Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Co-Chair of the Democratic Policy & Communications Committee, Congressman John Yarmuth, Ranking Member on the Budget Committee, Congressman Collin Peterson, Ranking Member on the Agriculture Committee, and Congressman Tom O’Halleran of Arizona today held a press conference highlighting the devastating impact President Trump’s FY2018 budget blueprint would have on hard-working American families, especially those living in rural America.
The blueprint calls for a 21 percent cut to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which administers important programs and services to Americans in rural areas. The budget also calls for eliminating the water and wastewater loan and grant program, the TIGER grant program, Essential Air Service program, Rural Business Cooperative Service, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and Community Development Block Grants, which states use to pay for Meals on Wheels, and other initiatives that provide jobs and services for working families. Reps. Bustos, Peterson and O’Halleran all represent largely rural districts, which were carried by Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
“Every weekend, when I go to grocery stores across my district, more and more moms and dads are asking me what the heck is going on with President Trump breaking his promises,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. “When it comes to rural America, there is no clearer example of President Trump breaking his promise than the budget he released yesterday. President Trump likes to call this an ‘America First’ budget, but when you dig into the details, he’s making a deliberate choice to damage our rural economy by eliminating programs that have created thousands of jobs in small towns, ending critical infrastructure investments in rural communities and making it harder for our growers and producers to sell their crops.”
“The Trump budget is not only irresponsible and cold-hearted, it’s ignorant to the needs and priorities of American families,” said Congressman John Yarmuth. “President Trump promised to create jobs and make Americans safer. Yet his budget cuts education, transportation, resources that protect public health and our environment, and diplomatic initiatives that keep our country safe. This budget is called “America First” but it’s the last thing American families can afford.”
“Rural America provides a tremendous service to this country but I don’t think the Administration understands that,”said Congressman Collin Peterson. “The budget cuts programs that help our smaller communities be able to update their water systems and farmers navigate farm programs. These programs support rural areas, which support agriculture, which allows us to have cheap, safe and dependable food. I’m not sure this is going any place but I have concerns about what this means for the future farm and rural policy.”
“The reality is our tribal communities face anywhere from 50 to 80 percent unemployment, wages are lower in rural America, and the types of programs that are being cut in this proposal would have a devastating impact on our tribal lands and rural areas,” said Congressman O’Halleran. “Rural Americans are tough. They have always given back to our country, and they deserve fairness and respect. What we see in this budget proposal is not fairness and respect, but rather, a complete disregard for the challenges our rural communities face.”
Video of today’s press conference can be found here.