U.S. Senator Jon Tester released the following statement after reviewing President Trump’s proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget:
“This budget is irresponsible and will hurt rural America and Montana’s economy, while giving tax cuts to the wealthy and wasting billions on an ineffective wall. We need to reduce wasteful spending and get a handle on our debt, but this budget doesn’t do that– it will hurt Montana farmers and ranchers, cut benefits to America’s veterans, and dismantle public education.”
Tester is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which crafts the final appropriations bills that Congress passes. He is also the Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, and in that role he will be working with Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.) to write the portion of the budget that funds border security and other national security priorities.
President Trump’s budget:
- Makes significant cuts to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs that serve rural farmers and ranchers:
- The budget proposes cutting 8 percent of the Farm Service Agency’s full-time employees, about 970 positions.
- The budget proposes a 19 percent reduction to USDA Rural Development staff and a 26 percent cut to program funding, including eliminating the Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program and the Rural Business and Cooperative Service.
- Eliminates the Economic Development Administration that provides essential support to local economic development organizations.
- Slashes funding for the Essential Air Service and calls for reforms that could end service at Montana’s Essential Air Service airports.
- Terminates Amtrak’s Empire Builder Line.
- Cuts support for Superfund sites like Libby, Columbia Falls, and Butte by 30 percent.
- Drops funding for Payment in Lieu of Taxes by nearly $70 million, making it harder for rural counties to fund firefighting, law enforcement, public schools, and roads.
- Cuts $41 billion in compensation over 10 years to older veterans unable to find work because of service-connected injuries.
- Reduces cost of living adjustments for disabled veterans and survivors by $2.7 billion over the next 10 years.
- Takes $250 million from public schools to create private school vouchers.
- Eliminates $2.1 billion to pay and train public school teachers.
- Cuts $142 million from TRIO programs that help low-income and first-generation college students get degrees.
- Cuts Medicaid by $610 billion over ten years.
- Cuts CHIP, which funds Healthy Montana Kids, by $6 billion over ten years.
- Blocks federal funding from Planned Parenthood.
- Cuts funding for nursing workforce development programs by $379 million.
- Cuts support for rural health care providers by $82 million.