Members of the U.S. Congress in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area soundly rejected President Donald Trump’s recently unveiled budget.
On May 23, Trump’s administration released his budget for fiscal year 2018 that called for cutting Medicaid by $800 billion in the next ten years and eliminating key social programs. D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) didn’t like the Trump budget at all but did see some nuggets that she could work with.
D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton says like many other representatives in the House that she is unhappy with Trump’s budget proposal. (Courtesy photo)
“While the Trump budget harshly and unsustainably cuts virtually all domestic programs, especially affecting the most vulnerable Americans, we were able to achieve a better-than-expected result for the District of Columbia,” Norton said in a statement. “However, I am already preparing to mount a coordinated effort with a broad coalition of allies to fight the anti-home rule riders blocking local D.C. laws during the upcoming appropriations process.”
The delegate noted positives in the president’s budget such as $30 million for the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant that helps D.C. students pay in-state tuition costs at public universities in other states and a financial aid for private institutions. However, the budget contains a rider that would try to block the city’s Death With Dignity Act (DWA) that became law without congressional interference earlier this year and Norton said that she will attempt to stop the “no local funds can be used” provision of the budget to prevent DWA.
The budget also contains familiar riders such as prohibiting the city from using its funds for abortions for low-income women and on commercializing marijuana and Norton said she would fight those, too.
Norton, who has served as a delegate to the U.S. Congress since 1991, was pleased that the budget contained funds for ongoing construction at St. Elizabeths West for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security headquarters and $150 million for capital improvements for Washington’s bus and subway system.
U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) represents much of Prince George’s County and parts of Anne Arundel County didn’t like the Trump proposal either.
“President Trump is proposing insidious cuts to programs American families depend on every day,” Brown said in a statement. “It is a laundry list of broken promises that targets the very people who need help the most. By cutting Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance, and slashing food stamps, disability insurance, school lunches, Meals on Wheels and Habitat for Humanity-Trump eviscerates effective and proven programs that help working poor, middle-class families and seniors.
“We need to invest in education, workforce training and scientific research in order to promote sustainable growth and create jobs. Instead this budget would be a catastrophic for my district, our state and our country.”
U.S. Rep. Robert Scott (D-Va.) said that the budget of the Congressional Black Caucus would be better for the nation.
“The federal budget must reflect our nation’s priorities,” Scott said in a statement. “The CBC budget works to strengthen our economy by making meaningful investments in education, transportation and infrastructure, the environment, scientific research and maintains a strong social safety net that protects our most vulnerable. President Trump’s FY 18 budget seeks to cut $4.3 trillion over 10 years from program that support the most vulnerable and at the same time cuts taxes for the wealthiest Americans.”
In summary, the CBC budget would have $3.9 trillion in revenue enhancements by taxing the wealthy more; paying for universal health care coverage and supports primary, secondary and higher education with programs to help students manage debt and more money for HBCUs.
“Robin Hood in reverse-stealing from those most vulnerable while rewarding those who already have the most,” said U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va.).
“Middle class Americans, minority communities, low-income families, children and the elderly will suffer under this budget, which fails to protect funding for public education, health care, housing and the social safety net,” McEachin said in a statement.