WASHINGTON, D.C. President Donald Trump unveiled a $1.15 trillion budget Thurs., March 16, 2017. In many cases, it reduces government spending and slashes social, medical and safety programs to finance a big boost in the military, as well as pay for part of the construction of a new wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Reaction to the budget proposal from local lawmakers is mixed along party lines. U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)released the following statement:
"Our country is nearly $20 trillion in debt, so it is vital the federal government is smart about how taxpayer money is spent and where it can find savings. Washington cannot continue the excesses of the past if we are ever going to get our financial house in order. President Trump's proposal reminds us that there are many unnecessary and duplicative programs that should be eliminated." Ernst went on to say will work to strengthen the military and national security.
First Dist. Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) made the following statement regarding the budget:
"It has long been said that a budget is a set of priorities, a vision of where one believes the country should be headed. The budget that the President unveiled today fails to reflect the priorities of Iowans I meet when traveling around the state." Among other things, Loebsack is critical of funding cuts vital to the economy.
"We need to pass a budget that grows our infrastructure, invests in Iowa's small towns and rural communities, and ensures any child who wants to can afford to attend college.," he added. According to Loebsack the following cuts will have a direct impact on Iowans:
· Cuts $95 million from the Rural Business and Cooperative Service that offers programs to support business development and job training opportunities for rural residents
· Eliminates the $500 million Water and Wastewater loan and grant program that funds rural water and waste infrastructure
· Eliminates the $221 million Economic Development Administration, which provides grants to struggling communities
· Cuts the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget by nearly twenty percent
· Eliminates LIHEAP, which helps low income families afford heating and energy costs
· Eliminates the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), including the 1,500 Iowans working with the AmeriCorps program
· Eliminates the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)
· Eliminates Essential Air Service, which subsidizes flights to rural airports, including a $1,917,566 cut to Burlington
· Eliminates TIGER grants that invest in road, rail, and transit projects
· Eliminates $3 billion CDBG program, which hurts rural infrastructure and provides help for modest income families in Iowa's cities
· Cuts $2.4 billion in grants for preparing and training teachers
· Cuts $1.2 billion for after-school and summer programs
· Cut $3.7 billion in grants for teacher training
· Cuts $581 million for disaster response, including:
o Public Assistance Funding: Supports the rebuilding of schools, hospitals, bridges, water treatment plants, and all kinds of public buildings, facilities and infrastructure. These grants also assist with covering the costs of debris removal and cleanup efforts in the immediate aftermath of a disaster
o Individual Assistance Funding: Enables people who have lost their homes to find temporary housing as well as provide food and shelter for their families
o Hazard Mitigation Grants: Provides support to fix vulnerabilities that were exposed in the most recent disaster, like relocating or elevating homes that were damaged
· Eliminates the Weatherization Assistance Program
U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is also disappointed in the budget plan:
"President Trump's budget is terrible economic policy and would be a disaster for America. Slashing funding for the things American families need most, like affordable housing, home heating, early childhood education, roads and bridges, and medical research and development, won't even come close to balancing the national budget but will hurt countless people along the way."
17th Dist. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos issued the following statement:
"This budget proves President Trump is breaking his promise to the hardworking men and women of America's heartland. Instead of laying out a real strategy to create jobs and grow the economy across rural America, President Trump has introduced a budget that will do the exact opposite by making some of his deepest cuts to the Department of Agriculture.
"His cuts to rural economic development funding will mean lost jobs and fewer opportunities for small town Americans. His decision to slash federal dollars for roads, bridges, airports and water infrastructure will ensure that thousands of hardworking men and women are left behind. President Trump is choosing to damage our agricultural economy by making it harder for our growers and producers to sell their crops by cutting agricultural research, market data collection, and closing local offices across rural America."