A budget isn't just a bunch of numbers; it's a set of values that shows us a political party's vision for our country. It reveals whose side our leaders are on. And once again, Paul Ryan has made it crystal clear that he's not on the side of women and families.
Ryan is proposing $4.6 trillion in devastating spending cuts, while also giving nearly $7 trillion in tax cuts to corporations and the ultra wealthy. And he's argued that when put in to perspective, these cuts aren't really much of a sacrifice.
From the perspective of women and families across the country, he couldn't be more wrong. For starters, Ryan and his Republican colleagues are hellbent on rolling back the Affordable Care Act, which gives women access to preventative healthcare services like birth control and lifesaving cancer screenings. Before the ACA, women were charged a combined extra $1 billion a year on healthcare just for being women. And they could actually be denied coverage if they were a victim of rape or domestic violence. Without the ACA, this kind of discrimination could become legal again.
The negative impact on healthcare won't stop there. A full 70 percent of the people on Medicaid and 55 percent of those on Medicare are women. So Ryan's plan to turn Medicaid in to a block grant program and Medicare in to a voucher program would be a disaster for women and seniors all over the country.
Ryan would also gut the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), which has helped keep millions of Americans, 1.7 million of whom are children, out of poverty. And he'll cut the Women Infants and Children program (WIC), which provides 9 million low-income mothers and children with food, nutrition counseling, and healthcare. This would be on top of the cuts already forced by sequestration, which dropped 600,000 women and children from WIC rolls.
This is why there is a gender gap. It's a hatchet job -- Ryan is hacking his way towards a bottom line without even thinking about the human cost.
Here at EMILY's List, we've gotten really good at reminding voters that Republican policies like these roll back the clock on women's rights and opportunities. Last year, our research on independent women voters showed that they were overwhelmingly less likely to vote Republican once they learned about the terrible Ryan budget.
And then the Romney-Ryan ticket lost the women's vote by 18 points.
They weren't the only ones -- Republicans lost big all over the country, and a lot of them lost to pro-choice Democratic women that EMILY's List helped elect. We sent 16 new women to the House and nine women to the Senate because they promised to fight for policies like the Violence Against Women Act, support equal pay for equal work, and expand access to healthcare.
The budget that EMILY's List champion Senator Patty Murray released this week proposes reasonable spending cuts without hurting vulnerable families -- embracing the kind of values we know women voters across the country agree with. Republicans on the other hand just doubled down on old and unpopular ideas.
The Ryan budget is why there is a gender gap. And since Republicans are ignoring the reasons for their massive electoral loss, and supporting the same unworkable, unpopular budget over and over again, it looks like the gender gap is here to stay.