2006-03-03 / Community

Congressman Gregory Meeks Gives Thumbs Down To Bush Budget

Representative Gregory W. Meeks rejected the Bush Administration’s explanation of its failure to fund one of the nation’s premiere labs studying renewable energies. Despite energy proposals outlined in the State of the Union Address, the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory which is developing the energy technologies the President has said he supports had a $28 million budget shortfall until this weekend when shortly before a visit from the President $5 million in funds were restored. 

The President proposed a 22 percent increase in funding for clean energy technology research yet two weeks ago due to lack of federal funds, 32 workers were laid off at the Laboratory. 

“It is no coincidence that over the weekend, just before last week’s visit by the President to the Research Institute, the Energy Secretary transferred $5 million to the operating contractor for the lab. This is a shameful ploy to cover up another glaring example of the failure of this Administration to live up to its promises. To make matters worse $5 million will not come close to restoring these critical programs,” said Rep. Meeks. 

“I have always believed the old adage that actions speak louder than words.  The actions this weekend and the budget failures of the Administration over the past five years are proof that the American people are not at the top of the list of priorities in the White House. 

It is our obligation as lawmakers to work on behalf of all the people’s interests, not just the interests of the wealthy and politically-connected,” said Rep. Meeks. “The President’s budget and failure to deliver on promises made clearly fails the test. The budget, more than any statement from the President, tells us just where this Administration’s priorities are. It is fiscally reckless and morally wrong to put tax cuts for the wealthy ahead of adequate education for our children, healthcare for our most needy, and job training and employment assistance for Americans looking for jobs.”

Since President Bush took office the economy has not been working for New Yorkers and the Administration has done nothing to fix the damage.  In New York 487,146 people are currently looking for work, family income has dropped by $709 since 2000 while health care and energy prices are climbing. Yet the President’s budget eliminates $238,365,000 in funding for job training and employment services in New York. The budget also eliminates $99 million in preventative and community health funding nationwide and cuts Medicare by $36 billion over the next five years resulting in $1,171,328,406 in cuts to hospitals, home health providers serving seniors and people with disabilities in New York, reports Meeks. 

 The children of New York are not protected from the betrayal of the Administration’s budget. The No Child Left Behind Act has been under funded by $55 billion nationwide over the past five years. In New York 300,605 children will go without the reading and math help they have been promised and there is $403,834,534 less than promised for children with disabilities. 

“The true priorities of the Administration cannot be disguised when we have a budget proposal creating trillions of dollars in new deficits that threaten our economy, squanders $1.5 trillion on tax breaks for the wealthy, and fails to live up to the rhetoric of the President’s State of the Union, particularly when it comes to educating our children so that America can remain competitive with the rest of the world.”

“This disappointing budget is just more of the same misplaced priorities, cutting health care and education programs critical to America’s working families, while saddling our children and grandchildren’s future with never-ending deficits and rising national debt,” said Meeks.

“I will fight for a budget that restores fiscal responsibility and brings real solutions to the American people: economic prosperity, affordable health care and energy, and strong public schools,” continued Rep. Meeks. “Over the last five years, President Bush has lost control of the deficit and the national debt. Under President Bush, we have gone from a projected 10-year surplus of $5.6 trillion to a projected deficit over the same period of $3.3 trillion - a reversal of $8.9 trillion.  America deserves better than out-of-control deficits and misplaced priorities.”

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