Extreme cuts would endanger public safety, harm public health, and raise costs for American families.
House Republicans have continued to demand draconian cuts to critical programs Americans rely on. Last week, Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee released their first batch of FY24 appropriations bills, providing a clearer roadmap for how their approach will impact the American people. Taking into account the bills put forward so far and House Republicans’ commitment to protect defense spending, the likely impact would be a cut of at least 30 percent across programs including education, research, public safety, public health, and other areas.
House Republicans passed their Default on America Act earlier this month, which sets overall appropriations for FY 2024 at the same level as FY 2022. The simplest way to make the math work across all 12 appropriations bills would have been to cut everything across the board by 9 percent, including the military, veterans’ medical care, border security and more. However, House Republicans have committed to protecting defense from cuts. And last week, they changed direction from the Default on America bill and took Veterans Affairs (VA) cuts off the table as well, along with maintaining border funding. But protecting veterans and border security means their cuts to everything else must go even deeper than the 22 percent we had previously calculated.
House Republicans intentionally started their appropriations process with bills that largely avoid major cuts, an attempt to continue to hide the impact of their approach on the American people. But with the four appropriations bills House Republicans have put forward so far, it is possible to calculate how much House Republicans will have to cut programs across the remaining bills to meet their overall target. The math is unequivocal. Based on the four bills to date and the commitment to protect defense, other areas will need to be cut by at least 30 percent, with severe impacts on programs including cancer research at the National Institutes of Health, Meals on Wheels for seniors, preschool and childcare for thousands of children, as well as on veterans’ programs outside the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Today, the Office of Management and Budget released 51 fact sheets highlighting the devastating impacts of these extreme cuts on states and the District of Columbia. Nationally, a 30% cut would:
- Increase Risks of Lead Exposure: A 30 percent cut would reduce funding for HUD lead grant programs that mitigate housing-related risks of lead poisoning and other illnesses and injuries to lower income families, especially children, resulting in approximately 6,600 fewer lead safe homes and adversely impacting nearly 9,300 children.
- Cut Off Access to Workforce Development Services: A 30 percent cut would result in nearly 940,000 fewer workers receiving job training and employment services provided through the Department of Labor’s workforce development funding. These harmful cuts would deprive businesses of the skilled workforce they need to thrive, and would cut off worker pathways to good jobs.
- Reduce Access to Health Centers: A 30 percent cut would mean an estimated 2.7 million patients would lose access to health centers and their critical health care services.
- Make College More Expensive: A 30 percent cut would cut the Pell Grant maximum award by $1,400, decrease the number of Pell Grant recipients by 115,000 students, and reduce the Pell Grant for nearly 7 million students, making it harder for low- and moderate-income students to attend and afford college.
- Slash Funding for Schools with Low-Income Students and Students with Disabilities: A 30 percent cut would impact 26 million students in schools that teach low-income students and 7.5 million students with disabilities, which could force a reduction of up to 150,000 teachers, aides or other key staff.
- Reduce Access to Opioid Treatment: A 30 percent cut would mean more than 37,000 people would lose admission to opioid use disorder treatment, denying them a potentially lifesaving path to recovery. An estimated 46.3 million Americans aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder and 106,000 people died from a drug-related overdose in 2021.
- Eliminate Preschool and Child Care for Hundreds of Thousands of Children: A 30 percent cut would mean 290,000 children lose access to Head Start slots and another 250,000 children lose access to child care—undermining our children’s education and making it more difficult for parents to join the workforce and contribute to our economy.
- Rob Seniors, including Veterans, of Healthy Meals: A 30 percent cut could mean deep cuts to nutrition services, such as Meals on Wheels, at a time when 350,000 nutrition program recipients are veterans. For many of these seniors, these programs provide the only healthy meal they receive on any given day.
- Worsen Social Security and Medicare Wait Times: A 30 percent cut would mean people applying for disability benefits would have to wait at least two months longer for a decision. With fewer staff available, seniors would also be forced to endure longer wait times when they call or visit Social Security for assistance, and Social Security field offices would need to shorten the hours they are open to the public or as many as 360 Social Security field offices could be forced to close.
- Raise Housing Costs for Hundreds of Thousands: A 30 percent cut would eliminate funding for Housing Choice Vouchers for over 800,000 households, including 250,000 households headed by seniors and as many as 65,000 veterans.
- Undermine Critical Research at the National Institutes of Health: A 30 percent cut would mean $14 billion less for critical research on finding treatments and cures for diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s at the National Institutes of Health.
- Scale Back Rail Safety Inspections: A 30 percent cut would result in 10,000 fewer rail safety inspection days next year alone, and 44,000 fewer miles of track inspected annually.
And while most of the bills Republicans put forward last week did not make deep cuts, the agriculture bill released last week cuts funding to levels we have not seen since 2006 and slashes funding for critical programs Americans count on. Cuts in the bill would mean pulling loans from distressed farmers, pulling funding to help rural energy and utility providers bring affordable, reliable clean energy to communities and significantly crippling the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) which safeguards the health of millions of women, infants, and children.
State Fact Sheets:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
This analysis assumes an across-the-board reduction of roughly 30% compared to currently enacted FY 2023 levels for non-defense discretionary accounts. This aligns with the House Republicans’ Default on America Act, which would return discretionary spending to FY 2022 levels on an ongoing basis while exempting defense spending, taking into account House Republicans’ appropriations bills that have been released thus far. The total federal dollars cut in each state represents a 30% reduction across federal discretionary grant programs using FY23 state allocations for the 27 largest federal grants, excluding grants included in released bills adjusted for remaining grants as though they were evenly distributed.