February 14, 2011

Gillibrand On Budget: Time To Get Serious About Cutting Wasteful Spending, But Still Protect Small Businesses, Security

Senator: Must Rein In Wasteful Spending, Live Within Its Means Just Like Middle Class Families Across the Country

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following statement today on the 2012 federal budget:

“We need to come together – Democrats and Republicans – to take a hard look at ways we can cut spending and lower the deficit. Current spending is not sustainable and we need to cut the waste, fraud and abuse. But the cuts must be responsible and preserve security funding and critical investments in small businesses and economic development. 

“House Republicans’ plan is irresponsible and would cut vital services for veterans, reduce the number of police on the streets and eliminate funds to help seniors heat their homes. We cannot cut critical funding for our national security or investments that help create jobs and grow our economy. 

“While I don’t agree with every aspect of his plan, the President’s budget provides a good place to start the conversation. I don’t think we should balance the budget on the backs of seniors who cannot afford the rising costs of heating their home. There are a number of additional proposals that I am advocating for that would reduce waste, fraud and abuse, and allow us to keep critical services, such as emergency heating assistance. In the coming weeks, I hope we have a respectful debate about how to solve our long term budget problems, and fund critical priorities like our security and job creation.”

On Friday, House Republicans released a plan to slash critical programs that already underway. Specifically, the House Republican cuts include:

  • Eliminating the COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) program, which provides critical funding to put more police on the street;
  • $2.5 billion cut from a new high speed rail initiative – a critical economic development project for New York State;
  • $62 million cut from container security initiative to maintain security at our ports;
  • $783 million cut from Department of Homeland Security programs to provide security funding for high-risk targets, including $200 million from funding from transit security programs that protect New York’s subways and transportation infrastructure;
  • $1.4 billion cut from the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds for sewers and drinking water, which help hold the line on local property taxes in New York;
  • $269 million from CDC public health preparedness and response programs;
  • $1 billion cut from Head Start;
  • $1.96 billion cut in job training programs that serve as the foundation for New York’s workforce development system, which matches unemployed people with jobs and gives individuals with skill gaps the training they need to secure family-supporting employment;
  • $2.95 billion reduction for the Community Development Fund, including the Community Development Block Grant program, which provides critical investments for our counties and municipalities for neighborhood revitalization, housing rehabilitation and economic development, all leading to significant job creation.

The Republican plan also targets New York, cutting the following:

  • $800,000 in sewer funding for Long Island and $500,000 in sewer funding for the Hudson Valley – helping to keep property taxes lower and drinking water cleaner and safer;
  • $400,000 for Syracuse’s Say Yes to Education initiative, which has been heralded as a national model of a service delivery program that keeps at-risk kids off the streets and on a path to college;
  • $200,000 for an interoperable communications system in Central New York that will ensure that first responders and police have the tools they need to respond to local public safety requests while freeing up 911 lines for major emergencies;
  • $200,000 for Monroe County’s Department of Public Safety’s regional crime laboratory, which provides state-of-the-art technology for our law enforcement officials to perform faster and better evidence analysis and improve public safety throughout Monroe County;  
  • Over $1.7 million in infrastructure improvements in Western New York that will improve the safety of our airports and rail stations;
  • Funding for critical Army Corps of Engineers projects across the state will be affected, including over $1.5 million for work done to Buffalo Harbor, $945,000 for the protection and maintenance of the New York City watershed, which provides approximately 1.2 billion gallons of high quality drinking water to nearly one-half the population of New York State every day, and $300,000 for Oswego Harbor maintenance and upgrades

Senator Gillibrand is advocating for strategic cuts that do not target middle class families or hamper small businesses. Specifically, Senator Gillibrand is working to eliminate the fraud and abuse in the Medicare system, cut subsidies for big oil companies, reduce bureaucracy and waste at the Pentagon, and place a cap on farm subsidies. Senator Gillibrand is also pushing new legislation to provide the President with the ability to propose line-by-line cuts to every spending bill and force Congress to take an up or down vote on his proposal.