Pallone Blasts Trump’s Budget

Mar 17, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-06) released the following statement today after President Trump released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2018:

“Just like the Republican health care bill, the Trump budget eviscerates programs and services that help hardworking Americans while handing out huge tax cuts to the rich.

“The President has disparaged our military in order to justify a massive military buildup. Our nation already has the best military in the world, led by our courageous and talented men and women in uniform. Increasing military spending by more than $50 billion comes at the cost of cuts to the State Department’s peaceful diplomatic efforts and vital programs that assist working families. Not to mention, the President’s intention to pursue enhanced military operations – and his track record for acting before considering the consequences – would put more American lives in danger and make the world less secure.

“The President’s proposed cuts to environmental and public health programs are particularly troubling.  The budget abandons EPA’s commitment to public health and environmental protection by cutting 31 percent of the agency’s budget and shifting the burden to cash-strapped states.  It slashes grant programs, guts enforcement, and eliminates thousands of jobs that are critical to meeting the EPA’s mission.  The proposal also cuts hundreds of millions of dollars from the Superfund program, which would drastically delay long overdue cleanups around the nation and in my home state of New Jersey.

“The Trump ‘fossil first’ budget also abandons the great progress made on tackling climate change by completely eliminating funding for all climate programs.  Our nation has historically been a global leader on climate change, which makes the Trump administration’s myopic view of this real threat particularly embarrassing.

“The budget walks away from our commitment to investments in clean energy and energy efficiency.  It cancels the popular Energy Star program that saves consumers money and reduces energy consumption.  It eliminates the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides vital assistance to low-income families to heat and cool their homes.  The budget also abolishes all funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program and State Energy Program, turning our back on states that rely on this critical funding to achieve their energy and environmental goals, and to assist low-income and minority communities.

“President Trump is also proposing a $5.8 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), close to a 20 percent cut.  The hiring freeze instituted by President Trump earlier this year already threatened to cripple NIH’s ability to spur medical innovation, now this cut will devastate NIH’s biomedical research efforts by forcing NIH to eliminate potentially lifesaving research and training activities.

“Cuts to NIH and other public health programs could also harm our efforts to respond to the mental health and opioid crises facing our nation by slashing funding for programs that increase the mental health and substance abuse workforce.  This cut will undermine our efforts to meet other pressing health workforce needs, such as increasing the primary care workforce, increasing the nursing professionals available to staff our health facilities, and increasing the geriatrics workforce to meet the needs of our aging population.

“The budget proposal could also endanger our nation’s pipeline of innovative drugs and medical devices by endangering funding for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The Trump budget proposes altering revenue streams for FDA from stable, appropriated funding to increased user-fee funding.  This proposal could threaten the agency’s ability to hire and train medical product staff, carry out critical activities to ensure the safety and effectiveness of our drug supply, and effectively implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act which works to ensure a safe food supply.

“This blueprint is not a serious proposal.  President Trump should stop wasting time on budget proposals that cannot pass a Republican Congress, and instead put forward sensible budget and policy proposals that do more than cut taxes for the rich at the expense of everyone else.”