Tom Harkin - U.S. Seante

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Washington, D.C.—Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today released the following statement on the President’s 2007 Budget.

“The President’s Budget reminds us that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Just last week, the Senate passed another $70 billion in tax breaks, largely for the wealthy. And today, the bill came due, to be paid by seniors on fixed incomes, the working poor, people with disabilities, and public school children,” Harkin said.

“The President’s budget slashes resources for exactly the priorities we should be supporting: groundbreaking medical research, health care for our seniors, and education for our kids.”

“A budget is a moral document, and the President’s budget flunks the most basic moral test. It calls for literally hundreds of billions in additional tax cuts, with the lion’s share going to those making more than $1 million a year. And it calls for deep cuts to programs that our most vulnerable citizens depend on for their very survival.”

Medicare Slashed by $36 Billion: These deep cuts will compromise hospital care, home health care, lab tests, and other Medicare services for Iowa seniors and people with disabilities. Iowa’s Medicare providers already rank at the bottom for Medicare reimbursement and the Bush budget will make the problem even worse.

Education Faces Deepest Cuts in 26 Years: The President’s Budget calls for a $2.1 billion cut to education—the largest in history. The President substantially underfunds the No Child Left Behind Act, leaving behind 3.7 million students who could be fully served by Title I if the program were funded at the level he promised. It shortchanges students with disabilities by providing a smaller share of states’ total costs for special education for the second year in a row. In addition, the President eliminates all vocational education programs.

Cord Blood Stem Cell Bank Eliminated: The President’s Budget eliminates all funding for the Cord Blood Stem Cell Bank, an initiative that the President and the Republican leadership themselves touted in December. Harkin has secured funding for the Cord Blood Stem Cell Bank through the Labor HHS Appropriations subcommittee for several years.

Cuts to 18 of the 19 Institutes at the National Institutes of Health (NIH): The President’s budget would cut funding for 18 of the 19 institutes at NIH. Funds for the National Cancer Institute would drop by $40 million, and funds for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute would drop by $21 million.

Cuts to Initiatives that Serve the Most Vulnerable: The President’s budget eliminates already inadequate funding for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and slashes resources for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) by $500 million. These initiatives provide critical aid to states to ensure the availability of services for low-income children and families, the disabled and elderly.

Deep Cuts to Iowa Law Enforcement: Once again the President eliminated critical funding for local law enforcement, slashing the Office of Justice Programs budget by more than $1 billion. After sustaining massive cuts in each of the last three years– including a 42 percent cut in Iowa last year– the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant and the COPS programs are eliminated. The budget also once again targets the High Intensity Drug Program, redirecting funding away from the Midwest to the Border States. This program pays for highway interdiction of drug trafficking in Iowa as well as federal drug prosecutors.

Shortchanging Iowa’s Rural Communities: The Bush budget calls for deep cuts to farm bill initiatives the President has touted and fails to follow through on his State of the Union call to invest in renewable fuels. The Budget would drain federal spending from rural America by scaling back investment in farm income by 5 percent with additional cuts in conservation, renewable energy, broadband loans and agricultural research. This comes at the same time that farm income declined by 16 percent adjusted for inflation last year and farmers are confronting continued skyrocketing fuel and fertilizer costs.

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