PRESIDENT BUSH'S BUDGET for 2007 fails to make the right investments in our nation, our neighborhoods and our classrooms.
Rather than support policies that aid hard working Nevada families, the Bush budget slashes funding for health care and education initiatives, shortchanges the needs of our veterans, and fails to provide the homeland security resources necessary to protect Las Vegas and other communities.
Despite the President's pledge to make education a priority, his budget does not provide billions in promised education funding, denying Nevada students in grades K12 the smaller classes, better teachers and reading and math help they need to succeed.
Nevada schools will lose more than $100 million in federal education dollars for K12 and vocational education programs over the next five years under the Bush budget. These cuts include the loss of $2.3 million over five years for after-school programs through 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which provide children with quality after school tutoring and other academic assistance.
Another $31 million will be cut from special education over the next five years, while an additional $53 million will be cut from vocational and adult education programs over the same time period. Other important programs will be completely eliminated, including Safe and Drug-Free Schools, efforts to promote family literacy, and funding for more technology in classrooms.
Billions more under this budget are being slashed from Medicare and Medicaid, even as a record 46 million Americans are without health insurance coverage. This is particularly true in Nevada, which has one of the nation's highest rates for the uninsured. In addition, the budget cuts payments to hospitals and nursing homes and makes some seniors pay more for the same care they have today.
This is a budget that also shortchanges America's homeland security by failing to fully fund critical programs that provide local communities with vital resources to protect residents and visitors and by cutting grants for police, firefighters and other first responders.
Finally, the President's budget calls for more than one million veterans to pay more for the health care and prescription drugs they earned through their military service. Under his plan, some Nevada veterans will be hit with a $250 enrollment fee and will see their co-payments for prescription medicines double.
This President and the current Congress have taken the surpluses created under the previous administration and turned them into record deficits. Rather than address the mountain of debt their misguided policies have created, the new White House budget actually adds trillions of dollars in new deficits.
Families in Nevada and across our nation deserve better than what the President has proposed in this year's budget. As Congress prepares to adopt its own spending blueprint, I will join with my colleagues, Republican and Democrat, in seeking to restore resources for our schools, to bolster investments in homeland security and to end plans to charge our veterans more for their health-care needs. Most importantly, we need to return to the days of "pay-as-you-go" budgeting, where programs were paid for by making tough choices, and not by passing along trillions in debt to our children and grandchildren.