Congressman Serrano on President Trump’s Budget Proposal for FY2019
Washington, DC – Congressman José E. Serrano, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee and Ranking Member of the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Subcommittee, today released the following statement in response to President Trump’s budget blueprint for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY2019):
“The Trump Administration released a budget proposal based on the same misguided proposals and empty promises of the past: to “drain the swamp” by cutting spending on key programs while proposing to primarily increase defense spending to unnecessary levels, and to build a wall along the southern border that won’t fix our broken immigration system at a cost of $25 billion. These damaging ideas- if enacted into law- will hurt America’s competitiveness and its standing in the world.
“As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, it is very concerning to see this Administration propose further cuts to the government’s most important economic and social programs, which are crucial to people from the Bronx. The proposal would cut $263 billion from direct spending social safety net programs, primarily centered around a $214 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Last year alone, SNAP helped protect 44 million senior citizens, children and disabled people from hunger and starvation. It would also hurt Social Security by cutting $72 billion from disability programs. For some of these programs, like Medicaid and food stamps, the Administration is proposing new roadblocks on individuals’ ability to qualify for and access them in addition to the proposed budget cuts. Millions would also lose access to health care through the budget’s attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act once again and changes to Medicare payment policies. These cuts and policy changes will only make it harder for the average American, particularly the most vulnerable, to get by. For many of them, being able to access these programs and services is a matter of life or death.
“President Trump’s proposal for FY2019 also ransacks a number of programs that are key to America’s competitiveness and global standing. The blueprint proposes gradual cuts to non-defense discretionary spending after 2019 ($338 billion by 2028) that would essentially gut key programs for education, innovation, job creation, and the revitalization of local communities. It also fails to invest enough in our infrastructure; the $200 billion infrastructure investment the document highlights would come primarily from the private sector and local governments. In the area of foreign affairs, the Administration is proposing more cuts to the State Department and the elimination of the food aid program, further jeopardizing key diplomatic staff and diplomatic efforts abroad at a time of instability around the world.
“As the Ranking Democrat on the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, it is disheartening to see some of the most crucial programs for economic development, scientific innovation, environmental protection, and civil rights attacked once again. Among the programs proposed for elimination under the Department of Commerce are the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, the Economic Development Administration program, Coastal Zone Management Grants, the National Sea Grant Program, and the NOAA Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions. Among those sharply reduced are the Minority Business Development Agency, the International Trade Administration export assistance, and NOAA Climate Research. DOJ grants are effectively cut by over $347 million, including a cut of 55 percent ($122.5 million) to the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which provides grants to state and local government for hiring law enforcement officers. The Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service and the Legal Services Corporation, which so many people depend on to get legal assistance, is eliminated. Finally, the Trump budget unwisely seeks to turn over the International Space Station to commercial entities after the American people have invested over $100 billion in this program.
“The President’s budget guts key government programs for working families, including the very people he claims to champion, after giving the most generous tax cuts to the top one percent under the Republican tax reform approved lastyear. This is just the most recent example of this Administration’s values and whose side it’s really on. Once again Democrats will fight to prevent these draconian cuts from going through and advance proposals that invest in our communities, businesses, and families.”
Congressman José E. Serrano has represented The Bronx in Congress since 1990.