Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California issued the following statement on President Bush’s new budget:“Five years of misplaced priorities by this President have put our nation’s future in jeopardy and saddled our citizens with more than $350 billion in deficits in the next year alone. Given this disturbing record, it is more than a little disingenuous to hear this Administration talk about fiscal responsibility, and it’s downright offensive to watch them propose $36 billion in cuts to Medicare after they just made five-year cuts in Medicare and Medicaid totaling $10.9 billion in the recent reconciliation bill.“For more than three decades, Medicare has been a savior for our seniors citizens, helping them pay their doctor bills, their hospital bills, and their home health bills. The more than four million Californians who are enrolled in Medicare should not be punished for this Administration’s bad choices. “The President is also wrong to recommend the following: * The largest cut to federal education funding in the Department’s 26-year history. The President’s budget for No Child Left Behind Act falls $15.4 billion below the authorized level for FY07. * Cutting after-school programs to just $981 million, compared to the $2.5 billion FY07 authorized level. This will leave two million students behind.* Elimination of the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), which reimburses states for jailing illegal immigrants who commit crimes. This is a blow to California, which has received 40 percent of the total federal funding allocated for the program in past years. Congress restored SCAAP funding last year and I will work with my colleagues to again ensure that this important program is preserved. * Elimination of the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention program, which supports our local law enforcement’s efforts to combat terrorist threats.* Cutting the Assistance to Firefighters program by $361 million, down to $294 million. This is a huge slap in the face to the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our communities and wilderness. * Increasing the co-payment for some of our veterans for a 30-day supply of prescription drugs from $8 to $15, and proposing a $250 health care enrollment fee for those same veterans. The budget also fails to adequately prepare for the thousands of injured and disabled veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “With this budget, the President is turning his back on our seniors, our children, our veterans, our police and our firefighters. He is choosing to stand for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, rather than stand with hardworking American families.“What could be more important to America’s families in these difficult times than affordable and reliable health care for our seniors, access to quality education for our children, support for our local police and firefighters, and respect for our brave and noble veterans? “This budget fails America’s families, and it even fails to pay for the war in Iraq, which weighs heavily on the minds of all Americans.”
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