WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in response to the president’s full budget for fiscal year 2018. For Senator Cardin’s comment on the national security sections of the Trump budget, click here.
“A budget is supposed to reflect the president’s priorities and the values our country holds dear. Unfortunately, President Trump’s full budget shows how much disdain he has for supporting American families here at home, how little he values America’s strong leadership around the world, and how much he misunderstands the essential role the federal government has in keeping our air and water clean, roads and bridges functioning, and the public safe from deadly diseases and other threats. This president’s budget shows how much he values corporate profits and polluters over children’s health and demonstrates an irrational ignorance of basic principles that have worked for and against the American economy throughout the years. The budget wastes money on a new border wall and deportation force that won’t make America any safer and will tear apart families and communities. President Trump fails to uphold the promises he made as a candidate to protect American workers and seniors, and he breaks new ground in the level of uncertainty he is willing to inject into our economy, our local communities, and relations with our historical allies and economic partners. More than any other presidential budget in recent memory, this budget must be considered dead on arrival.
“With the encouragement of the Republicans in Congress, President Trump’s full budget for FY18 is an exercise in extremism. President Trump wants to axe $610 billion from Medicaid, the program that lifts up America’s veterans and most vulnerable men, women and children, capping the funding in order to finance tax cuts for big businesses and the wealthiest among us. The budget further slashes the social safety net for hardworking Americans by cutting the food stamp program and eliminating critical social services programs. It directly hurts children by cutting $6 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The president wants to choke off funding for essential scientific research at the National Institutes of Health and infectious disease detection and response at the Centers for Disease Control, while also slashing funding for key global health initiatives that ensure economic stability.
“Further demonstrating his misunderstanding of the ripple effect federal investments can have, the president inexplicably wants to end the economic development assistance programs to rural and economically distressed communities. He wants to put the American Dream out of reach for would-be homeowners and seekers of safe and affordable housing with the elimination of HUD’s rental assistance and homeowner partnership programs. And the president calls for shifting more than $143 billion in additional student loan payments to hardworking students and their families, and he recommends ending a vital programs that help first responders, law enforcement, teachers, nurses, librarians, public safety and military a chance to reduce the burden of their student loans so they can continue to serve their communities. The president also continues the ill-conceived Republican assault on federal workers and retirees with his proposals for wholesale slashing of programs and staff – like the economically and environmentally important EPA Chesapeake Bay Program – making it nearly impossible for many departments to carry out their basic missions.
“Fortunately, our founders developed a system of checks and balances with the Constitution providing that Congress appropriates public funds. I intend to do everything within my power to work with reasonable Republicans, using the model of the FY17 omnibus appropriations, to prevent enactment of this outlandish executive branch attempt to cripple our economy and do lasting damage to our nation’s global leadership. Congress has a responsibility to ensure that we have a more realistic budget that helps the American public, contributes to genuine economic growth and furthers America’s true values.”