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Fighting Hunger at the Store: Retailers’ Important Role in SNAP

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 19:11:27 +0000

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the nation’s primary anti-hunger program, boosts low-income households’ food purchasing power.  SNAP participants buy the food they need, using SNAP benefits, at 260,000 stores throughout the country.  Our new retailer resource page highlights the important role that retailers play in every state and congressional district. 

Vast Majority of Americans Would Likely Lose From Trump Tax Cuts, Once They’re Paid For

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:49:51 +0000

If President Trump’s proposed tax cuts are paid for through the types of spending cuts in his budget proposal, the vast majority of Americans — including more than 90 percent of households in the middle fifth of the income spectrum — would be net losers, a new Tax Policy Center (TPC) analysis indicates.[1]  The spending cuts and tax increases needed to offset the cost of the tax cuts would cause their incomes to fall much more than they would gain from the tax cuts themselves. (See Figure 1.)

Gap Between Federal Rental Assistance and Need Is Growing

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 17:52:45 +0000

The number of very low-income households with serious housing problems rose in 2015 despite an improving economy, a new Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report finds. Over 8 million households had “worst-case housing needs” in 2015, meaning they are renters with incomes below half the local median who don’t have housing assistance and pay more than half of their income for rent or live in severely substandard housing. That’s up from 7.7 million in 2013.

“Current Policy” Baseline Would Hide $439 Billion in Tax Cuts Worth at Least $40,000 a Year for the Top 0.1 Percent

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 13:48:29 +0000

A seemingly arcane maneuver would make it much easier to enact $439 billion of regressive tax cuts over ten years by hiding their fiscal and distributional impacts.

CBO: Severe Harm If Trump Halts Health Cost-Sharing Payments

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 20:39:47 +0000

Stopping cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurers under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as President Trump has repeatedly threatened, would drive up federal marketplace subsidy costs, raise premiums, cause more insurers to withdraw from the marketplaces, and increase the number of uninsured next year, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found today. Key findings include:

Research Note: Contrary to Maine Officials’ Claims, TANF Time Limit Leaves Most Families Without Work or Cash Assistance

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 16:33:12 +0000

A recent state-issued report in Maine touts the purported success of imposing a five-year time limit on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance for families,[1] despite data in the report showing that in any quarter, on average, in the fourth year after the policy change was implemented, two-thirds of terminated families did not work.

Americans — Especially Women — Benefit Hugely from Social Security

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 20:48:24 +0000

Today is Social Security’s 82nd birthday.  We’ve updated our backgrounder on Social Security’s significant impact and a related analysis of its benefits. In June 2017, over 60 million people collected modest benefits through Social Security.  

In Case You Missed It…

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 16:35:20 +0000

This week at CBPP, we focused on health, housing, federal tax, state budgets and taxes, Social Security, and the economy.

Senator Flake Busts Estate Tax Myths

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 14:28:23 +0000

Republican Senator Jeff Flake busted several myths about estate tax repeal, a central part of both President Trump’s and the House GOP’s tax plans, in a recent interview with Bloomberg View.

State EITC Wins Help Spread Prosperity

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 21:01:54 +0000

This has been a blockbuster year for state earned income tax credits (EITCs) — one of the most common-sense tools we have for helping low-income workers make ends meet. Three state legislatures adopted new EITCs in 2017, three expanded existing credits, and two took important steps to increase access to the credit. All told, 29 states and the District of Columbia now have their own EITCs (see map).

Here are the big wins from 2017:

States Should Take Initiative on Infrastructure to Boost Economic Growth

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 14:05:58 +0000

The condition of roads, bridges, schools, water treatment plants, and other physical assets greatly influences the economy’s ability to function and grow. Commerce requires well-maintained roads, railroads, airports, and ports. Growing communities rely on well-functioning water and sewer systems and uncrowded, safe schools.

