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March 27, 2015 at 11:00 PM
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CBPP

This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the congressional budget plans, federal and state taxes, health, and housing.

  • On the congressional budget plans, Robert Greenstein pointed out that despite Republicans’ anti-fraud rhetoric, the House and Senate budget plans leave out funding for “program integrity” activities that are proven to save money. David Reich noted that the plans have no plans to fix sequestration’s tight constraints on non-entitlement programs and described how both plans will dramatically cut transportation infrastructure funding.  Richard Kogan revealed that the plans each get 69 percent of their cuts to non-defense spending from programs that serve people of limited means.  Isaac Shapiro found that the plans would ultimately cut programs for low- and moderate-income people by about 40 percent.  Jessica Schubel described the Medicaid cuts that the House budget plan could force states to make.  Brandon DeBot explained how the House budget plan’s deep cuts to Pell Grants would reduce college access for low- and modest-income students.  Douglas Rice described how the House and Senate budget plans fail to fully reverse the loss of 100,000 housing vouchers due to the sequestration budget cuts.  Shannon Spillane translated the language congressional Republicans are using to make their budget plans sound benign and even positive.  We also updated our congressional budget roundup with everything you need to know about the House and Senate plans.
  • On federal and state taxes, Chuck Marr explained why the House Ways and Means Committee bill to repeal the federal estate tax on inherited wealth would create more inequality and bigger deficits and pointed out House Republicans’ misguided priorities in backing estate tax repeal. Michael Mitchell described how major tax-cutting states are looking to cut their higher education budgets further to patch their budget holes.
  • On health, Edwin Park highlighted a bipartisan House bill that permanently fixes Medicare’s flawed physician payment formula, extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through 2017, and makes permanent the Qualifying Individuals program, which provides premium assistance for low-income recipients. Jesse Cross-Call described how extending CHIP funding would ease pressure on states as they formulate their budgets for the next fiscal year.
  • On housing, Will Fischer explained why the Senate should quickly approve a House-passed measure to streamline rental assistance for people with fixed incomes.

This week, we released papers on the congressional budget plans’ disproportionate cuts in programs for people with limited means, proposed cuts to Pell Grants for higher education, the compromise to fix Medicare’s physician payment formula and extend CHIP, and how the Obama budget restores housing vouchers. We posted a fact sheet on  big cuts in state income taxes not yielding promised benefits and a paper on state innovations in leveraging technology for health and human services.  We updated our reports on eliminating the estate tax and ten facts you should know about the estate tax. We also updated our backgrounders on unemployment compensation and the estate tax.

CBPP’s Chart of the Week – House, Senate Budget Plans Each Get 69 Percent of Cuts From Low-Income Programs:

A variety of news outlets featured CBPP’s work and experts recently. Here are some highlights:

The Misguided Crusade to Kill the Estate Tax
US News and World Report
March 27, 2015

As the G.O.P. Promises to Address Inequality, Follow the Money
New Yorker
March 27, 2015

Why the House Republican budget plan matters
MSNBC.com
March 26, 2015

N.J. lawmakers push budget reforms year after surprise shortfall prompted Christie to slash pensions
NJ.com
March 24, 2015

This is no way to ease inequality
Washington Post
March 22, 2015

Join the Full Employment Project of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on March 30 for a keynote speech by former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and a discussion by leading economists about policies that can help restore and maintain full employment in U.S. labor markets. RSVP

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