Oregon's Walden, senators split sharply on Trump budget

As you'd expect, GOP has praise, Democrats attack

WASHINGTON - (Update: adding Wyden spokesman's comment on how SNAP figure was reached)

As you'd probably expect, Oregon's lone Republican in Congress had praise Tuesday for President Trump's proposed budget, while the state's two Democratic senators offered nothing of the sort.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued the following statement after the administration released their fiscal year 2018 budget request. 

“This budget proposal demonstrates President Trump’s commitment to balancing the budget and responsibly prioritizing taxpayer dollars. The initiatives modernizing our energy infrastructure and promoting our nation’s energy abundance would undoubtedly make positive impacts on our constituents’ lives. The president’s proposals show the difficult choices facing the country as we work to reduce the deficit, protect our security, and grow jobs.”

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.,  blasted the Trump administration’s budget proposal, calling it a cynical assault on programs that provide crucial support for children and working families in Oregon:

“This budget uses “Madoff math” and failed economic theories that will burden future generations. This proposal is more than numbers on a lopsided ledger – it’s a cynical assault on the fundamental idea that Americans should be there for one another when it counts.

"Gutting food security programs and financial assistance for Americans who need a helping hand is an attempt to rip apart the last threads of our social safety net. Nearly seven million Oregonians have counted on SNAP benefits over the last decade, but this proposal would throw working families off SNAP when they can least afford it. (A spokesman said the figure came from taking the annual number of Oregonians on SNAP each year for the past 10 years and adding them together.)

“Trump’s budget breaks his promise not to touch Social Security, which at its core is lifeline insurance for Americans who can no longer work, not just in retirement, but also due to a disability. It also slashes Medicaid by over $600 billion beyond the damage done by Trumpcare, further threatening pediatric care, the nursing home benefit, special education programs in schools, and other health care like substance misuse treatment.

“This proposal takes from the playbook of Betsy DeVos, who has launched a full-fledged attack on public education in America. Robbing public schools of scarce taxpayer dollars flies in the face of America’s long-time, common-sense investment in education for all Americans. And by dismantling student loan programs that made it possible for many people to get a college education, this proposal throws more roadblocks in front of young Americans who work hard with the hope of one day getting ahead.   

“Additionally, Trump’s budget slashes resources for the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up industrial waste and protect clean air and clean water for American communities.

It would also sell off most of the Bonneville Power Administration, increasing costs for tens of thousands of Oregon homes and businesses. I successfully fought Republicans’ efforts more than a decade ago to privatize Bonneville Power, and I will fight this misguided attempt. Public power customers in the Pacific Northwest have paid for the system and their investment should not be put up for sale.

“I’m putting this budget where it belongs – in the trash can.”

Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement after President Donald J. Trump released his proposed 2018 budget:

“News flash to Donald Trump: Most Americans don't have their own skyscrapers and jets and golf courses. They’re working long hours; stressed out about how to pay for their kids’ education; worried that health care expenses could bankrupt them without insurance; and nervous each month that the money will run out before the days on the calendar do.

“For them, this budget is a disaster. The Trump budget’s Medicaid cuts would devastate 10 million families; those are people whose very lives could hang in the balance. The Trump budget’s cuts to Social Security could place an untold number of families just one accident or chronic disease away from financial devastation.

“There are students across America joyfully graduating from high school over these next few weeks whose promising futures are already blocked by sky-high college costs, but now the President’s budget wants to make college even more expensive for them. 

“Working parents need to make sure their kids are safe and learning while they are at work.  Yet this budget guts after-school programs.

“For many older Americans, the only way they can stay in their home is thanks to Meals on Wheels, yet the Trump budget would take away those deliveries. 

“And where will seniors in nursing homes go when the Republicans take away the Medicaid that pays for that care? Somehow I doubt President Trump will make room for those folks at Mar-a-Lago or Trump Tower.

“This budget isn’t just an accounting exercise by a bunch of politicians. It’s a blueprint with enormous real-world implications for millions of people who aren’t looking for a handout; they’re just trying to get by and make a better life for themselves and their families.

"Our job in government should be making the smart investments in our people, our infrastructure, and our future so that everyone who works hard can get ahead. Instead, this budget does the opposite, and would pull the rug out from millions. The rich and powerful are doing just fine. The last thing we should be doing is stacking the deck even more in their favor.”

Merkley highlighted many areas of specific concern that would directly impact the lives of working and middle class families:

·         Cuts more than $800 billion in Medicaid, breaking President Trump’s promise of no cuts to Medicaid and placing the health care of millions in jeopardy;

·         Cuts $72 billion from Social Security Disability Insurance, breaking President Trump’s promise of no cuts to Social Security and placing many working families just one accident or illness away from financial ruin;

·         Eliminates federally-subsidized student loans, jacking up the interest that most students will have to pay over the life of their loans by thousands of dollars;

·         Eliminates $1.2 billion for after-school programs and $2.1 billion for teacher training and class-size reduction at K-12 schools;

·         Prevents millions of women from accessing the health care provider of their choice by blocking reimbursements to Planned Parenthood;

·         Makes it harder for seniors to stay in their own homes and live independently with huge cuts to Meals on Wheels funding;

·         Pulls out the rug from millions of seniors who rely on Medicaid to keep a roof over their head and receive the care they need at nursing homes;

·         Cuts funding for meat inspection and shifts costs to user fees, raising prices for consumers;

·         Threatens reliable and affordable mail service, particularly for rural communities, by cutting the Postal Service by $46 billion;

·         Embraces huge cuts to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Rural Development that would be punch in the gut to rural America—slashing programs that farmers and ranchers rely on and cutting support that boosts rural infrastructure, ensures clean drinking water in rural communities, and helps rural entrepreneurs build their businesses.

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