Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin has a specific goal in mind as a members of a conference committee trying to work out a budget between the House and Senate.
“Not to cut anymore out of SNAP,” she told ThinkProgress. SNAP is the acronym for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. “Not to block grant it. Not to block grant Medicaid.”
Moore also plans to protect Pell Grants and other programs that benefit those with economic disadvantages. “I think that if we could get away with those things, it would be a good day.”
House and Senate Republicans put their budget proposals forward last month and last week the Senate voted to conference with the House to reconcile the proposed budgets with Democrat’s amendments, which focused on social programs and investing in infrastructure. “Pretty much Democrats from both houses made some of the same points,” Moore said.
Still, Moore doesn't know how successful she’ll be in promoting her agenda. “What we suspect…is that the House Republicans and Senate Republicans will get together and come up with a package of their agreements, and Democrats will be excluded from that conversation,” she said.
The Republican budget plans to cut $125 billion from SNAP, about a third of the program, by making it into a block grant.“There were extensive conversations in the House budget committee about giving states more flexibility with SNAP,” Moore said. “We know that is proxy language for wanting to turn SNAP into a block grant, which would be absolutely catastrophic.”
The House GOP claims their budget is already sufficiently balanced and would eliminate the fiscal deficit by 2025, but even some Republicans doubt that claim.
"This budget relies on a host of smoke and mirrors accounting gimmicks and rosy economic forecasting to make it appear as if it balances in ten years,” Republican Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina, who voted against the budget, which was passed by the House on March 25.
Moore promised to fight the budget. “If they try to use the budget reconciliation process to cut SNAP, they’ll open up the Farm Bill and literally be opening up a can of worms in terms of the other provisions,” she said.