Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The People's Budget - Parts Five And Six

In opposition to the odious and onerous budgets proposed by Donald Trump and the congressional Republicans, the Congressional Progressive Caucus has released its own budget proposal (which they call The People's Budget: A Roadmap For The Resistance). In the last couple of days, I brought you the first four parts of that proposed budget. Today, the fifth and sixth parts of it are revealed below:


Investing in students’ ability to learn is one of the most important investments we can make. The People’s Budget invests in our students by providing robust early learning opportunities, effective 21st century public schools and debt-free college. All kids, regardless of their zip code, deserve access to quality schools. Teachers and educational professionals deserve ample support to ensure they can enable student success. The People’s Budget also prioritizes access to higher education opportunities and puts forward a proposal to ensure students are not leaving college riddled with unmanageable debt.

Child Care and Early Education for All Our budget invests $1 trillion to ensure that families are able to afford high quality child care and early education for their children. Our budget ensures that families will not have to pay more than 10 percent of their income for child care, whether that care is at home or at a child care center. The People’s Budget prioritizes middle class and working class families through targeted benefits and credits. Importantly, our budget address the unacceptably low wages child care workers receive by creating a payment structure to ensure these workers a living wage.

Full Funding for Early Head Start The People’s Budget helps struggling families get a strong start in the critical prenatal to toddler years. Fully funding this successful program will provide continuous and comprehensive services ensuring families are engaged in their children’s learning and are ready to support their lifelong success. The current shortfall in funding results in quality and equity gaps across our states. Through fully funding Head Start, our budget aims to attack this problem head on.

Universal Pre-K Our Budget provides universal access to quality pre-k programs, which will expand social mobility by helping low-income and at-risk students read and write at the same rates as their peers. Additionally, our budget seeks to full invest in Preschool Development Grants to ensure that our young children are receiving the educational opportunities they deserve. 

IDEA Full Funding The CPC Budget fulfills the original promise of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by ensuring that children with disabilities have access to a free, high-quality public education.

Robust Title I Funding Our budget upholds our nation’s commitment to public education by fully funding Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Title I is the most powerful mechanism available for driving improvements in educational outcomes for poor children.

Support for Our Educators The People’s Budget provides professional development, resources, and support for all school personnel. These investments will promote best-practices and allow educators to effectively serve diverse learners, as well as foster and sustain an environment that allows all students to learn successfully.

Computer Science for All The CPC Budget expands access to computer science in public education by financing teacher training and ongoing professional development. This funding will build capacity and generate inclusive, high-quality instructional materials to engage every child pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade to ensure that our students are equipped with the computational thinking skills required in a 21st century economy. Additionally, The People’s Budget fully supports Congresswoman Lee’s Computer Science for All bill, which would authorize new competitive grants to school districts and states for STEM programs that have a particular focus on increasing access to girls and students of color. 

Student Loan Refinancing The People’s Budget allows students to refinance their loans at lower rates and allows private borrowers to shift to more affordable government loans. Allowing student borrowers to reduce their debt will free up income for purchases and will have a job- creating ripple effect throughout the entire economy.

Makes Debt Free College A Reality and Reduces Student Loan Interest Rates The People’s Budget supports efforts such as Rep. Jayapal’s College for All Act which provides $41 billion per year for states and tribes to eliminate undergraduate tuition and fees at public colleges and universities. Under this legislation, more than 80% of students from families making up to $125,000 a year would be able to attend a public four-year college tuition and fee free. This bill would also reduce new borrower interest rates to just 1.88%. Further, the budget supports robust funding for federal student aid programs to ensure that students with the greatest need are able to access higher education. By treating higher education as a public good worth investing in, we can once again make higher education accessible to all.