Housing Choice Vouchers Strengthen Families and Communities in Every State

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 16:06:01 +0000

Housing Choice Vouchers help low-income families afford stable housing, prevent homelessness, and strengthen local communities in every state, as we detail in our updated interactive Housing Choice Voucher state fact sheets. Over 5 million people in 2.2 million households use a voucher to keep a roof over their heads.

Senate HUD Funding Bill a Huge Improvement Over House Bill, But Concerns Remain

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 17:51:01 +0000

Before leaving for August recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a 2018 funding bill for the Departments of Transportation and of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that includes a substantial increase for rental assistance for low-income households. Yet the increase may not be enough to keep pace with rising rents in the largest rental assistance program — Housing Choice Vouchers — and tens of thousands fewer families could have stable homes as a result.

Greenstein: 3 Key Principles for Next Steps on Health Care

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 17:18:07 +0000

In a new op-ed first published in The Hill, CBPP President Robert Greenstein says that congressional Republicans’ failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “offers important lessons for next steps on healthcare — if policymakers will heed them.”

In Case You Missed It…

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 18:00:14 +0000

This week at CBPP, we focused on the federal budget and taxes, health, Social Security, housing, state budgets and taxes, and the economy.

Florida’s Medicaid Waiver Won’t Improve Coverage or Access

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 13:19:55 +0000

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has renewed Florida’s Medicaid waiver for the next five years and, with it, included $1.5 billion in annual Low-Income Pool (LIP) funding for health care providers that furnish care to uninsured low-income Floridians. That’s about $900 million more than the state previously received under the waiver — but, despite the Trump Administration’s claims to the contrary, that funding won’t expand access to care.

ACA Marketplaces Poised to Grow Stronger — If They’re Not Sabotaged

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 19:44:23 +0000

President Trump is again threatening to stop cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurers under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), just as new data show that such action would fuel sharp premium hikes in 2018.

House GOP Budget Cuts Programs Aiding Low- and Moderate-Income People by $2.9 Trillion Over Decade

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 14:33:45 +0000

The budget would slash these programs by more than one-third in 2027.

States Should Adopt a Version of Colorado’s Remote Sales Tax Law

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 18:06:21 +0000

States can increase the revenue available for public services and level the playing field on which in-state and out-of-state sellers compete.

Why You Should Care About Social Security Disability Insurance

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 16:54:56 +0000

Sixty-one years ago today, President Eisenhower signed a bill creating Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Many Americans don’t know much about this vital program — even though, by working, they’re earning coverage that protects them against financial ruin if they become too sick or hurt to support themselves.

Look Past the “Small Business” Rhetoric to See Trump’s Actual Policies

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 14:25:07 +0000

President Trump is expected to make his case for GOP tax plans at a small business event later today. But no matter how much the President and congressional Republicans invoke small businesses and typical workers in their sales pitch for their tax plans, their actual tax and budget policies would do little to help such businesses and workers — and could even hurt them — as these resources explain:

Trump Move Would Boost Premiums, Raise Federal Costs, Destabilize Insurance Market

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 20:34:43 +0000

Ending the CSR payments would boost premiums for many consumers, raise overall federal marketplace subsidy costs, and likely cause some insurers to withdraw from the marketplaces.

Housing Policy Should Prioritize Those With Greatest Need

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 19:39:57 +0000

The Senate Finance Committee’s hearing tomorrow on affordable housing should focus on housing policies that help the lowest-income households, including low-wage workers and poor seniors and people with disabilities.

Shortchanging the Census Would Shortchange Many Communities

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 18:23:24 +0000

The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a 2018 funding bill that would dramatically underfund the Census Bureau and, in particular, the work needed to ensure that the constitutionally-required 2020 decennial census provides an accurate picture of every community in America. This underfunding could endanger the comprehensiveness and accuracy of the data that businesses, communities, and governments use to decide where to invest resources that help build our economy and support our communities.

In Case You Missed It…

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 19:17:49 +0000

This week at CBPP, we focused on health care, the federal budget and taxes, food assistance, Social Security, and the economy.

