Congressman Doyle Rejects Bush 2007 Budget Request
Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14)today released the following statement describing his reaction to the Fiscal Year 2007 federal budget request that President Bush delivered to Congress this morning:
“President Bush has proposed a $2.7 trillion federal budget for 2007 – with a deficit that will exceed $400 billion.
“He proposes spending more that half a trillion dollars on defense, Iraq ,Afghanistan , and homeland security – and his budget doesn't include nearly all of the costs for the war in Iraq .
“He also proposes cutting taxes by $280 billion over the next five years and $1.6 Trillion over the next ten years. If he follows through on his commitment to fix the Alternative Minimum Tax, he'll have to come up with an additional $800 billion over the next ten years or increase the national debt by a comparable amount.
“At the same time, he proposes $36 billion in cuts in Medicare, along with a number of smaller but no less devastating cuts in programs for poor and elderly Americans.
“This budget is just “more of the same” from President Bush. That's especially disturbing because the President's policies are hurting so many Americans and damaging our economy.
“The President insists on cutting vital programs for hard-pressed Americans to partially pay for tax cuts that go overwhelmingly to the well-to-do.
“To add insult to injury, President Bush's economic policies would place the burden of his tax cuts on the backs of our children.
“President Bush and a Republican-controlled Congress have increased the burden on our children by two and a half trillion dollars.
“Under this President, the budget has gone from record surpluses to record deficits and the national debt has increased from $5.6 trillion to $8.1 trillion.
“The long-term structural imbalance that the Republicans have produced between the federal government's revenues and its obligations will haunt Americans and our children for decades and, if not corrected, will eventually choke off economic growth and our standard of living.
“The negative impact that this budget would have on the nation as a whole is even more pronounced for southwestern Pennsylvania , due to our disproportionately elderly population and the above-average level of assistance that our region gets from the federal government.
“Cuts in Medicare reimbursements to hospitals and other providers will have a disproportionate impact on our region, which is a regional leader in health care.
“Similarly, the freeze in funding for the National Institutes of Health will hurt the cutting-edge research that is being conducted in our region on new treatments for devastating diseases like cancer.
“As with so many of the President's proposals, there's less to his new initiatives than meet the eye. The President's new competitiveness initiative, for example, consists primarily of reauthorizing a research tax credit that Congress has routinely renewed for the last 10 or 20 years.
“Most of his education initiatives consist of eliminating a number of existing education programs and reprogramming that money towards other education goals. For the fourth year in a row, the President has proposed under-funding his signature education initiative – the No Child Left Behind Act – and for the fourth year in a row, he's failed to increase the Pell Grant for college students, most of whom are hard-pressed to keep up with the skyrocketing costs of higher education.
“Similarly, his “Strengthening America's Communities” initiative looks at first glance like a shell game in which he plans to consolidate funding for federal community development programs in a larger block grant and reduce overall funding for those programs in the process. He proposed basically the same thing last year, but Congress rejected his proposal once its impact became clear. The Community Development Block Grant program provides 20 million dollars a year to the City ofPittsburgh and another $20 million each year to Allegheny County . While it's difficult to tell at this point what the President's budget would do to the CDBG program, his budget last year was estimated to cut local CDBG funding by about $15 million or 30 percent. That would really hurt the communities in my district, which use that money for all kinds of redevelopment projects and social services.
“The President has proposed a roughly 20 percent cut in the Corps of Engineers budget for maintenance and improvement of our nation's waterways (from $7.4 billion to $5.8 billion). That can't fail to have a devastating impact on our region's waterways, which have already had their budgets and staff cut back significantly.
“While we can't tell what impact the President's budget will have on the 911 th , we know the President wants to cut the National Guard substantially, so we have to expect a fight over adequate funding for the facility's new anti-terrorism role.
“The President's budget contains nothing for Mag-Lev or any other part of the Next Generation High-Speed Rail program; I consider that incredibly short-sighted and a great loss for southwestern Pennsylvania if the President's request is adopted, because our region is poised to establish an important new steel manufacturing industry based on the Mag-Lev technology.
“I'm pleased to note, however, that President Bush included $55 million in his budget for the North Shore Connector, which is the amount that the Port Authority ofAllegheny County and local leaders had been hoping for in the 2007 budget.”