Americans are working longer hours and taking home paychecks that haven’t kept up with the rising costs of health care, housing, and education. Congressional Republicans and President Trump continue to double down on cuts to our most proven anti-poverty programs at the expense of lining the pockets of billionaires. We know that without vital programs such as Social Security, nutrition assistance, and tax credits for working families, our nation's poverty rate would be nearly twice as high as it is today. This is why The People’s Budget rejects any cuts to programs that provide basic living standards and instead expands them to meet the needs of millions of Americans.

A staggering 43 million Americans are living in poverty, including one in five children. These statistics are even more tragic in our vulnerable communities, including communities of color, seniors, and women. Drastic Republican budget cuts and tax breaks for the wealthy and ultra- rich have made things harder for struggling and working families. It is past time we make concrete commitments to confront economic insecurity head-on, create pathways out of poverty and into the middle class, and provide opportunities for all. The People’s Budget expands and strengthens proven anti-poverty programs and initiatives and restores cuts to our nation’s vital programs.

Higher Minimum Wage, Collective Bargaining and Paid Leave

Raising Wages by Empowering Workers The CPC Budget calls for congressional action to improve America’s labor and workplace laws, so workers can bargain together for better pay, benefits, and a meaningful voice in the workplace. By raising the minimum wage, passing the Workplace Democracy Act, the Wage Act, ending state-based right-to-work, and updating overtime regulations to raise the income threshold to $69,000, we can help workers help themselves.The CPC Budget also supports gradually eliminating the outdated and unfair subminimum wage for tipped workers. This is an opportunity to guarantee fair pay for the nearly six million tipped workers across the country, and to address the economic insecurity that workers face when so much of their income depends on tips left by customers. 

Additionally, workers should also be able to care for loved ones and themselves when family crises arise. The People’s Budget endorses Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s (D-CT) Healthy Families Act to provide workers with up to 7 days of paid sick leave, which would help prevent the nearly $160 billion in lost productivity suffered by American businesses every year due to the spread of sickness in the workplace. The budget also endorses executive action that would give preference federal contractors that do more than just the legal minimum by providing living wages, paid leave, and covering health care for their workers. It would also require contractors to respect their employees’ right to collectively bargain.

Worker Protection Agencies Our budget proposes an increase funding for worker protection agencies. According to the Economic Policy Institute, survey evidence suggests that wage theft alone costs workers billions of dollars a year. The funding increase in our budget will support agencies that enforce workplace safety, protect workers’ retirement savings and stop wage- theft violators.

4 Percent Federal Pay Increase The People’s Budget opposes President Trump’s hiring freeze on our dedicated federal employees because it ultimately weakens our government’s ability to serve our nation. Instead, we increase agencies budgets within discretionary funding to provide a 4 percent pay increase to dedicated civil servants who work on behalf of the American people every single day. Years of austerity through furloughs and pay freezes have made the federal government a less attractive place to work and federal wage growth continues to lag behind the private sector. The People’s Budget ensures that the federal government will be able to compete for the best and the brightest candidates. 

Paid Leave The People’s Budget encourages the adoption of paid leave in states. It provides states with funding and technical assistance necessary to establish successful paid leave programs to create a healthy workforce. It also includes Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s (D-NY) Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act to provide six weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees within the budget’s discretionary funding increases. As the nation’s largest employer, the federal government should be a leader in family friendly policies.

Fair trade Bad trade deals have had a devastating impact on American workers and have resulted in jobs being shipped overseas. The United States should take all steps necessary to ensure trade deals are made with workers’ interest at heart. The CPC Budget supports a strong Trade Adjustment Assistance program. Trade Adjustment assistance provides necessary assistance for workers who have lost their jobs due to the impact of trade. According to the Department of Labor, since 1975, over 2 million workers have relied on TAA to train for new employment and make ends meet.

Strengthens basic living standards

Restore SNAP The People’s Budget restores cuts made to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and permanently adopts the enhanced levels established in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. We know that the vast majority of SNAP recipients are households with children, seniors and individuals with disabilities, but recent cuts lowered average benefits by $127 per person in 2016. Moreover, The People’s Budget opposes the three- month time limit for unemployed childless adults who cannot find work through no fault of their own. Providing families with basic food security through SNAP is one of the most effective anti- poverty tools and helps stimulate our economy.

