GOP Budget Plan Hits Working Families, Spares CEOs

| by AFL-CIO

The nation’s No.1 priority is  getting the nation’s job creation engine running again. But  House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his gang instead have unveiled a budget plan that slams working families and is a “naked payback” to Wall Street CEO’s, says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

The Republican plan for the rest of fiscal year 2011 slashes investments in education from pre-school to college, cuts and cancels real world infrastructure projects at the cost of 300,000 jobs, chops billions from the job training programs that help 8 million people a year and goes after workplace rights, job safety and the environment.

But they haven’t put everything on their hit list. While working families will bear the brunt of the proposed cuts, corporate CEOs are not being asked for any sacrifices at all.  Nor are the lawmakers pushing these cuts proposing to cut their own pay and benefits.

Trumka says the “budget gutting,” bill that House will vote on this week

will padlock the doors to essential programs millions rely on every day and put hundreds of thousands out of work.

The lawmakers who campaigned on creating jobs are instead pushing an agenda that will cost jobs and is a naked payback to the CEOs who poured millions into the 2010 elections.  Don’t like safety regulations on the job?  Cut the funding. Don’t want environmental safeguards, energy improvements or curbs on health insurance companies?  Defund them.

The temporary spending measure—known as a continuing resolution—that funds the government runs out March 4. The current fiscal year began in October so the cuts that the House will be voting on this week would be jammed into half a year, decimating programs and staffing for essential services. Also, Republicans leaders have hinted they will shutdown government operations if their massive budget cuts are not met.

Here are just some of the proposed cuts:

-- Cuts of $110 million to Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Mine Safety and Health Administration will mean no job safety enforcement and no way even to investigate fatalities or mass casualties such as those in recent mining disasters.
-- $2 billion in cuts to job training will adversely affect programs that serve more than 8 million people per year and will put up barriers to America’s workers competing for the jobs of tomorrow.
-- $50 million in cuts to the National Labor Relations Board will undermine workers’ ability to have a voice on the job.
-- $9.5 billion in cuts will further cripple our lagging transportation and infrastructure systems while costing 300,000 jobs.
-- $786 million in cuts to energy efficiency and renewable energy plus $250 million in cuts to energy loan guarantees will cost good jobs and block our path to a clean energy economy.
-- Slashing Social Security administrative costs to $1.7 billion below necessary funding will lead to staff furloughs, reduced office hours, slower claims processing and longer waits for assistance at the very time Baby Boomers begin to retire.

Trumka says “Americans expect better.”

Instead of putting working family protections on the chopping block, what we need is a responsible approach that secures our economic recovery, invests in long-term growth and achieves long-term balance. Let’s ask Wall Street and others who benefited from the record economic inequality of the last decade to pay their fair share.