Trump Administration Should Withdraw Rule That Would Deepen State Budget Crisis, Make Medicaid Cuts Likelier
Medicaid is playing an increasingly significant role in addressing the health and economic impacts of COVID-19.
The Senate Republicans’ new economic relief plan contains no new fiscal aid for states and localities, whose revenues have collapsed due to COVID-19 and the resulting recession. Without that aid, they will continue laying off teachers and other workers and cutting services, which will hurt struggling families, worsen racial and income inequities, and make the recession deeper and longer lasting.
Nearly 1.5 million Puerto Rico residents, including more than 300,000 children, are facing deep cuts in food assistance in August, but the new Senate Republican economic relief plan doesn’t include more food aid for Puerto Rico. While the House-passed Heroes Act includes a modest increase in nutrition funding for Puerto Rico, it falls short of Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced’s request. Without sufficient additional food aid, more than a million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico will face these food assistance losses while also grappling with COVID-19 and its severe economic impact.
COVID-19 and the economic crisis have deepened the challenges of individuals and families experiencing homelessness or struggling to pay rent. Consequently, policymakers must include comprehensive housing assistance in the next economic relief package, prioritizing aid for people with the most severe housing needs.
The pandemic has brought serious consequences for those with the fewest resources:
States remain in dire straits due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis; we estimate that their budget shortfalls will total $555 billion over state fiscal years 2020-2022. These figures underscore the continued urgency of the President and Congress enacting substantially more fiscal relief and maintaining it for as long as economic conditions warrant.
Here are some recent CBPP pieces detailing the need for state fiscal relief, the harmful budget cuts states are already beginning to make, and why recent proposals from Senate Republicans are severely inadequate.
Greenstein: Senate Republican COVID Relief Proposal Fails to Meet Needs of Struggling Families, Economy
The new Senate Republican COVID-19 plan announced July 27 falls far short of meeting the needs of a nation reeling from a pandemic and economic crisis.
When the President and Congress write a final fiscal year 2021 funding bill for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), they should adopt many provisions of a version that the House Appropriations Committee has passed — which would provide substantial new funds for programs that reduce homelessness and help low-income families, seniors, and others afford decent homes to rent.
Pandemic Relief Must Include Comprehensive Housing Assistance for People Experiencing the Most Severe Hardship
If policymakers fail to act, millions of low-income renters and people experiencing homelessness are likely to experience avoidable evictions, continued homelessness, or other preventable hardships.
Bipartisan House and Senate bills would protect low- and moderate-income families from a financial hit at tax time next year by letting them base their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit for tax year 2020 on their earnings in either 2020 or 2019, whichever would provide a larger credit.
This week at CBPP, we released a statement from CBPP President Robert Greenstein on the death of Representative John Lewis, stating that to honor his legacy, we must pursue his vision of a more just America.
Our analyses this week focused on state budgets and taxes, food assistance, poverty and inequality, housing, family income support, health, federal taxes, and the economy.
Rolling Back Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule Will Undermine Housing Anti-Discrimination Efforts
Watering down this core tenet of the Fair Housing Act essentially tells federal, state, and local policymakers that it’s okay to ignore discrimination.
Without new relief measures to help more struggling families afford rent and avoid eviction, millions of households could face housing instability, homelessness, and greater overall hardship in the coming months.
The purpose of homeless programs is to make sure that those seeking shelter have access to a safe place to live, not to erect discriminatory barriers.
Amid Uncertainty, House’s 2021 SNAP Appropriations Level Would Put Food Assistance at Risk for Millions
The fiscal year 2021 Agriculture appropriations bill that the House will consider this week includes far less funding for SNAP (food stamps) than the program will likely need because it’s based on pre-COVID-19 funding assumptions, potentially putting food assistance for millions at risk next year.
The Senate Republicans’ reported economic relief plan contains no new fiscal aid for states and localities, whose revenues have collapsed due to COVID-19 and the resulting recession. While the plan reportedly trumpets the added “flexibility” that it provides for states and the most populous cities and counties, letting them use previous federal aid to offset their revenue losses, most of that aid is already spoken for or available for this purpose.
As states revisit their spending plans for the 2021 budget year, which began July 1 in most states, they are making deep budget cuts to offset huge revenue shortfalls triggered by COVID-19 and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The initial state and local cuts enacted in spring and early summer caused sizable harm through layoffs, furloughs, and cuts to vital public services. Unless federal policymakers provide a new round of flexible fiscal aid, the harm will only worsen.
With the state budget crisis intensifying and states beginning to exhaust their options to defer budget cuts, they will likely make deeper and more widespread cuts to Medicaid and other health programs unless federal policymakers provide additional funds and maintain strong protections for Medicaid enrollees.
Amidst an unprecedented state and local fiscal crisis, Senate Republicans reportedly may offer only one form of new federal fiscal aid to states and localities in the next economic relief bill: funding for schools, but only if they reopen for in-person classes. It’s hard to imagine a plan that’s more out of touch with current realities.
As Congress begins considering a new relief package, likely the last before the election, emerging data show that a large and growing number of households are struggling to afford food and that millions of households are behind on rent, raising the specter that evictions could begin to spike as various federal, state, and local moratoriums are lifted. The next package should both extend the relief measures that are working but are slated to end well before the crisis abates and address the shortcomings and missing elements in the relief efforts to date.
The next coronavirus relief package should both extend the relief measures that are working but are slated to end well before the crisis abates and address the shortcomings and missing elements in the relief efforts to date.