Budget 101

In fall 2012 Congress found itself facing a self-made crisis called the “fiscal cliff,” which combined automatic, across-the-board spending cuts with the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, unemployment insurance extensions, and the payroll tax holiday and threatened to wreak havoc on the economy. With so much at stake in this debate, AAUW launched an online series called “Budget 101” to break down the details of the tough decisions on federal spending and deficit reduction before Congress and the president.

True to form, Congress brokered a last-minute deal to keep us away from the fiscal cliff, but that deal merely kicked the can down the road, putting our country on a path that lurches from one preventable crisis to another.

As long as Congress continues to deviate from a normal, transparent appropriations process, AAUW will continue to bring you “Budget 101” posts with the information you need to educate your community and hold your elected officials accountable. Browse past “Budget 101” posts here, and keep checking back for new ones.

Budget 101: You Are What You Fund

March 19, 2014
Washington is moving into budget season, yet budgets are more than just numbers, they’re how we show our values. AAUW is looking at budget proposals, including the one laid out by President Barack Obama, and assessing how they reflect AAUW’s priorities such as affordable higher education and accessible health care. Read more »

Budget 101: Extending Unemployment Insurance Benefits

February 26, 2014
Back in December, the House and Senate (finally) agreed on a budget deal to keep the government open over the next year, but that agreement lacked a much-needed extension of unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. Read more »

Why Is Congress Scrooging the Unemployed?

December 26, 2013
While Congress’ budget proposal helps prevent a government shutdown, it lacks an extension of emergency unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. It is estimated that 1.3 million out-of-work Americans will lose their unemployment insurance on December 28, and another 800,000 or so workers will fall out of the program in the coming months if Congress doesn’t act. Read more »

Budget 101: Hunger: How Sequestration Hurts Women and Children

July 29, 2013
Food pantries and community organizations that provide meals to low-income families are losing funding and staff in light of the automatic federal spending cuts known as sequestration. AAUW advocates for the right of every working woman to provide for her family. We cannot and must not ignore the millions of women and children who will be without meals because of the damaging effects of sequestration. Read more »

Sequester Hits Pocketbooks and Hits Home

April 16, 2013
Sequestration (significant, across-the-board cuts to domestic and defense spending) is occurring throughout the country and destroying jobs and opportunities for women and girls along the way. AAUW continues to oppose sequestration and believes the best way to reduce the country’s deficit is to create jobs, increase revenues, and close corporate tax loopholes while continuing the current tax rates for the middle class. Read more »

Sequestration’s Here. Now What?

March 07, 2013
On March 1 we entered the age of “sequestration,” or across-the-board cuts to domestic and defense spending. If the sequester continues unabated between now and September 30, $85 billion will be cut in federal spending. AAUW is concerned that indiscriminately slashing federal spending could weaken critical programs that benefit millions of Americans and our nation’s bottom line. Read more »

Budget 101: Fiscal Cliff Detour Creates Future Obstacles

January 02, 2013
AAUW commends lawmakers for compromising to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” The compromise includes many AAUW-supported provisions that will help women and their families. However, future conflict is likely to ensue because the sequestration delay is projected to end at roughly the same time the United States hits its newly set debt limit (early March), and the current appropriations bill that is funding the federal government expires in late March. Read more »

Budget 101: “Fiscal Cliff” Cuts Will Sting for Women and Girls

December 19, 2012
If we go over the “fiscal cliff,” and the dramatic spending cuts known as sequestration happen, women and girls will face consequences such as reduced funding for K–12 education, higher education programs, federal civil rights agencies, workforce training, and more.  AAUW opposes further cuts to these critical nondefense discretionary programs, which have already been cut to reduce the deficit. Read more »

Avoiding the Fiscal Cliff

December 05, 2012
AAUW believes that any solution to avoiding the fiscal cliff must 1) focus on job creation, 2) be balanced in its approach to spending cuts, and 3) include additional revenues. AAUW supports returning to the Clinton-era tax rates for high-income earners while continuing the current rates for the middle class. Additionally, AAUW strongly prefers that Congress avoid further extensions of the payroll tax cut holiday, which breaches Social Security’s guaranteed funding stream and forces the program to rely on transfers from the U.S. Treasury’s coffers, setting a problematic precedent that may undermine Social Security’s long-term solvency. Read more »

Budget 101: Sequestration and the Path Forward

October 10, 2012
AAUW believes that any package to prevent sequestration and the “fiscal cliff” must be a balanced agreement that includes additional revenues and creates capacity for future generations. The package should also honor societal commitments such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Read more »

Budget 101: Unemployment Insurance

October 03, 2012
One of the changes set to go into effect at the beginning of 2013 is the expiration of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which allows people to receive anywhere from 14 to 47 additional weeks of benefits depending on their state’s unemployment rate. While unemployment insurance benefits recipients and the economy as a whole, it is difficult to decide whether to extend benefits while also finding ways to reduce the U.S. budget deficit. Read more »

Budget 101: The Payroll Tax and Social Security

September 26, 2012
Allowing the payroll tax cut to expire may be politically unpopular, but it would be a great step toward protecting Social Security and disability insurance beneficiaries in the future. AAUW supports allowing the payroll tax cut to expire because our Public Policy Program advocates for strengthening retirement benefits and the Social Security program. Read more »

Budget 101: The Bush Tax Cuts

September 19, 2012
Studies show that the Bush tax cuts, enacted in 2001 and 2003 and set to expire at the end of 2012, added to the federal deficit and contributed to a trend of concentrating wealth among the richest Americans. Extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for individuals who earn up to $200,000 and couples who earn up to $250,000 would protect the middle class while increasing government revenue to pay down the deficit and protect important programs. However, the extension of all tax cuts would not advance our AAUW priorities. Read more »

Budget 101: Where We Are Today

September 12, 2012
While it may sound appealing to cut government programs and keep tax rates low, doing so would actually not balance the budget — it would instead damage critical programs that serve women, seniors, students, and working families. AAUW supports a balanced approach to reducing the federal deficit and protecting funds that assist disadvantaged communities, including programs that benefit gender equity in education and other areas. Read more »