U.S. Senator Mark Begich released the following statement after voting today to seek targeted cuts to reduce our deficit and debt while preserving important Alaska programs:
"I voted against the dramatic and harmful cuts to Alaska jobs and programs proposed by the House of Representatives because we have to set priorities that focus on growing the economy, not scoring political points. Our future should be about setting priorities, creating a sustainable budget and fostering a vibrant economy, not cutting Alaska jobs and businesses.
"While I supported the long-term package offered by Sen. Inouye, I think we still need to do more. Voting on the proposal was a step in the right direction and I support further targeted cuts to reduce our deficit without risking our long-term economic recovery. It's irresponsible to craft a budget focused on getting the right news headline or responding to the political story of the day.
"In the past months I have worked with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to find budget cuts and have promoted several initiatives to help curb spending. I will continue to talk to Alaskans, and listen to their ideas, about how we can make tough, but responsible cuts that move us closer to long-term economic security."
The impacts of H.R. 1 on Alaska would include:
- Funding cuts would jeopardize health care for 12,000 Alaskans who depend on community health centers.
- Reduce Pell Grants for college bound Alaskans by more than $600.
- Limit Maternal Child health grants which fight fetal alcohol syndrome.
- Eliminate Head Start for 700 young Alaskans.
- Close Planned Parenthood in Alaska.
- Eliminate all funding for public broadcasting which provides a vital service to rural Alaska communities.
- Eliminate the Economic Development Initiative and Housing Counseling Assistance provided by the Department of Housing & Urban Development.