After Failed ACA Repeal, Time for Bipartisan Effort to Strengthen – Not Weaken – Our Health Care System

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 18:46:05 +0000

Last night’s vote — and the months of debate that preceded it — show that the American people don’t want to move backwards on health care.

Cassidy-Graham Amendment Would Cut Hundreds of Billions from Coverage Programs, Cause Millions to Lose Health Insurance

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 19:19:32 +0000

The amendment would make drastic cuts to both Medicaid and marketplace financial assistance.

Commentary: House GOP Appears Set on Making College Less Affordable for Millions of Students

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 17:33:33 +0000

Given the size of the student aid cuts in the House Budget Committee’s 2018 budget resolution, one wonders if the House GOP thinks college is too affordable.

House-Senate Conference on Health Bill Likely Just as Secretive as Senate Process

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 16:55:41 +0000

Now that the Senate has rejected two measures to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is promoting a so-called “skinny repeal” with the sole and explicit goal of advancing health legislation to a conference with the House, which passed its own ACA repeal bill in May.

Pell Grants — a Key Tool for Expanding College Access and Economic Opportunity — Need Strengthening, Not Cuts

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 14:27:24 +0000

For 45 years, the federal Pell Grant program has been the cornerstone of financial assistance for students from low- and moderate-income families, helping millions go to college.  Pell Grants are awarded to students solely based on financial need and serve as the foundation of an eligible student’s financial aid package upon which other forms of aid are layered, including loans and state and institutional aid.  Pell has been by far the single largest source of grants for postsecondary education, expanding college access and economic opportunity over the past 40 years.

Commentary: “Skinny Repeal Bill” — a Trojan Horse for Broader ACA Repeal and Deep Medicaid Cuts

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 21:52:19 +0000

The “skinny repeal” bill is a Trojan horse designed to resuscitate the effort to repeal large parts of the ACA and impose big Medicaid cuts that would jeopardize coverage for millions of the nation’s neediest people.

Trump Reversal on International Taxes Could Hurt U.S. Workers

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 20:50:13 +0000

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said today that the Administration places “very, very, very high” importance on its proposal for a territorial tax system that, President Trump says, will “level the playing field for American companies” — but that, in reality, risks disadvantaging small and domestic U.S.

Four Ways SNAP Encourages Work

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 18:01:47 +0000

SNAP (formerly food stamps), the nation’s most critical anti-hunger program, also encourages work, our new report and video explain. SNAP’s benefit structure rewards earnings over unearned income (such as Social Security or cash assistance), which incentivizes participants to work and seek higher wages or work more hours.

SNAP’s design includes:

House Should Reject Cuts to CBO

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 16:31:41 +0000

Two proposed amendments to the House legislative branch appropriation bill would cut funding and staffing for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) by as much as 50 percent. House members should reject these amendments, offered by Representatives Scott Perry and Morgan Griffith, which would seriously curtail the information available to Congress about the budgetary and economic effects of proposed legislation.

House Appropriations Bills Fall Far Short of Meeting National Needs

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 15:49:41 +0000

House Republicans are proceeding with a plan for 2018 appropriations that combines massive increases in defense funding with further cuts to non-defense programs. 

Tracking the Senate Floor Debate on Health Care Repeal

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 23:12:54 +0000

While it’s still unclear exactly what the Senate will vote on and when, we’ll be posting updates here throughout the debate.

House GOP Budget Prioritizes Wealthy and Corporations for Tax Bill

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 17:09:34 +0000

The Republican budget resolution that the House Budget Committee approved would launch a fast-track “reconciliation” process to enact a tax bill without any Democratic votes, and all indications are that the GOP’s tax bill would focus its benefits overwhelmingly on the wealthy and multinational corporations. Although the resolution can’t dictate policy details to the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, its “Policy Statement on Tax Reform” section highlights House GOP priorities for the tax bill, each of which favors high-income households or corporations.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Includes Earnings Incentives

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 15:33:10 +0000

SNAP’s benefit structure is designed to reward earnings over unearned income, incentivizing participants to work, and to seek greater income through higher wages or more hours.   

