Things are about to get much worse for low-income Americans thanks to Trump’s latest bid to gut the social safety network built during the labor rights movement of last century.
On Tuesday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which has so far turned a blind eye to EPA head Scott Pruitt’s excessive spending, approved the Trump administration’s move to freeze the vast majority of of funds in an attempt to undermine the three-tiered balance of power and claw back over $15 billion in spending authority.
The GAO released the report concluding Trump’s administration could freeze most of the provisions it had proposed. This includes two extremely controversial funds from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which has been in dire straights since the summer of 2017 when Trump first began to dismantle it out of frustration over his repeated failures to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
While the healthcare of millions of children is an easy and logical expenditure to erase from the country’s budget, a $134 million provision for the Highway Trust Fund at the Department of Transportation “may not be withheld from obligation pending congressional consideration of the rescission proposal,” says the GAO.
Because highways are more important than children, apparently.
Republicans with an eye on the 2018 midterms have feared this particular attempt of Trump’s to reign in spending, worried the vicious attack on children’s healthcare would basically write anti-Republican attack ads for the Democrats.
Republicans maintain that the funds in question were either unobligated or unlikely to be spent, and in the case of CHIP, those funds wouldn’t be significantly altered for the better part of a decade. This defense is typical of the “conservative” party, which loves to crop down the larger picture to push their agenda, since the damaging effects will often not be seen until after a politician’s tenure.
Congress has until June 22 to act on the rescission request. If it fails to act, the frozen funds will once again be available for use.
Democrats have rightfully capitalized on the potential of this coming to fruition, and now that GAO has greenlit this request, they have all the fodder they need for this fall. The question becomes whether they will use it, as the Democratic-party of days gone by often went too soft on their opponents.
Exhausting and terrifying as America has become under Trump, he has empowered liberals and progressives to rise up and speak out against atrocities such as this. It will be their own undoing if they fail to capitalize on the opportunity.