11-28-2023  7:27 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
Stacy M. Brown
Published: 29 September 2023

In a scathing op-ed, seasoned political strategist and former Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile has accused far-right Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives of pursuing drastic and merciless reductions in programs that disproportionately support Black Americans and low-income individuals. Brazile, now a senior advisor at Virginia-based communications firm Purple Strategies, warned that a shutdown would prove devastating and hard to recover for specific populations.

With a pointed emphasis on the demographic disparities in poverty rates, Brazile highlighted the staggering contrast in figures: 17.1% of Black American families live below the poverty line. In comparison, only 8.6% of their white and Asian-American counterparts face the same economic hardship. The glaring inequality underpins Brazile’s assertion that the proposed House Republican spending cuts, targeting crucial programs aiding low-income individuals, would inflict severe hardship on Black communities.

In the op-ed published by TheGrio, Brazile also noted that Hispanic families, grappling with a 16.9% poverty rate, and Native Americans, facing an alarming 25% poverty rate, would be profoundly affected by these proposed cuts.

Risking the widening of racial disparities

The contentious nature of these potential cuts has ignited a fierce political battle on Capitol Hill, with far-right Republicans pushing their agenda even at the risk of a federal government shutdown. The impasse highlights the deep ideological divide within the House, with concerns over the welfare of vulnerable communities at the forefront of the debate.

Critics argue that these proposed cuts significantly threaten the social safety net, potentially exacerbating existing disparities in access to essential resources and opportunities. On the other hand, despite the Biden-Harris administration already shaving more than $1 trillion off the national debt, MAGA Republicans and their supporters claim that the cuts are needed to show fiscal restraint and ensure the long-term stability of government finances.

“The Republican MAGA extremists putting vital programs on the chopping block in the House are following the orders of former President Donald Trump,” Brazile asserted. This week, Trump wrote on his social media site that they should make no compromises with mainstream Republicans and Democrats.

“UNLESS YOU GET EVERYTHING, SHUT IT DOWN!” Trump wrote on social media. “Whoever is President will be blamed.”

Brazile noted that, in contrast, President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., both urged House Republicans to fund the government to avoid the disastrous impacts of a government shutdown.

“Unfortunately, rather than considering themselves public servants, the MAGA House Republicans prioritize serving Trump over their own constituents,” Brazile continued. “Instead of focusing on governing, they are focused on attacking whoever Trump denounces.”

Issues to consider

Brazile listed several of the social safety net programs that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California), supports to appease extreme MAGA Republicans, including:

  • Denying food assistance payments to more than 1 million low-income mothers and their children under age 5. This would quite literally take food out of the mouths of babies.
  • Slashing housing subsidies for poor families by one-third. A rise in homelessness would be inevitable.
  • Cutting aid that helps poor families pay their home heating bills by more than 70%. The Biden administration won congressional approval a year ago to spend $4.5 billion on the program to aid over 5 million poor families.
  • An 80% cut in funding for public schools that serve many low-income students. This would make it harder for such students to get a good education that would help them work their way into the middle class and higher.
  • Cutting over $150 billion annually from programs that help fund child care, education subsidies, college scholarships, medical research, and hundreds more vital programs.

“It’s outrageous that rather than raising taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations to reduce the federal deficit, House Republicans are demanding that low-income Americans bear the brunt of the burden of deficit reduction,” Brazile concluded.

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