The fiscal year 2018 budget the Trump administration sent to Congress in late May prompted a collective gasp in Washington, DC, by calling for devastating budget cuts to nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs that protect and promote the health and well-being of millions of Americans. The fact that Congress has thus far rejected the idea of arbitrarily slashing programs is heartening. But the notion that we are out of the woods is misguided.
As NDD United, an alliance of hundreds of national, state and community organization recently wrote in a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee leaders, the status quo can’t make up for seven years of austerity.
Under the terms of the Budget Control Act, nondefense discretionary programs are on track to be slashed by almost $2 trillion by 2022 as a result of post-sequestration budget cuts—cuts that take their toll on everything from heating assistance for low-income elderly to federal investments in public health, education and job training programs.
Unless Congress take steps to raise the spending cap, in 2018 NDD programs are projected to decline to 3.1 percent of GDP—the lowest level in more than five decades.
Far too many low-income children are without access to high-quality early learning opportunities. Too many workers lack the education and skills to fill the demand for approximately five million jobs. And too many research breakthroughs are being delayed—or lost forever—even as new and emerging public health threats challenge the U.S.
In an effort to stop the threat of sequestration and advance critical investments in nondefense discretionary programs, NDD United is calling on Congress and the president to Raise the Caps.
Watch this space! This fall, NDD United will be issuing an updated Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Make Us Sicker, Poorer, and Less Secure report featuring individuals from across the nation whose lives have been adversely affected by federal spending policy.