By Mark Hallum
Members of Congress from Queens slammed the Trump administration’s budget proposal for the 2018 fiscal year, saying it neglected the needs of programs which serve the poor and disabled. They also said the blueprint stripped funding from vital agencies that protect the city, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and NYPD counterterrorism.
Among the detractors were U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), and U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) who contended last week that the goals in the proposed budget not only leave vulnerable members of society to fend for themselves, but goes against promises made to help these groups.
“It stands beyond reason that a president who claimed to be concerned with working Americans, expanding the American economy, and keeping Americans healthy would author a budget that makes sweeping cuts to all these critical areas,” said Crowley. “It is abundantly clear that instead of investing in early education, skills training programs, and medical research, President Trump is only interested in inflicting deep cuts to the programs Americans rely on – which amounts to an assault on working families and the poor.”
According to Crowley, the situation only gets worse when funds go toward defense and away from diplomacy.
“Nothing about the fiscal year 2018 budget puts America on the path toward long-term security,” Crowley said. “Pumping up defense spending while stripping funding for peacekeeping and other diplomatic efforts is extremely misguided. The budget proposal also has far too little support for veterans, as it would make deep cuts to National Institutes of Health and job training programs tailored toward returning service members.”
Meng said the impact of the budget would be sweeping and affect nearly every demographic, especially when it comes to medical research and regulating the amount of toxic waste going into the environment.
“His budget claims to put ‘America First,’ but I fail to see how slashing funding by $54 billion for our most vulnerable citizens is patriotic. The budget calls for a complete elimination of essential programs such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps low-income families, particularly those with children or senior citizens in the home, with energy costs during cold winter and hot summer months. This program provides critical heating and cooling support to over 1 million New York households. Other programs will have their funding restricted, such as the Meals on Wheels program, which provides food to impoverished older and disabled Americans who can’t leave their homes.”
Maloney said working families will be the most profoundly hurt with cuts to education and affordable housing. The cuts will bring order to the nation’s fiscal standing, but will be cutting programs which are essential to the survival of many Americans.
“New York City, in particular, would be hard hit by this budget. Our Department of Housing Preservation and Development would see $20 million disappear, meaning loss of rental assistance to 39,000 New Yorkers. Nutrition assistance and early childhood education for low-income students would be slashed,” Maloney said. “The National Institutes of Health, which funds critical research at New York City hospitals to diagnose and prevent cancer, heart disease, and dozens of other illnesses, would be cut by nearly $6 billion or about 18 percent.”
She added that the cleanup of Newtown Creek would be affected by the EPA’s 30 percent cut in funding.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill posted on Twitter that all federal funding to the NYPD would be stripped in a crippling blow to the entire counterterrorism program which protects one of the nation’s most high profile targets.
“Under @POTUS budget, virtually all fed funding to #NYPD eradicated. Entire counterterrorism apparatus in nation’s top terror target hobbled,” he said.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall