Senate Democrats

Bush Budget Lowlights

President Bush’s final budget continues down the  same fiscally irresponsible path  he started on seven years ago –  weakening America’s economy by running up massive deficits and making large cuts in America’s priorities. As more Americans feel the effects of the current economic downturn, President Bush’s proposed cuts to home heating assistance, job training and education programs show just how out of touch he is. Democrats will continue to strengthen our economy, by investing in middle class families and responsibly funding America’s priorities.

Bush budget drowns our economy by running up massive deficits and debt:

The Bush Budget Will Produce Near-Record Deficits. “The federal budget deficit will soar to near-record levels in fiscal 2008 and 2009, the Bush administration said Monday in its $3.1 trillion budget request, a surge in red ink attributable to cooling corporate tax receipts and the cost of a short-term economic stimulus package. The White House expects the deficit to reach $410 billion in the current fiscal year, just short of the record set four years ago. In fiscal 2009, which begins in October, the budget gap is seen at $407 billion.” [Wall Street Journal, 1/4/08]

The Bush Budget Will Increase Debt.  In 2001, the nation’s debt was at $5.8 trillion.  By its own terms, the Bush budget calls for more than $12 trillion in debt in 2013, and actual levels would be much higher, because the budget fails to include the full costs of the war in Iraq, among other omissions.  Much of the additional borrowing is likely to come from foreigners, even though President Bush has already more than doubled our foreign-held debt in just seven years.  [Office of Management and Budget, 2/4/08]

Bush budget cuts aid to Americans who are feeling the effects of the economic downturn:

The Bush Budget Would Cut Funding to Help Poor Families Heat Their Homes. “In addition to freezing scores of programs, Bush proposed cutting some 22 percent of the funding for the program that helps poor families pay to heat their homes as well as reduces aid for Amtrak passenger rail service by almost 34 percent.” [Reuters, 2/4/08]

The Bush Budget Would Slash Job Training Funding. The President’s budget would reduce funding for Employment Service/One-Stop Career Centers from $820 million in FY 2007 to just $69 million in FY 2009. The budget also reduces funding for training and employment services from $3.5 billion in FY 2007 to $3 billion in FY 2009.

The Bush Budget Would Eliminate the Community Services Block Grant – Which Provides More Than $600 Million to Local Communities to Fight Poverty. “Mr. Bush’s budget would end the Community Services Block Grant, a $654 million program that provides housing, nutrition, education and job services to low-income people.” According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services the CSBG program provides “funds to alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty in communities.” [New York Times, 2/2/08; CSBG Fact Sheet]

The Bush Budget Would Reduce Funding for a Vital Economic Development Program By Almost $1 Billion. For 2008, Democrats funded the Community Development Fund for state and local governments at $3.9 billion. In his 2009 budget, the President cut funding for the program by almost $1 billion, to $3 billion. The President said the program was “not well-targeted to the neediest communities and its results have not been adequately demonstrated.” However, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, for fiscal year 2006 (the last year data is available), over 11 million people benefited from CDBG Public Service grants and almost 2 million Americans benefited from CDBG public improvement grants. Furthermore, the CDBG assisted almost 180,000 households in 2006 and created over 55,000 jobs that year. Finally, in addition to ensuing decent affordable housing to the nation’s most vulnerable communities, the Community Development Block Grant can also be used by local government for the purchase and rehabilitation of foreclosed properties. [President’s Budget – Department of Housing and Urban Development, FY 2009; CDBG Accomplishment Data, FY 2005 & 2006; Modesto Bee, 1/23/08]

Bush budget shortchanges America’s health care needs:

The Bush Budget Would Cut Medicare and Medicaid by Almost $200 Billion Over Five Years. “[Medicare and Medicaid] will see almost $200 billion in cuts over the next five years, about three times the savings proposed last year but rejected by Congress. Much of the savings would come from freezing reimbursement rates for most health care providers for three years and from cutting payments to hospitals serving large numbers of the uninsured poor.” [Associated Press, 2/3/08]

The Bush Budget Would Cut Funding for Teaching Hospitals and Freeze Funding for Medical Research. “President Bush wants to cut funding for teaching hospitals and freeze medical research in a $3 trillion budget for 2009 that is still likely to generate a record deficit once war costs are tallied up.  The Bush budget to be submitted Monday would cut the budget for the Health and Human Services Department by $2 billion, or 3%.”  [USA Today, 2/1/08]

Bush budget shortchanges our children’s education:

The Bush Budget Would Eliminate the Perkins Loan Program and Recall $1.1 Billion in Student Loans. The President has proposed a $1.1 billion recall in the popular Perkins Loan program for college students with exceptional financial needs in his FY 2009 budget. Perkins Loans are considered the best student loans available because there are no origination or default fees and they offer better cancellation provisions than other Stafford or PLUS loans. [Office of Management and Budget, 2/4/08; Department of Education, 2/4/08

The Bush Budget Would Terminate Grants for College Students with Exceptional Financial Need. The President’s FY 2009 budget proposed terminating the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants Program, which help students from low-income families receive a college education. The grant program is only available to college students with exceptional financial need. [Office of Management and Budget, 2/4/08; Department of Education, 2/4/08

The Bush Budget Would Eliminate 47 Education Programs. “Bush seeks to eliminate 47 other education programs that are seen as unnecessary including programs to encourage art in the schools, bring low-income students on trips to Washington and provide mental health services.”  [Washington Post, 2/3/08]

Bush budget raises veteran’s health care costs:

The President Sought To Increase Health Care Co-Pays on Veterans. The President’s budget would allow the Defense Department to increase cost-sharing non-Medicare eligible retirees. [Office of Management and Budget, FY 2009 Budget, 2/4/08; Budget of the U.S. Government Appendix, FY 2009 Budget]

Bush budget makes us less safe by cutting aid to local governments for law enforcement and homeland security:

The Bush Budget Would Slash Local Law Enforcement Programs. Under President Bush’s FY 2009 budget, funding for the Community Oriented Policing Program would be eliminated and local law enforcement assistance programs representing over $2 billion in spending would be consolidated into four grant programs totaling just $865 million. [Office of Management and Budget, FY 2009 Budget, 2/4/08]

The Bush Budget Would Cut Homeland Security Grants to State and Local Governments by $1 Billion. The President’s budget would provide $2.2 billion in grants to state and local partners in homeland security. For FY 2008, Congress provided $3.2 billion for state and local grants. [Office of Management and Budget, FY 2009 Budget, 2/4/08; CQ Weekly, 1/7/08]

Bush budget fails to include the cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:

President Bush Continues to Fund the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from Off-Budget Through Supplemental Appropriations Requests. “War-fighting supplement spending measures are outside the base Pentagon budget, an issue that has angered some in Congress. Pentagon officials have proposed a $70 billion special war budget just to carry on operations from Oct. 1, the start of the fiscal year, into the early months of the next presidency. Another supplemental spending proposal is expected before October, but after Gen. David H. Petraeus, the senior commander in Iraq, reports to Congress on his recommendations for troop levels through the end of 2008.” [New York Times, 2/4/08]