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Rahall: New Republican Budget Cuts American Values

Location: Washington, DC

February 7, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-WV) expressed concerns with the newly released Republican budget from the White House today. "Hardworking West Virginians, who are trying to provide for their families and their futures, have to wonder why this budget finds more money for foreign aid and less money to invest here at home," Rahall said.

"This budget cuts into the heart of American values, such as honoring our veterans, educating our kids, protecting our families, and building for our futures, while evidently rebuilding the rest of the world," Rahall said. "The budget is silent on the expected cost of the war in Iraq or the cost of the President's plan to privatize social security, which Vice President Cheney estimated would cost trillions of dollars."

"The Republicans want to welcome our new Veterans home by doubling their prescription co-payments and cutting their benefits. This is not the way to run a grateful nation and it is not in line with American's traditional values."
Nearly one third of the programs proposed to be cut are in our children's educations, according to the Associated Press. "I have said it before and I will say it again, we cannot have a 1st class Nation on a two bit education system," Rahall continued. "We must adequately fund our education system if we want to keep pace with the rest of the world and have educated leaders for our future."

"This budget hurts our local police officers. The COPS program used to protect neighborhoods and streets and rural areas of southern West Virginia with more police officers is essentially killed off in this proposal," Rahall said.
"Investment for our businesses and industries? Forget it!" Rahall said. "This budget slashes everything from Industrial Park Grants to street repairs."

Amtrak, which was threatened by a $300 million cut in the White House budget last year, is a target again. Last year Amtrak was able to survive in large part to help from Senator Robert C. Byrd, but this year the Republican budget has proposed the elimination of all federal funding for Amtrak. "This request is flat out off track," said Rahall. "It seems that this crowd is dead set on rebuilding Iraq's transportation infrastructure and the economies of foreign countries, while letting ours fade away."

"We want a healthy economy, more jobs, and an improved standard of living," Rahall continued. "We must invest in our infrastructure to achieve these goals. It won't happen by cutting funding to small farmers, economic development projects, and funding for community programs across the country."

Rahall also expressed his displeasure in the funding for Abandoned Mine Lands. "The amount of money the Republicans are proposing is a drop in the bucket compared to the more than $2 billion in unspent AML funds sitting idle in the Treasury," said Rahall. "This is a disservice to coal mining communities in West Virginia and across the country. It certainly is not helpful to our continuing efforts to fight the human health and safety threats these abandoned coal mines pose."

Some of the many specific changes that the budget proposes include:

More than doubling co-payments for prescription drugs by our Nation's Veterans.

A $477 million cut in the COPS program which has served so many communities in West Virginia in the face of security threats.

$5.7 billion cut over 10 years to small farmers.

Major cuts over the next two years to the Economic Development Administration, which is a major source of funding for economic development projects in West Virginia.

All $4.7 billion cut from the Community Development Block Grant, which funds local economic opportunities for communities such as business development, affordable housing and disaster relief.

Funding for Amtrak will be cut completely, making it nearly impossible for the rail carrier to survive.

Funding cuts to many education programs.

Insufficient funding for Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) in West Virginia.

All while increasing foreign aid by $3.1 billion to a total of $22.8 billion.

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