Republicans claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility. They're now in a race with themselves to prove it. Having declared the president's budget DOA when it was presented in February, they unveiled their own "set of solutions that will restore accountability to government" and balance the budget within 10 years.
The Grand Old Party has been trying desperately to appeal to women -- the majority of voters -- and denies that it has engaged in a so-called war on women in the last few years. If that's true, their budget should -- but doesn't -- show it.
House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) telegraphed their intentions back in January. Instead of raising the sequestration budget caps for fiscal 2016, Price said the GOP would eliminate the firewall between defense and non-defense spending. He said dissolving the boundary would give Congress the flexibility to allocate more money to the military and less to domestic programs. "Flexibility" means robbing Patricia to pay Paul. Those unspecified "domestic programs" are the ones that primarily affect women, like food stamps and Medicare.
The Obama budget increases money for programs to help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. I don't have to tell you those victims are mostly female. What will Republicans do? After two years of delay because the GOP wanted to leave Native American women out, the last Congress finally reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act. 100 percent of the House votes against it came from Republicans. Their budget blueprint repeals Obamacare -- meaning being a victim of domestic violence can once again be declared a "pre-existing condition" by insurance companies. They also roll back the expansion of Medicaid -- the overwhelming majority of recipients women and kids.
The president's budget preserves Social Security without cuts. That's good news for women, because they live longer and depend on Social Security more.
What will Republicans do? Early indications are this year's scheme is the same as last year's. Make plans to privatize it through a commission that would be required to study the "structural deficiencies within the current Social Security system." Sounds like a stalking horse for so-called personal investment accounts to me. It's no secret they trust the big banks more than the government to manage worker retirement funds. And if the stock market sinks and your grandmother's newly privatized account with it? Gee, tough luck.
The Obama budget wants to triple the tax credit for child care. The GOP skips that one altogether. Kind of strange for a party that's supposed to stand for family values.
In just a few months, we'll be in an election year. If Republicans are serious about appealing to female voters, they ought to pass a budget that shows it. Otherwise all that denial that they're engaged in a war on women is just that -- talk and denial. And if their budget is any indication, women will pay the price for years to come.
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