Outside a packed hearing room on Capitol Hill, where Representative Paul Ryan presided over a mark-up of his draconian budget bill, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus held a press conference to announce their own plan: the “Budget for All,” which follows along the rough outlines of last year’s “People’s Budget.”
The exact details won’t be released for another day, but some broad outlines were made available by CPC staff: $2.4 trillion in job-creating investments like direct-hire programs, tax incentives and an infrastructure bank; ending the Bush tax cuts for top earners and instituting new tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires, while eliminating preferential treatment of capital gains and dividends; and dramatically reducing defense spending.
The members hope the “Budget for All” provides a substantive counterweight to the Ryan Budget as Congress hashes out a spending plan in the coming months. “What [the Ryan budget] is really all about is getting poor people to pay more, so that the wealthy can have all they have and not have to worry one single bit,” said Representative Jim McDermott. “If you $200 million out of Medicare, and put it into $200 million more military spending, you are crushing the middle class. You are taking away their security in the future. That’s why were offering this budget—we think people ought to have a choice.”
The CPC also released a video this morning, with several members touting budget features:
At the very least, the “Budget for All” will provide a useful public contrast to the harsher elements of Ryan’s plan. I asked Representative Raul Grijalva about Ryan’s deep education cuts in particular, which a projected to cut 45 percent of federal education spending within ten years. “What’s scary about it,” he said, “is that at a time when we need to make an investment for those babies and those students, we’re cutting. What scares me the most is that the Ryan budget concedes or promotes the idea that this nation of ours will have a permanent underclass with limited opportunity and limited access to education.”
Beyond the obvious budgetary moves—raising taxes on high earners, ending loopholes, investing in economic growth—there’s a trove of progressive priorities in the “Budget for All.” Representative Ed Markey spoke at he press conference about the SANE Act, which will be included in the budget and will cut $100 billion from nuclear weapons programs over the next decade.
Interestingly, the budget is also going to include “a publicly funded election system that gets corporate money out of politics for good.”
We’ll have more about the budget when explicit details become available.