President's Budget for Health and Education Programs Ignore Need for Capital Investment in Nation's Future
Tuesday, February 7, 2006
Washington, DC - Congresswoman Doris O. Matsui (CA-5) commented on the short-sightedness of the President's budget, citing the need for a focused commitment to investing in health and education programs.
"My investing in health and education programs, our nation will prepare the next generation to follow in our footsteps. To accomplish this goal tomorrow, we must invest the necessary capital today. Yet this budget undermines this nation's future by slashing funding for these critical programs,'said Congresswoman Matsui.
"While the President's budget includes $380 million for programs in the education department that are part of his competitiveness initiative, because of cuts elsewhere, the initiative does not represent a significant boost in education funding. Although the President talks about education in his speeches, his administration has underfunded No Child Left Behind by more than $55 billion since its enactment.
"This budget also threatens the ability of our children to access to health care. The President has proposed $13.6 billion in cuts to Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which is in addition to the $7 billion Republicans in Congress cut from Medicaid spending just last week. These cuts would further shift Medicaid costs to the states, forcing California to either reduce services or increase costs to Medicaid participants. The result is that fewer of our children will be able to get the care that they need.
"And his budget does little to ensure college remains an affordable option. Across the nation the average tuition and fees at four-year public colleges have risen 40% since 2001, when adjusted for inflation and the University of California and the California State University systems are no different. Yet in addition to breaking his promise to increase the maximum Pell Grant to $5,100, the President's budget also cuts the Perkins loan program for low-income students by at least $660 million. This is the first step in the Administration's effort to phase out the Perkins program, which it calls inefficient and duplicative.
"This budget further harms our universities by underfunding critical medical research. Because funding for the National Institute of Health will remain flat at $28.6 billion, the National Cancer Institute would receive $40 million less than the previous year's budget. This means that the UC Davis Medical Center will have to compete even harder for fewer dollars.
"Though we face tough challenges, Congress must always invest resources to ensure that the next generation has the same opportunities that we have had. The President's budget is incompatible with this principle and Congress must improve on this misguided proposal in the coming weeks.