President Bush's 2006 budget cuts vital funds, adds trillions to debt
By Congressman Bart Stupak March 17, 2005
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Bush's 2006 budget is simply irresponsible. It cuts vital funds for health care, homeland security, education, jobs and veterans' programs and adds trillions to our nation's debt over coming years.
As if that isn't hard enough to explain -- the budget does not include a dime for the War in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Nor does it include one dime for the President's plan to privatize Social Security. The budget does not include enough of an increase to pay for the VA to take care of the more than 10,000 soldiers who have been injured, many severely, in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is no "extra" money in the budget to take care of these heroes!
So you're probably going to ask, how does one cut programs AND put the country deeper into debt? The answer is the tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest Americans which we will all end up paying for through loss of critical services. This is fiscal irresponsibility at its worst.
Let me be clear: I am a strong advocate for middle-class tax relief to keep our economy working. I have repeatedly voted to extend and make permanent middle-class tax cuts like the elimination of the marriage penalty and the child tax credit. However, the President's budget chooses tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans over reductions in spending and meaningful investments in programs for working families, children and seniors.
Even as tens of thousands of Michiganders go without health care, the budget slashes Medicaid by $60 billion over 10 years. We can't afford cuts to a program that provides vital nursing home care and health care coverage for thousands of working-class, disabled and elderly Michiganders. At the same time the President's budget overpays Medicare HMO's by billions of dollars. This shows a lack of moral responsibility.
Even though it is more difficult for rural Americans to access health care, this budget proposes cutting rural health care programs by 80 % in 2006 alone. Our community hospitals and doctors depend upon this funding to provide services to you!
The budget raises health care costs for the 913,573 veterans in Michigan and hundreds of thousands of veterans throughout the country. As we welcome new veterans home from Iraq and Afghanistan, the budget will require them to pay more for health care and prescription drugs even though they earned their health care benefits through their service to our country. In addition, the budget would slash over $1 million in funding for the Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette, jeopardizing the long-term care of many local veterans. This is no way to honor our men and women who served in uniform.
The budget also cuts funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program by $480 million, resulting in an 80% cut to the COPS program in Michigan. It breaks the promise made by the President in the recently signed "9/11 Commission legislation" to add 2,000 border patrol agents in 2006, by providing funding for only 210 agents. In the days since September 11th, we should be providing more resources to protect our homeland, not cutting these much needed services. The budget also eliminates the Byrne Formula Grants, which fund much of Michigan's drug task forces like UPSET, SANE, HUNT and TNT. We cannot afford to abandon the efforts to keep drugs off our streets and out of our schools.
Speaking of schools, our State and local governments are being forced to make drastic cuts in education services in order to pay for requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act. This budget fails to provide billions in promised education funding
-- denying 96,863 children in Michigan smaller classroom sizes, better resources for teachers, and help with reading and math they need to succeed.
In a state where we have lost 147,700 manufacturing jobs, this budget does nothing to help Michigan rebound. It cuts the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program by 57% and eliminates the Advanced Technology Program. It also eliminates millions of dollars in funding for job training and vocational education programs. To add insult onto injury, the President's new plan to privatize social security would reduce the guaranteed benefit for Michigan workers. The President's Social Security plan does not work for working class America.
Today (March 17, 2005) Members of Congress voted on several versions of the Budget. I voted against the President's Budget because it is fiscally irresponsible and leaves behind working families and veterans who served our country with honor. Instead, I voted for the Democratic Substitute because it represents the values of northern Michigan in protecting in honoring the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, keeping our local communities secure and safeguarding the future for our children and grandchildren.
Editor's Notes: Congressman Bart Stupak will visit the local area on Wednesday,
March 23. He will hold a Town Hall Meeting from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
(EST) in the Ramada Inn (Portage Room), 99 Navy Street,
Hancock. From 9:15 a.m. to 10 a.m. (EST) Stupak will speaking to the Dollar Bay High School Government Class, 48475 Maple Dr., Dollar Bay.
He will have lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (EST) at the Dollar Bay Senior Center, First Lutheran Church, 23415 Granite Ave, Dollar
Constituents can contact Congressman Stupak and his staff by calling toll-free
1-800-950-7371 or by emailing him at
firstname.lastname@example.org. His Congressional Aide Amy Wisti may be reached in Houghton from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.,
Monday through Thursday, at (906) 482-1371.
For Rep. Stupak's views on current issues, visit his
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|Note: Views expressed by our guest columnists are not necessarily the views of Keweenaw Now.
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