by Aubrey Boggs, Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator
The White House has proposed a budget that would harm most people in our country, but especially individuals living in poverty and people with disabilities. From cutting over $800 billion from Medicaid over the next ten years, to hacking away at nutritional assistance programs and welfare funding. SAMHSA funding for behavioral health would also be drastically cut, creating an even less supportive system of recovery and mental health/substance use services for Americans. Our health systems are already in poor shape, and cutting more funding from those systems will create a much less supportive and holistic system than we already have.
Not surprisingly, this budget favors Americans that don’t require social services for survival. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explained, the proposed 2018 budget “would likely shift trillions of dollars of resources away from low- and middle-income people and toward the highest-income Americans, thereby increasing inequality, hampering mobility, and worsening poverty and hardship” (Shapiro, Parrott, Friedman, & Huang, 2017).
In the end, our individual feelings about the current administration are irrelevant to this issue. This budget would hurt all Americans, no matter who they voted for, especially those with disabilities.
According to the Center for American Progress:
President Trump’s budget breaks that promise by proposing cuts of $72 billion over the next decade, largely by targeting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Notably, under the guise of encouraging work, Trump’s budget would make it harder for workers with disabilities to access the benefits they need by adding more red tape to an already difficult eligibility determination process.
(Robbins, Stein, Odum, Zonta, & West, 2017)
So what can we do? How do we fight to keep our healthcare and social programs safe?
It can be easy to feel helpless when people with power wield that power against those they are supposed to serve. However, our legislators, despite the power they wield, work for us. Their votes are meant to represent their constituents, and we must hold them accountable and remind them that they represent us. Call, write, email, or ask to schedule a meeting with your legislators. Your voice matters, and your voice has power.
Let’s remind our legislators who they work for, and what we expect of them.
Find your house representative here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Find your senators here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Robbins, K. G., Stein, H., Odum, J., Zonta, M., & West, R. (2017, May 23). The Trump Budget’s Attack on People with Disabilities. Center for American Progress.
Shapiro, I., Parrott, S., Friedman, J., & Huang , C.-C. (2017, May 19). Previewing the Trump Budget: More “Robin Hood in Reverse” and Gimmicks? Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.