Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 41 / 12 October 2017
 

Trump budget plan endangers many

Guest Opinion


Congressman Ro Khanna
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Throughout the state of California, more than  217,000 seniors are served by a local Meals on Wheels program. These meals improve the quality of life and preserve the dignity of our most vulnerable older residents by allowing them to stay independent and healthy. The availability of nutrition and social services is particularly important for older LGBT adults, who are more likely to live in poverty than their non-LGBT peers.

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to see first-hand how Meals on Wheels is  helping residents in the Tri-City area. More than 2,200 meals are served daily in Alameda County alone. In addition to helping seniors, the Meals on Wheels program saves taxpayer dollars by lowering hospitalization rates among those who rely on the service.

However, Meals on Wheels and other critical government programs are facing potentially devastating budget cuts under the Trump administration's federal budget plan.

Investments in the safety net, public education, research and development, the creative industries, and environmental protections support a vibrant and secure economy. Yet, the White House proposes to ignore American values of compassion and social justice by initiating massive cuts to programs that help millions of Americans and communities across the country.

President Donald Trump's budget proposal shifts an even greater burden on the shoulders of working families and individuals and reverses the progress of the past eight years. The American people have a right to be concerned.

The White House wants to slash the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency and endanger the health of millions of Americans. At the same time, California faces a loss of $310 million in EPA grants that would cripple our state's ability to protect the public health of residents and preserve core environmental programs.

Proposed budget cuts would make California families less financially secure and limit job growth by restricting access to employment services and economic development grants. At a time when the cost of living and access to affordable housing is a concern for many, the White House budget would exacerbate substandard living conditions for our most vulnerable families and individuals.

Additionally, National Institutes of Health grants funding medical research leading to treatments and cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's, cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS are facing a $6 billion cut. Family planning services could be eliminated entirely.

As a member of Congress who vows to put people's needs first, I will reject these cuts, and instead fight for a budget that encourages innovation, rewards community, and protects the most vulnerable among us. The strength of our nation is more than just our military might. 

Former presidential candidate Hubert H. Humphrey said, "The measure of a society is found in how they treat their weakest and most helpless citizens." As good neighbors and Americans, we must stand up for those who need our help the most.

Our strength is when we invest in education, the environment, jobs, and our health. Our strength is when we value equality over division. Our strength is when we seek progress for the country.

 

Congressman Ro Khanna (D) represents the 17th Congressional District of California in Silicon Valley. He is a member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and its Transgender Equality Task Force.

 






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