Senate Democrats

Senate Democrats’ Budget Helps Working Families, While Bush Republican Budget Only Offers More of the Same Failed Economic Policies

America’s families are struggling to make ends meet in the midst of an economic downturn. That is why Democrats are putting the family budget first. The Senate Democrats’ budget cuts taxes for hard-working families and helps make health care, college tuition and energy more affordable. The Bush Republican budget only offers more of the same failed policies; tax breaks for multi-millionaires and special interests while underfunding America’s priorities. It’s time for a budget that helps all Americans, not just Bill Gates, Paris Hilton and Exxon Mobil.

Senate Democrats’ budget helps working families:

Senate Democrats’ Budget Provides AMT Relief for 20 Million Americans. “The Chairman’s Mark prevents more than 20 million Americans from being thrown onto the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) by providing a one-year extension of AMT relief.” [Chairman’s Mark of FY 2009 Budget Resolution, 3/6/08]

 Senate Democrats’ Budget Provides Tax Relief to Make College More Affordable “The Mark assumes Congress will provide tax relief to make a college education more affordable.” [Chairman’s Mark of FY 2009 Budget Resolution, 3/6/08]

Proposed Baucus Amendment to Senate Democrats’ Budget Will Extend Middle-Class Tax Relief, Including Child Tax Credit and Marriage Penalty Relief. The proposed Baucus Amendment to be offered to the Senate Budget Resolution will extend middle-class tax relief, including the child tax credit, marriage penalty relief, adoption credit and the 10 percent tax bracket. [Senator Baucus Press Release, 3/6/08]  

Senate Democrats’ Budget Improves Schools and Makes College More Affordable by Expanding Pell Grants. According to the Chairman’s Mark of the Senate Budget Resolution, the Democratic budget would invest an additional $8.8 billion above the President’s request in education and training. Additional funding will be invested in Head Start, No Child Left Behind, Pell Grants and Job Training to improve our schools and make college more affordable. [Chairman’s Mark of FY 2009 Budget Resolution, 3/6/08]

Senate Democrats’ Budget Provides Funding to Insure 3.8 Million More Children. “The bipartisan SCHIP bills that were passed by the Congress in 2007 and vetoed by the President would have provided coverage to more than 3.8 million children who would otherwise have been uninsured. The Chairman’s Mark once again provides a deficit-neutral reserve fund for up to $50 billion in order to expand coverage of the estimated six million children eligible but not enrolled in either SCHIP or Medicaid, and maintain coverage for all currently-enrolled children.” [Chairman’s Mark of FY 2009 Budget Resolution, 3/6/08]

Senate Democrats’ Bolsters Heating Assistance for Low-Income Families and Seniors. “The Chairman’s Mark rejects the President’s proposal to cut the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) by $359 million, or 15.2 percent, below the 2008 level adjusted for inflation. It instead funds LIHEAP at $2.5 billion, $141 million above the 2008 level adjusted for inflation and $500 million above the President’s request. In addition, the Chairman’s Mark includes an additional $600 million for LIHEAP in 2008. These increased funds for LIHEAP will help to continue providing heating and cooling assistance to over five million low-income households, including the working poor, disabled persons, elderly, and families with young children.” [Chairman’s Mark of FY 2009 Budget Resolution, 3/6/08]

Senate Democrats’ Budget Provides Flexibility for Additional Economic Stimulus, Which Could Include Help to Homeowners Facing Foreclosure. “The Chairman’s Mark provides room for additional stimulus to get the economy moving again. It gives Congress the opportunity to take additional action to help those most in need during the current slowdown. These initiatives could include Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits for the long-term unemployed, a temporary increase in Food Stamp benefits, and state fiscal relief – all measures that experts have determined will provide significant stimulus for the economy. Other possible initiatives include assistance to those caught in the housing downturn, funding for “ready-to-go” infrastructure projects that can quickly inject money into the economy and create jobs, and help for families struggling with high heating bills.” [Chairman’s Mark of FY 2009 Budget Resolution, 3/6/08]

Bush Republican budget is more of the same – little help for families but billions in tax breaks for multi-millionaires and special interests:

Bush Republican Budget Would Hand Out Billions in Additional Tax Breaks for Multi-Millionaires and Special Interests. “The President’s budget would provide more tax cuts heavily skewed to the most well-off while cutting vital services for low- and moderate-income Americans, generating large deficits, and increasing the strain on states already confronting budget problems as a result of the economic downturn… The tax cuts, however, would cost more than $900 billion over five years — and an additional $1.5 trillion in the five years after that, for a total cost of $2.4 trillion over the next decade.” [CBPP, “The Dubious Priorities of President’s FY 2009 Budget,” 2/7/08]

  • Tax Breaks for Those Making Over $1 Million Would Average $150,000 Per Year.  “Households with annual incomes over $1 million would get an even larger tax cut:  more than $150,000 a year, on average.  This group makes up just 0.3 percent (three one-thousandths) of the nation’s households, yet its combined tax cuts would exceed the entire amount that the federal government spends on elementary and secondary education, as well as the entire amount that it devotes to medical care for the nation’s veterans.” [CBPP, “The Dubious Priorities of President’s FY 2009 Budget,” 2/7/08
  • Top 1 Percent Would Receive $1 Trillion in Tax Breaks Over 10 Years. “The top 1 percent of households — those with incomes exceeding $450,000 a year — would receive more than $1 trillion in tax cuts over the next ten years.  (This figure assumes the extension of AMT relief.)  Each year these households would receive more than $60,000 apiece in tax cuts, on average.” [CBPP, “The Dubious Priorities of President’s FY 2009 Budget,” 2/7/08]

Bush Republican Budget Would Eliminate the Perkins Loan Program and Recall $1.1 Billion in Student Loans. The President has proposed a $1.1 billion recall in the popular Perkins Loan program for college students with exceptional financial needs in his FY 2009 budget. Perkins Loans are considered the best student loans available because there are no origination or default fees and they offer better cancellation provisions than other Stafford or PLUS loans. [Office of Management and Budget, 2/4/08; Department of Education, 2/4/08

Bush Republican Budget Would Terminate Grants for College Students with Exceptional Financial Need. The President’s FY 2009 budget proposed terminating the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants Program, which help students from low-income families receive a college education. The grant program is only available to college students with exceptional financial need. [Office of Management and Budget, 2/4/08; Department of Education, 2/4/08

Bush Republican Budget Fails to Provide Adequate Funding for Children’s Health Insurance Program to Continue Current Enrollment Levels. “The budget includes what it describes as a $19.7 billion increase in funding for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This would not, however, allow states to cover many more uninsured children, millions of whom are eligible for SCHIP and Medicaid but unenrolled. The $19.7 billion increase is an increase not over current SCHIP funding levels, but over the budget baseline. And the budget “baseline” for SCHIP assumes a reduction in annual SCHIP funding for 2009 and succeeding years, and no adjustment for health care inflation or other factors (such as child population growth or increases in the number of uninsured children as employer-based coverage continues to erode). We estimate that states will need an SCHIP funding increase of approximately $21.5 billion over the budget baseline for the next five years simply to sustain their current SCHIP programs.” [CBPP, “The Dubious Priorities of President’s FY 2009 Budget,” 2/7/08

Bush Republican Budget Would Cut Funding to Help Families Heat Their Homes. “In addition to freezing scores of programs, Bush proposed cutting some 22 percent of the funding for the program that helps poor families pay to heat their homes as well as reduces aid for Amtrak passenger rail service by almost 34 percent.” [Reuters, 2/4/08]