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Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks during a news conference critical of the Republican tax and budget plan with Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at the U.S. Capitol October 4, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sanders, Democrats Rip GOP Plan to 'Erode' Safety Net With $5 Trillion in Cuts

The GOP budget, they concluded, is a "massive transfer of wealth from working families, the elderly, children, the sick, and the poor to the top one percent."

Jake Johnson, staff writer

In a new report unveiled on Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee offered a scathing assessment of the Senate GOP's recently unveiled budget blueprint, which they said would result in "a massive transfer of wealth from working families, the elderly, children, the sick, and the poor to the top one percent."

"This budget takes the safety net and erodes it in a way that we have never seen before."
—Rep. Barbara Lee

The report highlighted in particular the Republicans' plan to slash funding for Medicare and Medicaid by $470 billion and $1 trillion respectively over the next decade—a move that would have devastating consequences for tens of millions of Americans.

The analysis also points to deep cuts the GOP budget would impose on other crucial safety net programs, including:

  • A $37 billion cut to affordable housing programs, which would "eliminate" housing assistance for over a million families.
  • A $6.5 billion cut Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
  • A $3 billion cut to Head Start, which the report says would strip educational assistance from 25,000 children per year.
  • A $37 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health, "which would cut funding for Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and other critical medical research."

In total, the report estimates that the Senate GOP's budget would slash $5 trillion from non-defense spending over the next decade.

"Meanwhile, at a time when the U.S. already spends more on defense than the next 12 countries combined," the analysis notes, "the Republican budget lays the groundwork for an increase of $91 billion to the Pentagon for Fiscal Year 2018 alone—more than enough to provide free tuition at every public college and university in America."

During a press conference unveiling their analysis, Sanders and congressional Democrats slammed the Republicans and President Donald Trump for "misleading the public about their tax plan" and attempting to ram through a gift to the rich while claiming to help the working class.

"This is, like Yogi Berra said, déjà vu all over again," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). "Republicans used their Trumpcare bill to sneak in tax cuts for the rich. Now they're using their tax cut plan [to] sneak in cuts to Medicaid and Medicare. But it's the same playbook."

"This budget takes the safety net and erodes it in a way that we have never seen before," added Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).

Watch the full press conference:

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