At a rally on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, Saunders vowed to continue the fight for “a common-sense budget that invests in job creation and higher living standards … that empowers, instead of punishes, our most vulnerable people.”
Saunders said that AFSCME members are public service workers who never quit improving their communities.
“They have devoted their careers to lifting up their neighbors,” he said. Trump’s budget proposal, on the other hand, “undermines the work we do and the communities we serve.”
Dozens of participants – including AFSCME members, progressive allies and members of Congress – joined the rally to oppose a budget that would benefit the rich and powerful at the expense of working families.
Among other things, Trump’s proposal seeks to:
Cut Medicaid by $610 billion, setting the health care program for the poor on a path to being halved by the year 2028;
Cut domestic programs outside of the military and homeland security by $57 billion in 2018 and by $3.6 trillion over 10 years. That includes slashing spending on housing, education, training, economic development, environmental protection, transportation, infrastructure, medical and clean energy research, food and drug safety, to name a few;
Cut public education programs by more than $10 billion, including programs that help recruit good school employees and train them to be even better;
Cut the federal match of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by $5.8 billion over 10 years, and reduce eligibility;
Cut the food stamps program, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, by more than $190 billion over 10 years;
Block abortion coverage, including a broad prohibition of money for entities that provide abortions, such as Planned Parenthood.
No wonder even members of Trump’s own party said his budget proposal was “dead on arrival.” They criticized it for hurting the very people whom Trump promised to help during the 2016 campaign.
As Saunders put it during today’s rally, “They say a budget is a statement of your values. If that’s true, then President Trump and his administration value nothing more than making rich people richer … and the hell with everybody else.”