Delaware’s Congressional delegation is criticizing the budget proposal announced by President Donald Trump earlier this week.
The President’s $4.8 trillion spending plan would increase defense and border enforcement spending, while cutting programs such as Medicaid, food assistance and affordable housing grants.
Trump’s budget is expected to be dismissed by the Democratic-controlled House.
But Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, who is part of that House majority, notes budgets reflect values.
“This budget is woefully inadequate, especially in areas that pertain to our healthcare, that pertain to our environment— and healthcare is the number one eissue I hear up and down the state of Delaware,” she said.
Senator Tom Carper responds with a biblical argument.
“Matthew 25 says, when I was hungry did you feed me, when I was thirsty did you give me to drink, when I was sick and imprisoned did you visit me, when I was a stranger in your land did you welcome me,’ he said. “I believe in all those things, and I also believe we have a moral responsibility to meet the needs of the least of these on our planet.”
Carper also opposes Trump’s proposed $2.4 billion cut to the EPA, citing what he calls the “climate crisis.”
“This Administration not only is not helping in our battle I think against the greatest threat we face on our planet — there’s way too much carbon in the air, the climate crisis— they’re actually going the wrong way, making it worse,” he said.
Sen. Chris Coons says proposed cuts would impact Delaware farmers.
“One of the other departments I was surprised to see was on the chopping block in his budget for an 8 percent across-the-board cut is Agriculture," he said. "We’re a relatively small state, but agriculture is a big deal in central and southern Delaware,” he said. “Some of these cuts would affect programs that Delaware’s farmers rely on as well.”
Coons is pushing for an expansion of programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program through reduction and elimination of asset tests for eligibility.
“These are programs that have very low asset limits — $2,000,” he said. “That discourages working poor families from building up any assets or savings. So it makes them more vulnerable if there’s an illness in the family, if a car breaks down.”
The Congressional Budget Office has not yet prepared a cost estimate for Coons’ bill— but Coons argues it would reduce administrative costs of the social programs.