I know very little about politics, but I know the difference between right and wrong. What I read about Donald Trumps proposed budget (I am sorry, I just can’t call him President) is wrong and will ultimately hurt the poor and middle classes.
I want to thank Mike Doyle, Representative of the 14th District of Pennsylvania, (my hometown), Member of Congress, for his diligence and support of those who need it most. “I can assure you that I will do everything I can in Congress to fight for policies and budgets that help the vast majority of people in Pittsburgh NOT just those at the top!” (Mike Doyle, Member of Congress)
I would advise all of you, especially parents to reach out to your District Representative and sign-up for their e-newsletter so that you too can be informed of what is going on politically and socially in this country…so far 2018 looks like it is going to be extremely difficult for the middle class!
Below is a copy of the Doyle E-Newsletter #73, distributed April 4, 2017:
News from Representative Mike Doyle
Every year, Congress must approve a budget for the federal government for the following year. The federal budget process calls for the President to send his budget request to Congress on the first Monday in February, but since new presidents are sworn in on January 20, no one expects them to send a fully fleshed-out budget to Congress two weeks later. In those circumstances, the new Administration typically sends Congress a “skinny” budget a broad outline in late February or early March.
The White House sent Congress President Trump’s “skinny budget” on March 16. This budget lacked a lot of the information that inauguration-year budgets typically include like spending totals, revenue estimates, and projections for spending on mandatory spending programs like Social Security and Medicare:
This “skinny budget” was downright “skeletal.” It only presented the President’s plan for the part of the budget referred to as “discretionary spending.” That’s the part of the budget that funds the day-to-day operations of the federal government such as research at NASA and NIH, transportation and flood control projects, education and public health programs, the FBI and federal courts and prisons, and our armed forces.
Last year, the federal government spent $584 billion on defense and other national security programs and $600 billion on everything else in the discretionary spending category (generally referred to as “non-defense discretionary” spending).
Non-defense discretionary spending has been cut significantly over the last 6 years.
Nevertheless, President Trump has proposed cutting non-defense discretionary spending by 10 percent $54 Billion and using those “savings” to increase defense spending, deport undocumented immigrants, and build a wall along the US border with Mexico.
“Taking a meat ax to programs that benefit the middle class”
The President’s budget proposes eliminating funding for 19 agencies and more than 60 programs, including valuable programs like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Community Development Block Grants (CDBGs), Community Service Block Grants (CSBGs), public broadcasting, the Legal Services Corporation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
It would cut or eliminate programs across the federal government that address climate change issues. It would cut job training programs and programs that help students pay for college. And it would make devastating cuts in programs that help the poor. Remarkably, given the President’s repeated promise to invest in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, his budget proposes to cut funding for transportation programs.
Meat Ax, Meet Pittsburgh
The City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County have estimated that they would lose more than $80 million next year under the President’s budget:
- $25 million a year in Community Development Block Grants. (CDBG program eliminated)
- $3 million or more of the $25 million each year that local governments get through other HUD programs to help economically distressed communities and provide affordable housing to low-income families. (The President’s budget proposes a 13 percent cut in HUD funding)
- $2 million each year in Community Services Block Grant funding. (CSBG program eliminated)
- $15 million each year on average from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides emergency heating assistance to local residents each winter. (LIHEAP program eliminated)
- $7 million (on average over the last 6 years) for important local transportation initiatives. (elimination of federal “TIGER” grants)
- $30 million (on average) each year through the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. The CDFI Fund has provided essential grants and tax credits for many affordable housing and economic development initiatives in Pittsburgh, including East End Cooperative Ministry’s Community House, the Energy Innovation Center, and Wood Street Commons. (The CDFI Fund would award no new grants)
In addition, the President’s budget would eliminate federal agencies that awarded:
- More than $1.4 million in grants to local museums and libraries from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS would be eliminated)
- more than half a million dollars in grants to local cultural institutions in 2016 from the National Endowment for the Arts (the NEA would be eliminated)
- more than half a million dollars in grants to local cultural institutions in 2016 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (the NEH would be eliminated)
The President’s budget also proposes eliminating Amtrak’s long-distance routes, including Amtrak’s Capitol Limited train that runs from Washington to Pittsburgh and Chicago. That means Pittsburgh will no longer have any long-distance passenger rail service to other cities.
Finally, the President’s budget proposed cutting funding for NIH by 16.2 percent. Researchers in Pittsburgh were awarded more than $550 million in NIH grant funding in 2016. A 16 percent cut in that amount would mean nearly $100 million in lost NIH research funding for our region.
I believe that the policies proposed in the President’s budget would cause serious economic harm to the residents of Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District and I believe there’ll be more bad news when the rest of his budget is released.
If one examines President Trump’s February speech to a joint session of Congress, the health care bill he supported, his proposal for tax reform, and hisskinny budget, I believe the President’s budget priorities become abundantly clear:
- Cut health care for the poor, elderly, and disabled while cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy;
- Cut critical investments in our nation’s future while increasing spending on border guards and “security;”
- Cut funding for diplomacy, foreign aid, and alliances while building border walls and buying weapons; and
- Cut back key safety net programs in order to pay for “massive” tax cutswhich go mainly to the rich.
Those priorities reflect a radical change from those of the Obama Administration. It should come as no surprise that I disagree strongly with President Trump’s priorities.
In my opinion, the President’s priorities are misguided, callous, and counterproductive. I can assure you that I will do everything I can in Congress to fight for policies and budgets that help the vast majority of people in Pittsburgh NOT just those at the top!
It continues to be an honor and a pleasure to serve you. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions or want to request assistance in dealing with the federal government by going to my web site, http://doyle.house.gov/. You can also call my office at 202-225-2135.
Until next time, I am
Member of Congress
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