Hinojosa Responds to President's Proposed Budget
February 6, 2006 -
Today, Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15) issued the following statement in response to the proposed budget submitted by President George W. Bush to Congress:
"Today, the President released his FY2007 Budget to the United States Congress - and once again, the math simply does not add up. The budget deficit for this year will hit a record high of $423 billion, and yet this budget does nothing to address the deficit or the country's mounting debt. In addition it doesn't include the mounting costs of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan or the related costs of aid to the Gulf Coast states affected by Hurricane Katrina.
"Many of the cuts outlined in this year's budget go right to the heart of our communities, and will negatively impact the people of my Congressional District.
"Most glaring are cuts to Medicare - a safety net for so many of our nation's seniors and disabled. Beneficiaries continue to navigate the red tape of the new Medicare Part D program, and many are still having problems with their benefits and getting access to the life-saving medication they need. The Budget calls for cuts of $35.9 billion over five years that will dramatically affect hospitals, nursing homes, home health care providers and hospices. The reductions would among other things reduce inflation adjustments for hospitals, nursing homes, home health care providers and hospices. Americans continue to worry about the soaring costs of health care, and these cuts do nothing to alleviate those fears.
"The Budget recommends a reduction of $1.15 billion in funding for HUD's housing programs. It proposes cutting Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) by 20 percent - from $3.7 billion to $2.975 billion; public housing cuts of eight percent; and has either zero funded or eliminated the Rural Housing and Economic Development Program, urban empowerment zones, funding for La Raza and the Housing Assistance Council, and the National Community Development Initiative. In addition, no funding has been provided for the construction of low-income housing, and the budget irresponsibly calls for the elimination of all funding for the construction or preservation of affordable housing units in rural areas.
"All of these programs directly help low-income and rural communities across the country. At a time when we need to maintain funding for CDBG and low-income housing programs, especially in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, it's a mystery to me that programs people rely upon to get back on their feet face such drastic cuts.
"Last year I fought to keep the Resource Conservation and Development Program (RC&D) intact, and prevent closure of Farm Service Agencies, and yet again the President is recommending consolidating funding for the programs. Farmers and ranchers are the backbone of our economy and we need to do all we can to support them, not continue slashing programs that assist them.
"The future of our economy fairs no better. For the second year in a row, the President cuts funding for education programs from elementary through higher education. Almost one-third of the programs slated for elimination or reduced funding are in education, including those that provide money to support the arts, vocational education, parent resource centers and drug-free schools.
"Just last week, President Bush stood before Congress and outlined in his State of the Union address a program increase America's competitiveness in math, science, technology and engineering. However, the budget does nothing to support it and will leave Americans, and our children, behind at every level.
"Specifically, the budget eliminates programs like drop-out prevention, Safe and Drug Free Schools, GEAR-UP, Even Start, Head Start and Upward Bound. This is on the heels of the 4th anniversary of No Child Left Behind - an initiative that is still severely underfunded.
"Investment in human capital is key to the success of our nation. Yet, once again, it seems as though the President has proposed a budget that does the opposite. We need smart fiscal policies and strategies that really address our soaring deficit but do not hinder the ability of our country to remain sound and strong."