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Forest Hills Patch - Forest Hills Congressman Rips GOP Budget Proposal

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U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-Forest Hills, ripped into the Republican federal budget proposal for fiscal year 2012 at the Queens Community House Senior Center in Kew Gardens on Tuesday.

"It's crazy," he said. "We're going to try to stop them at every step."

Weiner contended that the GOP budget plan would slash over $25 billion in funding to Queens over 10 years. Law enforcement, senior services, transportation and education are the chopping block, he said.

"You should realize how troublesome this will be," he told those present, claiming that hospitals would close and Medicare and Medicaid would be gutted. "When these cuts happen, we're going to be left with very few options."

Weiner blamed the current federal debt on former President George W. Bush, pointing to his "tax cuts for the rich." To refill federal coffers, Weiner offered three solutions: end the war in Afghanistan; wind down the war in Iraq; and raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires.

"They've done pretty well," he said.

Weiner handed out a study of the Republican plan that his office had prepared. The study claims the following will happen over 10 years:

* Over 300,000 Queens seniors would lose their guaranteed Medicare benefits and be forced to pay premium costs;
* Over $20 billion would be cut from Medicaid;
* Title 1 funding, which supports primary and secondary schools, would be reduced by over $205 million;
* Pell Grants, which provide money to college students, would be cut by $1 billion;
* Federal grants to the New York Police Department that are allocated to Queens would be cut $111 million;
* The MTA would lose over $667 million;
* The Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program would be slashed by over $68 million; and
* The Public Housing Operating Fund, which subsidizes public housing agencies, would shrink by roughly $310 million.

Weiner was blasting a budget proposal that Republican House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan, R-WI., recently released. Though not mentioned in Weiner's study, Ryan's plan calls for the federal government to award block grants to states for Medicaid, transferring the money from Washington D.C. to state capitals. Health care for those who could not afford it would then be administered at the state level. The proposal has been compared to President Bill Clinton's welfare overhaul.

The GOP proposal would also lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent and keep defense spending at close to the current rate the same.

President Barack Obama will unveil the Democrats' budget proposal this week. Democrats and Republicans will then have to negotiate their two plans to form one budget.

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