Specter Comments on Proposed FY09 Budget
Senator Arlen Specter, (R-Pa.) Ranking Member of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, made the following statement today regarding the Administration's proposed Fiscal Year 2009 budget:
"The President's Fiscal Year 2009 budget proposal is going to require substantial modifications by the Congress. The proposal does not deal with many important matters, such as providing a long-term solution to the Alternative Minimum Tax issue and not fully accounting for the expected costs of the war on terror.
"The proposed budget for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies is nearly $3.8 billion below FY08 levels. This is totally insufficient for vital health and education programs, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, 21st Century Community Learning Centers and mentoring initiatives.
"It is harmful to our country that the proposed budget would freeze funding for the National Institutes of Health at FY08 levels. This will significantly hamper our nation's ability to find life-saving cures and treatments for diseases.
"I am surprised that the President once again proposes to terminate $3.3 billion in education programs. Almost all of these were proposed for elimination in FY08 and were rejected by Congress for good reasons. Additionally, the $800 million funding request for Amtrak is inadequate and would leave us without indispensible rail service.
"As the President's budget tops the $3 trillion mark for the first time and projects a near-record budget deficit in 2009, I am concerned by the nation's entitlement spending. It is time to set aside partisan politics and have a meaningful dialogue on evaluating the budget from top to bottom."