February 5, 2008

Bush Budget Would Cut Help for Rhode Islanders in Need

President's Proposal Worsens Strain on Working Families, Whitehouse Says

Washington, D.C. – With Rhode Island families already facing the challenges of a looming economic downturn, President Bush has proposed deep cuts to programs that provide badly-needed help with home energy costs, affordable housing, and services to needy families.

In response to the Bush administration’s release of its fiscal year 2009 budget proposal, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, sharply criticized the President’s misplaced priorities.

“I’ve heard from countless Rhode Islanders who work hard every day to put food on the table, pay the mortgage, and keep their children safe and warm. But in times like these, they often need just a little extra help to make ends meet,” said Whitehouse.

“President Bush is showing where his priorities really lie. The President is slashing aid to Rhode Island families who need help, without seeking real solutions to rising health care, energy, or housing costs. And he is letting our nation founder deeper and deeper into debt and economic insecurity in Iraq, without taking action to end a war that now has no end in sight.

“I look forward to working with Jack Reed and my colleagues on the Senate Budget Committee to put forward a budget that better reflects the urgent needs of Rhode Island families, and our national priorities.”

The President’s FY09 budget plan would make deep cuts in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), federal initiatives to help states repair deficient bridges and highways, Medicaid aid to states, funding to help states and local communities hire and train police officers and other first responders, programs working to prevent violence against women, and discretionary programs within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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