Statement on the President's Proposed National Budget
President George W. Bush recently released his Budget Proposal. Congressman Steve Rothman's statement follows:
"In President Bush's State of the Union address, he spoke of great goals for improving the well-being of all Americans. Unfortunately, the budget he proposed for the next fiscal yearwhich threatens to dismantle countless services that Americans of all stripes rely upon without asking corporate CEOs or the nation's millionaires to sacrifice a dimeis yet another sign that we should pay attention to this President's actions, not his words.
"He says that he wants to provide equal access to higher education. But then he proposes the most drastic cuts to federal student aid funding in history. All told, he seeks to eliminate 43 education programs and is pushing for shameful cuts to job training programs.
"He says that he wants to be a compassionate conservative.' But then he proposes to cut funding for free and reduced meals programs in schools, food stamps, nutrition assistance for low-income seniors, and the successful Women, Infants, and Children program. What could be more compassionate than ensuring students have enough food in their stomachs to learn and new mothers are able to raise healthy babies?
"He says that he wants to protect America's seniors. But then he once again proposes to undermine Social Security, the most successful anti-poverty program in history. After last year's failed attempt to privatize it, now he wants to eliminate Social Security's death benefit entirely and asks Congress to cut Social Security's survivor benefits for widows and orphans.
"This President has also said that he will make health care more affordable. But again, he has done the opposite. Health insurance premiums have skyrocketed by 73% over the last five years and 46 million Americans have no health insurance at all. Yet, this President refuses to accept the idea of universal health care. Instead, he tells them to open a bank account, a Health Savings Account, to pay for their own health care.
"All told, this President's budget proposal protects special interests as it cuts programs that help hard-working Americans. While blaming the costs associated with the Iraq War and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita for his astronomical deficit spending, he refuses to acknowledge the price tags associated with his pet causes. Namely, his tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, which will total more than $1.5 trillion dollars, his corporate welfare for oil and gas companies from last year's energy bill, which cost $14.5 billion, and his support for outdated and wasteful agricultural subsidies that go mostly to large, multinational conglomerates, which total over $19 billion in his 2007 budget alone.
"This President also fails to acknowledge that his mismanagement of reconstruction in Iraq has cost tens of billions of dollars, and his appointees' bungling response to the hurricanes wasted hundreds of millions of dollars, including $236 million spent on a sweetheart deal to lease three Carnival cruise ships for evacuees that were never even filled.
"We must balance our budget and reign in wasteful federal spending, but the President's budget does neither. I've said it before and I'll say it again: we need new policies and a new direction."