(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
It wouldn't be unreasonable for the average person to think that the fiscal cliff debate is all about tax hikes. That is, after all, what has dominated the highlight reels of the public duel between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner. But, it's the things they're not talking about that worries many Democrats on Capitol Hill, including incoming Congressional Black Caucus chair Rep. Marcia Fudge.
"Right now, it's a discussion between the leadership and we don't know what they're putting on the table," the Ohio congresswoman told BET.com.
Fudge said that she has heard no discussion about cutting the Defense Department's budget, which to her means the bulk of spending cuts will be made to discretionary domestic programs.
"I am more and more concerned every day about cuts to programs like Head Start, SNAP, WIC and programs that are desperately needed today when you think about the fact that we have at least 46 million families on food stamps today," she said. "Many of them are the working poor, not people who are just sitting at home, but people who work every day. So, you can't at a time when the need is so great decide to just pull the rug from under everybody's feet."
Fudge said that African-American communities could be devastated. They will have to "bite the bullet. Fewer dollars will be coming to them because there are fewer dollars coming to the federal government."
Thursday night, Boehner will put his Plan B, which calls for tax hikes on households earning $1 million or more, to a test vote. Obama believes the threshold should be $400,000, up from his original $250,000, and most Republicans think taxes shouldn't be raised at any income level.
Fudge would like to see a Plan C, which could leave tax rates where they are and look to other areas in which to make cuts, such as closing unnecessary military bases the country is funding in far flung places around the world, and preserve much-needed programs.
"It would not cut food stamps by as much as $16 billion, which is something that's been put on the table; would continue to provide the kind of school nutrition and after school programs that are necessary, and would not cut Head Start enough to have 200,000 eliminated from the program," she said.
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