This is the first of two posts, one being a letter from my states Representative in the House and the other being a catch up post for my weekend events. If you only read one, read this one. I got this in my email the other day from True Majority:
Most draconian budget in recent memory cuts social programs by $238 billion over next five years
If this budget passes:
The program that feeds pregnant women, babies and young children in need will be cut by $658 million over the next four years. That's assistance for 660,000 women and children.
Families who need low income housing assistance won’t get it. By 2010, 370,000 fewer families would receive rental vouchers than this year.
Elementary schools (No Child Left Behind) will receive $12 billion less than was promised. Special education programs would lose nearly $7.6 billion in the next four years.
TrueMajority has joined with Children's Defense Fund, the National Council of the Churches of Christ and the entire Coalition on Human Needs to block these cuts.
Our country’s budget is a moral document. It shows what we care about and what we value enough to spend our money on. This budget is by no means compassionate. And with the huge deficit engendered by runaway Pentagon spending, it’s not conservative, either.
Right now the congressional budget committees are debating the budget. This is the time to let them know your priorities. Just pick up your phone and call the number. It takes two minutes to call your senator’s office.
You don’t have to be a policy expert to lodge your opinion; congressional receptionists are trained to quickly and politely record your views. Just call 202/224-3132 and tell the operator what state you live in, and you’ll be connected to one of your senators.
To make your call easy, here are some things to say:
I live in _________, and I’m calling to ask my senator to strengthen programs that help people survive during tough times. Our government should provide Head Start and health care for poor kids. We should provide housing assistance for those who need it. Please, let the Senate Budget Committee know that these kinds of basic programs should not be cut.
Thank you for lodging my request.
In return I sent this letter to my state representative through True Majority:
Subject: Do Not Cut Our Human Needs Programs; Strengthen Them
I believe that our government should act on our behalf to help our fellow citizens who need housing, food and other basics. It follows from this that our federal budget should allocate money to let our government do the work that needs to be done. But President Bush's budget is slashing the fundamental work of our government by cutting programs that provide housing for the poor, nutrition for pregnant women, health insurance for kids and more.
Meanwhile, the president's budget provides full funding for wasteful programs such as Star Wars, which--if cut--could free up enough money to provide health insurance to all our kids who need it.
Please tell Senate Budget Committee members not to cut programs covering the basic human needs of our most vulnerable citizens.
And here is the letter he sent back to me:
Thanks for your recent message expressing concerns about the fiscal year 2006 budget President Bush submitted to Congress. Like you, I think the President's budget largely represents the wrong priorities for our country.
The President has presented his budget as a choice between domestic spending and spending on national security. In reality, the President is forcing a choice between cutting critical programs that benefit average American families, and maintaining and expanding tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals and most profitable corporations. I choose a budget that meets the needs of average working Americans.
The President's budget has created the illusion of shrinking budget deficits by slashing critical domestic programs in education, economic development, job creation and veterans health care, among others. The deficit reduction in his budget is a mirage. He has proposed borrowing $1 trillion from the Social Security trust fund at a time when he claims the program is in crisis. And public debt will increase each year to record levels under his budget.
The President's budget has left tax cuts for the wealthiest untouched, and, in fact, proposes to extend them. His budget will reached deep into the pockets of working Americans and those most in need. The debt and spending cuts in his budget will have a real impact on the education and welfare of our children, the health of our citizens and the growth of our economy. The priorities in this budget are wrong and reckless and it would be a disaster for Congress to accept the President's budget and its misplaced priorities.
Thanks again for writing. Please keep in touch.
Rep.Peter DeFazio Fourth District, OREGON