Pryor Criticizes Budget Resolution as Destructive; Says Fiscal Responsibility, Rural America, Health Care Overlooked
WASHINGTON D.C. - Senator Mark Pryor criticized the conference report to the Fiscal Year 2006 Budget Resolution, which passed the Senate and House Thursday, calling it destructive to our nation's fiscal health and devastating to rural communities and the poor.
"This budget resolution sets our country up for higher debt and long-term fiscal problems, a path I simply don't believe is fair, responsible or effective for Arkansas or the nation, not to mention future generations" Pryor said. "We could have and should have done better, and I fully intend to fight for more fiscally responsible behavior as Congress advances budget legislation this year."
Pryor said farmers and rural America could experience the most devastating effects from the budget resolution. He said it alters long-term, common sense agriculture policy, making across-the-board cuts to agriculture support programs, which will be particularly damaging to our cotton and rice farmers. Furthermore, he said, undermining fundamental agriculture policy hinders farmers and ranchers from making long-term financial plans based on government policy.
"Our farmers provide America and the world with the safest, cheapest, and most abundant food, and in return they ought to be able to rely on fair and reliable agriculture policy from government," Pryor said. "Instead, this budget literally pulls the rug out beneath them."
Pryor said the budget also fails families in dire need for health care, by cutting $10 billion in Medicaid. He said 500,000 Arkansans rely on Medicaid as their primary source of health care and thousands of Arkansas seniors living in nursing homes also depend on Medicaid for their long-term health needs. Pryor said these cuts will place an additional burden on state governments who are already facing tight budget restrictions.
"States need Medicaid funding to sustain their current programs and avoid greater cutbacks that add to the growing ranks of uninsured. Any savings in the Medicaid program should come by improving efficiency and not slashing benefits or kicking people who need care out of the program," Pryor said.