Senator Patty Murray Reacts to Bush Budget Cuts

Apr 09 2001

Calls cuts to Hanford cleanup, community policing, rural healthcare & education ‘irresponsible'

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today responded to the unveiling of President Bush's detailed budget. The President outlines with specific detail the areas he intends to cut or eliminate altogether to pay for his $1.6 trillion tax cut.

"After weeks of guessing, we now know the real cost of President Bush's $1.6 trillion tax cut," Murray said. "It appears to come at the expense of the health and safety of people throughout the country. On issue after issue, this budget comes up short by failing to keep the commitments of the federal government. In Washington state alone these cuts will have far reaching implications."


President Bush's budget cuts $458 million from nuclear waste cleanup up efforts, including a combined $57 million from the budgets of the Department of Energy (DOE) Richland and the Office of River Protection.

"This budget calls into question the Administration's intention of complying with the Tri-Party Agreement. After reading a published report about possible cuts to Hanford cleanup, I had a conversation with White House budget director, Mitch Daniels. Daniels assured me that there would be no cuts to Hanford. As it turns out, nothing could have been further from the truth," Murray said. "This budget abandons our commitment to the people who won World War II and the Cold War."


President Bush's budget eliminates the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. The program provides grants to local communities to hire new police officers, especially in under-served and rural areas. Over 1,800 new police officers are on the beat in over 230 cities, counties, tribes and school districts in Washington state thanks to the COPS program.

"President Bush's elimination of the COPS program is a step backwards in Washington state's fight against crime. From Aberdeen to Zillah, the COPS initiative has made our communities and neighborhoods safer," Murray said.


Bush's budget reduces overall funding for Telehealth, one of the most promising advances in improved healthcare access for rural and isolated communities. While Congress appropriated $36 million for Telehealth in Fiscal Year 2001, Bush's budget has whittled the program down to $6 million.

"Washington's rural communities face special challenges in caring for the uninsured. Telehealth has been an important program in helping to meet these challenges. By cutting funding for Telehealth, President Bush is sending a message that the concerns and needs of rural communities in Washington state and around the country are not a priority to this administration," Murray said.


President Bush's budget withdraws guaranteed funding to reduce class sizes in early grades. After three years of federal support, almost 2 million children nationwide are learning in smaller classes, yet the President does not consider that enough of a priority to continue funding the program.

Ensuring that our school buildings are safe, healthy and modern would require a new investment of more than $112 billion, yet President Bush has completely cut out the $1.2 billion that the Democrats in Congress fought for last year to help schools with emergency repairs and renovations.

Accessing technology and using it effectively are among the fastest-growing challenges facing our schools, yet President Bush cuts funding for technology programs by more than $50 million. At a time when more students and workers need the skills to succeed in a new economy the President's budget provides no increase for vocational education and adult education programs.

"This budget is a lost opportunity. For too long, the federal government has not made the investments it should in the well-being of children and families. For example, we only provide funds for one-third of the disadvantaged students who are eligible for extra support; and fewer than half of eligible 4 year-olds are able to participate in Head Start. Our classrooms are overcrowded and our children are suffering because of it. Yet when we finally have a surplus that would allow us to invest in our children - in our future - the President comes to us with a budget that denies our schools the real support they need to succeed," Murray said.


The Bush Administration is poised to significantly reduce funding for the Export-Import Bank. In recent years, fully 17 percent of Boeing commercial airplane sales were financed using Ex-Im Bank assistance. Ex-Im provides U.S. firms a more level playing field to compete with Europeans and others who enjoy heavily subsidized export sales.

"One in three Washington state jobs depends on international trade, and Boeing airplane sales are a big part of that," said Murray. "If the Bush budget becomes law, Boeing will lose sales to Airbus - it's that simple."