Increase Child Nutrition Funding The CPC Budget rejects any block grants to school meal programs that would put children’s nutrition at risk. It provides an additional $10.8 billion for child nutrition programs to expand the program and improve summer meals. This funding also allows for expansion of preschool nutrition programs, increases in meal reimbursements to fulfill the new meal pattern, an additional meal or snack for children in long-term care, expanded program eligibility, and investments in school meals and kitchens.

Emergency Unemployment Compensation The People’s Budget allows those who have lost a job through no fault of their own to claim up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits in high-unemployment states for up to two years.

Invests in Women and Communities of Color

Support for Women and Communities of Color Women and communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by continual Republican budget cuts that contribute to the growing wealth gap. Our Budget provides desperately needed funds to programs such as Head Start, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), among many others. The People’s Budget recognizes that equal work deserves equal pay and supports efforts to reduce the gender pay gap between men and women. 

Our budget rejects discriminatory funding restrictions on reproductive health that disproportionately harm low-income women and women of color. The People’s Budget also supports Rep. Keith Ellison’s (D-MN) Hygiene Assistance for Families of Infants and Toddlers Act of 2017, which would create a demonstration program for distributing diapers. This legislation would create a pilot program allowing states to distribute diapers to eligible families.

The CPC Budget also supports targeting resources to the most vulnerable populations by using the “10-20-30 Formula.” This language requires that at least 10 percent of the federal funds in certain accounts be directed to certain areas that have had a poverty rate of 20 percent for the last 30 years. This non-partisan proposal will ensure that federal resources are actually reaching communities most in need to improve the economic and social conditions in these distressed communities that have long struggled with persistent poverty. 

The People’s Budget also supports Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s (D-CA) Half-in-Ten Act, which would establish the Federal Interagency Working Group on Reducing Poverty. This coalition would develop and implement a national strategy to reduce poverty by half in ten years, as well as provide regular reports on their progress to Congress. The Half-in-Ten Act is focused around a central principle of combating poverty in America, with the initial goal of cutting it in half in ten years. The bill also calls for improving the coordination of state, local, and federal efforts to lift vulnerable American families out of poverty and into the middle class.


Over the past 30 years, the LGBT community has made great strides toward equality and acceptance, but full equality for LGBT individuals will not be reached until key civil rights priorities are realized. The CPC Budget is committed to ensuring equality for LGBT Americans through a number of key policy proposals. 

Legal Protections for All Americans — As a part of the CPC’s commitment to the LGBT community, it is pivotal that everybody is considered equal in the eyes of the law, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. The People’s Budget supports the Equality Act, a comprehensive bill that provides equal rights for LGBT individuals in many areas affecting individuals’ daily lives by prohibiting discrimination in including employment, access to housing and credit, education, public accommodations, federally funded programs, and jury service.  This legislation is essential to securing legal protections for all LGBT people.

Housing According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, approximately 40% of youth served by agencies identify as LGBT. The People’s Budget commits robust funding for both Community Development Block Grants and the HOME Program to assist this population. Additionally, The People’s Budget invests $12.8 billion in mandatory spending to end family homelessness by 2020.

Immigration According to the Williams Institute, there are nearly 1 million LGBT adult immigrants in the United States, many of whom are undocumented. The People’s Budget includes comprehensive immigration reform, which will help lift the daunting barriers faced by LGBT immigrants when they apply for visas, asylum, or other status.

Transgender Violence The Congressional Progressive Caucus stands strongly against the epidemic of violence that the transgender community faces every day, especially transgender women of color. The investments included in The People’s Budget, including funding for LGBT domestic violence programs authorized under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), will ensure that the transgender community will have access to affordable housing, health care, education, and employment that will help transgender individuals fully live their authentic lives without fear. 

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