-term budget plan that will subvert the social safety net that all Americans rely on.
The Budget Bill
The budget bill under consideration rejects bipartisan budget agreements of recent years where defense and non-defense spending were adjusted in tandem. By dramatically increasing defense spending above the caps, this budget breaks this agreement, which has served as a central tenet of compromise and bipartisanship in passing recent budgets. This action, instead of eliminating the caps altogether, increases the chances of a government shutdown in the fall. Furthermore, the proposal:
- Cuts vital investments in job training and education, as well as several other important programs, by $1.3T over ten years.
- Opens the back door for House Republicans to try again to drastically cut Medicaid, CHIP, and SNAP through reconciliation.
- Opens up the opportunity to fundamentally alter the availability of student aid.
This budget outlines a blueprint to dismantle programs that students rely on and have planned their futures around. Without any data to point to, the budget states that the Pell Grant program is on “shaky financial ground,” aiming to undermine its value, despite being one of our nation’s longest standing social mobility programs. This echoes previous budgets where mandatory Pell was subsequently eliminated and serves as a troubling warning the program is under threat of fundamental deterioration.
Additionally, the reconciliation instructions to cut funding would result in some combination of the elimination of subsidized loans, the possible narrowing or elimination of Public Service Loan Forgiveness for future borrowers, possible changes to income-based repayment plans, and other cuts to education and job training programs. To top it all off, the budget recommends going to a “fair value accounting” gimmick designed to make the loan program look more expensive than it actually is, resulting in more ammunition to slash investment and bury students under a lifetime of debt.
The Appropriations Bill
While the budget proposal is a long term vision, the proposed appropriations bill begins cutting immediately. The bill would:
- Double down on the potential Pell cuts in the budget by, on top of cutting mandatory “rainy day” funding, sucking $3.3B out of the program, and fails to renew the annual inflation adjustment to the maximum award, ensuring the purchasing power of Pell would continue to wither away;
- Eliminate the Child Care Access Means Parents In School (CCAMPIS) program that provides low-income parents with affordable child care access so they can stay enrolled and graduate;
- Freezes investment levels in Federal Work Study and Federal Supplemental Equal Opportunity Grants for low-income students at a time where further investment is needed;
- Eliminates dedicated funding to scale up apprenticeships, a proven bipartisan model for job training and education;
- Contains policy riders that further undermine the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a law that has enhanced millions of young people’s ability to obtain health care services.
“The future of our generation shouldn’t be sacrificed for budget austerity,” said Young Invincibles’ Government Affairs Director Reid Setzer. “Cutting Pell Grants and killing the mandatory “rainy day” funding stream in the program will mean instant cuts to awards and eligibility, undermining recent bipartisan improvements to the program and making its financial future much more unstable. Failing to invest in grant aid and apprenticeships, eliminating subsidized loans, and narrowing forgiveness programs will result in students taking on more debt, with fewer avenues to escape that burden. Finally, pushing a budget vision that enables the destruction of programs to ensure everyone from newborns, children, their parents, and the elderly can get sustained health care and access to food is senseless and cruel.
We thank those who introduced amendments today to reverse some of these disastrous policy decisions, including increased investment in apprenticeships, CCAMPIS and Pell Grants. Young Invincibles rejects these spending bills and urges members of Congress to do the same.”