Senate Democrats

Senate Democrats’ Budget Strengthens America While the Bush Republicans’ Would Weaken It

The Senate Democrats’ budget makes America more secure by investing in our national security and our homeland security. On veterans and troops, the Democratic budget closes a $3 billion shortfall under the Bush Republican budget while rejecting the Bush Republican budget’s attempt to raise co-pays for veterans. In recognition of their service, the Democratic budget fully funds our troops in harms way and gives them a pay increase. The Democratic budget also invests in our security here at home. The Democratic budget funds local law enforcement programs, first responders and strengthens our nation’s homeland security.  In contrast, the Bush Republican budget eliminates the COPS program and slashes funding for first responders and other vital homeland security programs. While Bush Republicans talk tough on security, the Democratic budget invests in security.  

Senate Democrats’ Budget takes care of our nation’s veterans and troops:

Senate Democrats’ Budget Includes $3.2 Billion More than Bush Requested for Veterans’ Programs. “The Chairman’s Mark provides $48.2 billion in 2009 for discretionary veterans programs, including medical care. This amount is $3.2 billion more than the President’s proposed funding level. The funding in the Chairman’s Mark will ensure that the Veterans Health Administration within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can provide the highest quality health care for all veterans.” [Chairman’s Mark of FY 2009 Budget Resolution, 3/6/08

  • Veterans Groups Estimated Full Funding for Veterans Health Care Would Need an Increase of $3 Billion Above the President’s Level. “Paralyzed Veterans of America’s (Paralyzed Veterans) National President Randy L. Pleva, Sr. today urged Congress to close an estimated $3 billion veterans healthcare gap in President Bush’s recent FY 2009 budget. According to The Independent Budget (IB)—a comprehensive budget and policy document co-authored by Paralyzed Veterans, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, and Veterans of Foreign Wars—the Administration’s funding request falls short in the key areas of healthcare ($1.6 billion short), prosthetic research ($113 million short), veterans’ benefits processing ($300 million short), and construction programs ($1 billion short).” [Paralyzed Veterans of America Press Release, 3/6/08]  

Senate Democrats’ Budget Provides Military Pay Raise, Rejects TRICARE Fees. “The Chairman’s Mark provides for a 3.4 percent pay raise for military personnel, and again rejects the President’s proposals for new TRICARE enrollment fees and deductibles for military retirees under the age of 65.” [Chairman’s Mark of FY 2009 Budget Resolution, 3/6/08]

Senate Democrats’ Budget Supports Implementation of the Wounded Warriors Act. “The Chairman’s Mark supports efforts to implement fully the Wounded Warrior Act, Section 1635 in the National Defense Authorization Act. This provision requires the Department of Defense and the VA to develop a ‘fully interoperable electronic personal health information system’ and create a ‘joint program office’ to oversee the creation of this new health care system.” [Chairman’s Mark of FY 2009 Budget Resolution, 3/6/08]

Bush Republican budget fails our nation’s veterans:

Bush Republican Budget Increases Health Care Co-Pays for 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 Republican Budget Underfunded Veterans’ Programs by $3 Billion. “‘President Bush’s 2009 budget is short by $3 billion for our veterans and this means our seriously injured veterans will not get all the services they have earned and deserve. We urge Congress to close this gap by fully implementing our Independent Budget. It’s good for veterans. It’s good for America,’ Mr. Pleva stressed.” [Paralyzed Veterans of America Press Release, 3/6/08]

Senate Democrats’ budget fully funds our brave men and women in uniform:

Senate Democrats’ Budget Fully Funds the President’s Request for Defense Spending. “As it did last year, the Chairman’s Mark fully funds the President’s core defense budget request over the five-year budget window. It also fully funds the President’s request for $70 billion in additional war funding for 2009 and assumes the enactment of the President’s pending 2008 war funding request.” [Senate Budget Committee, 3/5/08]

Senate Democrats’ budget increases funding for law enforcement and first responders:

Senate Democrats’ Budget Restores Crucial COPS Program. “The Chairman’s Mark rejects the President’s proposal to eliminate the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), a cut of $599 million below the 2008 level adjusted for inflation. The Chairman’s Mark instead funds the COPS program at the 2008 inflation-adjusted level. The COPS program has put over 100,000 police officers in communities across the country. It provides valuable support for communications and equipment needs of local law enforcement. And this program has been critical in helping local law enforcement efforts, particularly in rural areas, to fight the production, distribution and use of methamphetamine.” [Chairman’s Mark of FY 2009 Budget Resolution, 3/6/08]

Senate Democrats’ Budget Provides $200 Million for Interoperable Communications. “In addition, the Mark provides $200 million for interoperable communications grants authorized by the Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007. The act established a new grant program to assist states in improving interoperable communications, including communications in collective response to natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.” [Chairman’s Mark of FY 2009 Budget Resolution, 3/6/08]

Senate Democrats’ Budget Restores Funding for First Responder Grants. “The Chairman’s Mark rejects the President’s efforts to shortchange our nation’s first responders by cutting grant programs at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). For example, the President proposes to cut Firefighter Grants by $463 million and State formula grants by $705 million below the 2008 level adjusted for inflation (excluding emergency funding). The Chairman’s Mark provides sufficient funding to keep these programs at the 2008 level adjusted for inflation.” [Chairman’s Mark of FY 2009 Budget Resolution, 3/6/08]

Senate Democrats’ Budget Rejects Cuts to Port, Transit and Rail Security Grants. “The Chairman’s Mark also rejects the President’s proposed cuts for other priority homeland security programs including port security grants and transit and rail security grants.” [Chairman’s Mark of FY 2009 Budget Resolution, 3/6/08]

Bush Republican budget slashes funding for law enforcement and first responders:

Bush Republican Budget Eliminates COPS Programs, Slashes Public Safety Programs to States and Local Communities by Two-Thirds.  “Public safety programs important to states and localities are cut by nearly two-thirds.  These include juvenile justice programs, the COPS community policing program, prevention of violence against women, assistance for areas with high drug trafficking, and other programs.  In addition, grants for homeland security, which include reductions in support for first responders, are cut by 45 percent.”  [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 2/4/08]

 Bush Republican Budget Dramatically Reduces Support for First Responders. “‘The president’s budget is an abrupt and dramatic reduction of federal support for our nation’s firefighting and EMS personnel,’ said Philip C. Stittleburg, chair of the National Volunteer Fire Council…As he did in his fiscal 2008 budget, the president proposed only $300 million for the Fire Act grants program (less than one-third of the $1 billion Congress authorized for the program). Congress defied the president and awarded $560 million for Fire Act grants in 2008 (compared with $650 million in fiscal 2005, $540 million in fiscal 2006, and $547 million in fiscal 2007). Fire-based EMS programs benefit from the grants, and 2% of the grants go to non-fire-based, not-for-profit ambulance services.” [EMS Insider, 3/1/08]

  • Bush Republican Budget Eliminates SAFER Grants to Fire Departments, Slashes Homeland Security Grants. “The president proposed eliminating the SAFER grants program this year as he did in 2007, when Congress appropriated $190 million for the program, which helps fire departments hire personnel. He also proposed only $200 million for the first-responder State Homeland Security Grant Program, which Congress gave $950 million to in fiscal 2008…” [EMS Insider, 3/1/08]

Bush Republican Budget Shortchanges 9/11 Rescue Workers and Volunteers. “A special health program for rescue workers and volunteers who responded to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 would be cut by 77 percent, to $25 million, even though the administration has said that many workers were exposed to ‘unprecedented levels of risk’ for lung disease and other illnesses.” [New York Times, 2/2/08]