San­ders Says Se­nate Must Not Give in on House-Planned Cuts for Se­niors, Chil­dren

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Burlington, VT

U.S. Sen. Bernie San­ders (I-Vt.) said that the Se­nate must call the bluff of House Repub­li­cans de­mand­ing deeper cuts in Head Start, Meals on Wheels and other pro­grams for work­ing fam­i­lies. A pro­posal set for a House vote this week in­cludes the deeper spend­ing cuts in a con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion to keep the govern­ment from shut­ting down af­ter the new fis­cal year be­gins Oct. 1. The pro­posal would lock in across-the-board cuts known as se­ques­tra­tion but carve out an ex­cep­tion for the Pen­tagon, which would get a $20-bil­lion boost.

A mem­ber of the Se­nate Bud­get Com­mit­tee, San­ders said it would be a “tragic mis­take” and a “ter­ri­ble prece­dent” if the Se­nate were to go along with the House and fur­ther slash pro­grams for chil­dren, the el­derly, work­ing fam­i­lies and the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in this coun­try.

If the Se­nate ac­cepts the House Repub­li­can plan, San­ders said in a let­ter to Se­nate col­leagues, “more Amer­i­cans will lose their jobs; more chil­dren will be thrown off of Head Start; more Amer­i­cans will be un­able to af­ford to send their kids to child care; more teach­ers will be thrown out on the street; more se­nior cit­i­zens will go hun­gry, and more work­ing fam­i­lies will be un­able to heat their homes this win­ter. In the rich­est coun­try on the face of the earth, that would be morally re­pug­nant and bad eco­nomic pol­icy.”

The pro­posal by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) would re­sult in a $1 bil­lion, 12 per­cent, cut in Head Start com­pared to 2002 spend­ing lev­els. A $2.3 bil­lion cut in ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams for dis­ad­van­taged chil­dren would rep­re­sent a 14 per­cent cut since 2010. Home heat­ing as­sis­tance for the el­derly and fam­i­lies with chil­dren would be slashed by more than $1.8 bil­lion com­pared to 2010, a 35 per­cent cut. An­other $1.4 bil­lion would be lopped off a pro­gram that pro­vides af­ford­able hous­ing for work­ing fam­i­lies with chil­dren, a 60 per­cent cut com­pared to three years ago.

In ad­di­tion to the di­rect im­pact of the cuts, the Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice pro­jected that se­ques­tra­tion would re­sult in the loss of 900,000 jobs and cause a sig­nif­i­cant 0.7 per­cent drop in gross do­mes­tic prod­uct next year.

“Many of us have fought to re­place th­ese harm­ful cuts by clos­ing tax loop­holes that ben­e­fit the most prof­itable cor­po­ra­tions and wealth­i­est peo­ple in this coun­try, but not one Repub­li­can has joined us in this ef­fort.” San­ders said. “At a time when 21.5 mil­lion Amer­i­cans are un­em­ployed or un­der-em­ployed, and the num­ber of Amer­i­cans liv­ing in poverty is near an all-time high, the Amer­i­can peo­ple can­not take even more aus­ter­ity,” he added.

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