While Senator Tim Kaine spoke out against President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal and noted the pain it would inflict on hundreds of thousands of Virginians, Congressman Goodlatte refused to criticize the plan and dodged questions about it.
The Staunton News Leader reported:
President Donald Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal spells trouble for many “critical programs” vital to Virginia’s families, children, seniors and businesses, according to U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.
The president promises a balanced budget in 10 years while also cutting taxes, and so getting there means cuts to many other programs under his proposal… Slashing the budgets of those “critical programs” would take a toll on the Valley, Kaine said, highlighting the suite of cuts he projects would hurt Virginians most.
In the fight against opioid addiction, community mental health services would lose $116 million in block grant funding and other state mental health grants would be reduced by $136 million, Kaine notes. The budget would also cut substance abuse treatment grants for states by $73 million and public awareness programs by $74 million, he said.
Kaine also pinpointed the cuts to Medicaid, student loan programs, the Social Security Disability Insurance program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which helped feed 826,000 Virginia residents in 2016, as areas where Virginians could be hurt.
“Trump’s budget would cause disproportionate pain in the rural communities he promised to help — including those in southern and southwest Virginia and the Valley,” Kaine said.
U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-6th, noted Trump’s budget proposal “is just that — a proposal” and that Congress ultimately has the responsibility to set the nation’s final budget and appropriate funds.
Goodlatte said he “appreciates” the “steps” Trump is taking “to address the out of control spending that has plagued Washington for far too long,” but did not directly answer a question over whether he supports the proposed budget.
Goodlatte praised the president’s initial budget released in March, while saying then that he was still “reviewing” the proposal’s “impacts on the Sixth District specifically.” He did not answer a question Wednesday over how he sees the latest Trump budget proposal potentially impacting the Valley.
Among the deep cuts which Trump wants (and which Goodlatte can’t bring himself to oppose) are reductions in the SNAP (food stamps) program, Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program).
In Goodlatte’s Sixth District, more than 31,000 households depend on SNAP, the majority of them with children under 18. More than three-quarters of these households have someone who worked over the past 12 months.
Will Goodlatte fight to protect the most vulnerable among his constituents from the worst effects of Trump’s budget? So far the signs aren’t promising.