"This is a bad news budget that once again reflects the misplaced priorities of the Bush Administration. It’s disappointing that after 7 years the Bush Administration isn’t able to develop a budget that better funds our nation’s priorities.
If enacted this budget would contribute to rising debts and soaring deficits, which will grow to more than $400 billion this year. Defense is up 7 percent. Homeland security is up 11 percent. But the remainder of domestic programs that matter most to Americans are slashed. This is one more step in the wrong direction.
Additionally, the budget doesn’t deal squarely with the realities facing our nation. The White House is only asking for a fraction of the costs – $70 billion – associated with combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It doesn’t provide a long-term fix to the AMT. And it assumes a permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts, which would make a bad fiscal situation worse.
Over the next days and weeks, more work needs to be done to analyze the budget and its impact on Americans. But following is preliminary analysis on how this proposed budget might affect just a few of California’s priorities.
- COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) – For the first time, President Bush has proposed full elimination of the COPS program. Last year, the Administration proposed just $32 million and Congress funded it at $587 million. The COPS program has proved to be very successful, I can’t understand why the Administration would seek to eliminate it. That’s why I’ll fight to make sure it is reauthorized and funded.
- Byrne/JAG (Grants to state and local law enforcement) – The budget continues the long-standing trend of cutting funds designed to help local and state law enforcement agencies fight crime. The $200 million proposed by the President is $150 million less than he proposed last year, and well below the funding restoration (from $170 million to $660 million in FY 08) that is currently being sought in the Supplemental for this program. I will continue to fight to make sure this important program is funded adequately.
- SCAAP – SCAAP reimburses state and local governments for the costs of incarcerating criminal aliens. The Administration has once again zeroed this program out. Congress will once again fund this program, I have no doubt.
- Forest Service Hazardous Fuels Reduction – The budget would cut hazardous fuels reduction by $13 million -- from $310.1 million enacted last year to $297 million. Our nation’s forest are tinder dry – and drought and global warming will only compound the problem and lead to more catastrophic wildfires. More needs to be done, not less. So I will work to increase funding to protect our nation’s public lands, and the communities that surround them, from fire.
- CALFED – The budget would cut CALFED funding by more than 20 percent -- from $40.1 million enacted last year to $32 million. The most significant cuts relate to storage feasibility studies, including nearly zeroing out the Los Vaqueros and Sites feasibility studies. These studies are critical for determining whether increasing surface storage is feasible, and I will work to add it back.
- Water Recycling – The President’s budget would nearly cut in half funding for California water recycling projects, from approximately $12 million enacted last year to approximately $6 million.
- Greenhouse gas reporting – Last year, I helped secure $3.4 million for a mandatory greenhouse gas reporting program, but there is no funding requested in this year’s budget. I think this is a mistake, because such a reporting program would be an important first step toward helping to understand and reduce our nation’s carbon footprint.
- Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) – The Budget slashes funding again for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) by $660 million or 18%, providing only $2.9 billion. This means California would lose $82 million of these critical funds that provide low-income families with affordable housing, job creation and training, among other important services.
- Education - The budget eliminates or slashes 48 education programs totaling about $3.3 billion. This includes afterschool programs and vocational training programs. Specifically for afterschool programs, this means 635,000 to 1.1 million students nationwide would lose these important services. These programs are a critical part of efforts to keep children safe and out of gangs.
- Energy efficiency and renewable energy programs – These programs would be cut by 27 percent from $1.72 billion enacted last year to $1.26 billion. This is a mistake at a time when we are looking for ways to increase efficiency, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
- Health Care -- The President has proposed $196 billion in Medicare and Medicaid cuts over the next 5 years. Reductions of this magnitude would prove devastating for those relying on the health care safety net and the providers who care for them. We must not decimate our entitlement programs in the name of saving them.
- C-17 Funding -- Once again the Pentagon has failed to request funding for maintaining the C-17 program. This is despite the fact that Air Force officials have publicly stated a need to grow the C-17 fleet. The C-17 is the “workhorse” of U.S. strategic airlift and will continue to be so. But unless the Pentagon begins to fund this critical program, we are in real danger of losing our capacity to produce this tremendous asset and meet the growing transport needs of our future warfighters.”