- Deborah Weinstein is the executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs. The opinions expressed are her own -
As the House and Senate Budget Committees begin work this week on their versions of the Congressional Budget Resolution, the usual suspects are lining up to oppose proposals that would pay for health care reform, reduce global warming, create more jobs and improve our education system. Beyond the expected Republican opposition, however, some key Democrats are also calling for changes that would seriously weaken Presidents Obama’s groundbreaking budget.
Although the chairs of the House and Senate Budget Committees are expected to craft resolutions that remain faithful to the President’s priorities, many of the revenue sources proposed by Obama are being called into question. Further, the skittish-on-spending Blue Dog Democrats in the House and similarly inclined Senate Democrats are urging reductions in domestic appropriations, which pay for education, job training, housing, child care and child welfare services, public health, and other family and community services.
Last week’s significantly increased deficit projections from the Congressional Budget Office have provided further ammunition for those waving the banner for reduced domestic spending. In large part because the economy worsened dramatically since the Obama Administration prepared its budget, CBO projected a deficit of $1.4 trillion for fiscal year 2010 compared with the Obama budget estimate a $1.17 trillion.
As serious as the deficit is, cutting domestic appropriations is not the answer. These programs contribute minimally to the deficit, and are crucial to pulling our country out of the deepest recession in decades and creating long-term economic stability for all Americans. And while cutting waste in such areas as Medicare, military contracts and farm subsidy programs are important sources of potential savings, they won’t provide enough to fund the desperately needed shift in priorities called for under President Obama’s budget.