Rush to Pass Senate Health Bill Would Be Designed to Hide Its Impact

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 20:46:57 +0000

The effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has followed a recurring pattern:  congressional Republican leaders introduce a bill that Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis subsequently shows to be extremely damaging. GOP leaders then make some changes to the bill that they claim have fixed the problems, but further CBO analysis reveals that isn’t the case.  We’re likely to see more of the same this week.  This time, however, there’s a risk that the damaging bill could be signed into law before CBO issues an analysis showing its true impact.

$200 Billion Wouldn’t Provide Affordable Private Coverage for Medicaid Expansion Enrollees

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 20:17:31 +0000

Senate leaders are reportedly considering adding $200 billion to the Senate health bill to supplement private coverage for people who gained Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion and would lose it under their bill. But that would fall far short of the actual cost of providing affordable private coverage to those people, new Urban Institute estimates with state-by-state data show.

Kaiser: Senate Republican Medicaid Cap Would Cost States $218 Billion

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 20:09:12 +0000

States would have to spend $218 billion more between 2020 and 2029 to offset the federal funding cuts generated by the Senate Republican health bill’s “per capita cap” — the limit on annual federal Medicaid funding per beneficiary — new state-by-state estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation find.

What the 2017 Trustees’ Report Shows About Social Security

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:13:17 +0000

Social Security can pay full benefits for close to two decades but will then face a significant, though manageable, funding shortfall.

CBO Finds Growing, Harmful Impact of Senate GOP Bill’s Medicaid Per Capita Cap

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 21:27:02 +0000

As we’ve written, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the July 20 version of the Senate Republican health bill, which the Senate may consider next week, would cut federal Medicaid spending by $756 billion over ten years and cut Medicaid enrollment by 15 million in 2026, relative to current law.  These are similar to CBO’s estimates of an ea

In Case You Missed It...

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 20:51:56 +0000

This week at CBPP, we focused on health care, the federal budget and taxes, food assistance, the economy, poverty and inequality, family income support, and housing:

The 5 Key Facts About the Senate Health Debate

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 20:18:43 +0000

As Senate Republicans continue to pursue a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), five points are central to the debate:

1) The latest Senate bill has the same core flaws as the previous versions that a number of Senate Republicans have said they can’t support.

Latest CBO Analysis Shows Senate Bill Can’t Be Fixed

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 17:56:17 +0000

Congressional Budget Office analysis of the revised Senate health bill shows that the latest changes to it don’t address any of its major flaws. 

House Budget Cuts, Restructures Medicare

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 15:39:21 +0000

The 2018 budget resolution that the House Budget Committee approved this week would end Medicare’s guarantee of health coverage by converting the program to a premium support system. Overall, it would cut Medicare spending by $487 billion over the 2018-27 period, largely by shifting more health care costs to beneficiaries. President Trump’s budget, by contrast, would spare Medicare from cuts.

The Budget Committee’s description lists the following proposed changes in Medicare:

Corporate Tax Cuts Could Hurt — Not Help — Workers

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 20:54:12 +0000

“[The President] is convinced the corporate rate is the only thing that really matters,” a senior Administration official told reporters about President Trump’s push to deeply cut the corporate tax rate as part of a tax plan.  The Administration claims that most of the benefits would flow to workers by raising their wages.

House Budget Targets SNAP for Cuts

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 20:39:24 +0000

The budget resolution that the House Budget Committee approved yesterday requires the House Agriculture Committee to identify at least $10 billion in cuts over the next decade to nutrition and other entitlement programs under its jurisdiction.  Most, if not all, of them could come from SNAP (formerly food stamps).  Along with these cuts, which Congress would consider under the fast-track “reconciliation” process, the resolution puts forward a more complete fiscal plan — with far deeper SNAP cuts — that reflects the House GOP’s broader vision for the budget that would take several years to a