News Releases

Bush Budget Leaves Security of Washington State Priorities in Jeopardy

Feb 08 2005

Cuts to ports, transportation, education, health care and veterans will be felt around state

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Less than a week after delivering a State of the Union address in which he vowed to cut support for programs that “do not fulfill essential priorities,” the President today unveiled a budget that defines the “non-essential”: veterans, students, ports and borders, accessible health care and nuclear waste cleanup.



“Families in Washington state and across the country are concerned about the security of their jobs, their communities, and access to affordable health care and quality education. Unfortunately, rather than inspiring confidence, the President’s budget leaves too many Americans questioning the future,” Senator Murray said. “On issue after issue, this budget falls short of what our communities need to move forward.”





HEALTH CARE

The President’s budget request includes cuts important to Washington state – and particularly to rural Washington. The President cuts $10.8 million for Rural Health Outreach – a 73 percent cut.



The President also eliminates the Community Access Program (CAP). The CAP program provides health care to thousands of uninsured and under-insured across the country and has four grantees in Washington state alone.



The President’s budget also cuts $45 billion from Medicaid. This will mean a cut of $747 million for Washington state over 10 years.

“The President’s proposed cuts will be felt across Washington state, particularly in our most vulnerable and underserved rural communities,” Senator Murray said. “At a time when thousands of Washingtonians have lost their jobs and their health insurance, we simply cannot afford to put more families in jeopardy. Unfortunately, the President’s budget does just that.”




VETERANS

The President’s budget continues the ban on some veterans from coming to the VA for care. So far, 192,260 veterans have been turned away across the country, including more than 3,000 Washington state veterans.



The President’s budget also increases out-of-pocket fees and co-pays for our nation’s veterans. The President’s budget includes new $250 annual fees for some veterans to seek care at VA hospitals. The budget request also increases co-pays for prescription drugs.





“Our veterans deserve the security of knowing that they will be cared for when they return home. At a time when the next generation of combat veterans is risking their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, this budget sends the wrong message,” Senator Murray said. “The VA health care system simply cannot provide quality care at the President’s requested funding level. The President’s budget means longer lines and more out-of-pocket costs for veterans in Washington state.”




PORT SECURITY

The President’s budget eliminates port security grants and includes no funding for Operation Safe Commerce. Last year Washington state ports received $14.5 million including nearly $7 million to secure Washington state ferries.

“Our ports remain one of our nation’s most vulnerable assets, but the President’s budget completely ignores this reality,” Senator Murray aid. “In Washington state, we know that ensuring the safety of cargo coming into our nation’s ports will prevent both the loss of life and economic losses that could come from a terrorist attack. I will continue to fight this Administration to provide the resources and planning to ensure the safety of our ports and the strength of our economy.”




HANFORD



The President’s budget cuts $297 million from cleanup efforts at Hanford. The Hanford cuts include $148 million from the Office of River Protection and $149 million from the Richland Operations Office.

“For four years the Bush Administration has talked about accelerated cleanup of waste at Hanford. Unfortunately, their rhetoric doesn’t match the reality of the President’s budget request. Hanford area residents and workers deserve a strong federal commitment to nuclear waste cleanup. The President’s budget not only breaks that promise, but puts the safety and economic security of this community at risk.”




EDUCATION

The President’s budget cuts funding for the Department of Education by $530 million – the first cut in overall education spending in a decade.



While the President’s budget includes an increase in Title I funding (money for disadvantaged elementary and secondary schools) – this is still $9 billion shortfall, which will result in a loss of over $306 million for Washington state. This shortfall will deny nearly 39,000 Washington state students Title I services.



“As students and teachers continue to struggle to fulfill the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, the President’s budget will only make it harder,” Senator Murray said. “The greatest test of No Child Left Behind has always been whether we can make the law work for kids without punishing them. So far, the President is failing that test.”






The President’s budget also eliminates GEAR UP and parts of the TRIO program which provide critical early intervention and preparation programs for students to help them to graduate from high school and succeed in college.



“I am glad that the President has finally begun a dialogue about our high schools, but I am concerned that his budget eliminates programs that we know help kids to succeed,” Murray said. “Our kids deserve more than a test – they need a comprehensive plan that puts them on the right path to succeed in college or the workforce- that is what GEAR UP and TRIO do.”




TRANSPORTATION



The President’s budget cuts the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Grants program by $472 million and the Facilities and Equipments program by $77 million.



“At a time when air travel is returning to pre-9/11 levels and both security needs and delays are on the rise, now is not the time to slash funding to modernize and improve our nation’s airports,” Senator Murray said.




The President’s budget also eliminates funding for Amtrak.



“By recommending a budget with nothing for Amtrak, the President has made the decision to leave millions of regular Amtrak riders standing on the platform and thousands of employees standing on the unemployment line,” Senator Murray said.

AGRICULTURE

The President’s budged reduces USDA spending by $2.6 billion in fiscal year 2006.



Among the proposed cuts are $14 million in agriculture research, primarily at Washington State University. This research supports a broad range of agriculture sectors in the state, including: wheat, potatoes, barely, shellfish, wine grapes, hops, asparagus, and small fruits.



Also not included is funding to continue construction of a new Agriculture Research Service building at WSU’s Pullman Campus. (Sen. Murray secured $3 million in the FY 05 Omnibus to begin construction.)

“With farmers in Washington state still reeling from years of low prices, natural disasters, and closed foreign markets, this is the time to help provide a leg-up, not cut back on research and investment,” Senator Murray said. “I will continue to work to support research and investment to create new jobs and expand opportunity for our state’s farmers and producers.”