Roybal-Allard blasts GOP budget cuts

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34) on Monday blasted the deep federal spending cuts proposed by Republicans as "reckless and a danger to the economic recovery of the nation."The cuts are proposed for must-pass legislation to fund the federal government for the seven months remaining in the fiscal year. "I am greatly disappointed by the irresponsible spending cuts proposed by our new Republican majority," said Roybal-Allard, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee. "We need to be considering legislation that focuses on creating jobs and strengthening our economy-this bill does neither. To the contrary, the GOP's plan puts jobs and the nation's economic recovery at risk by rolling back efforts to get people to work and prepare future generations to compete in a global marketplace." The congresswoman acknowledged the challenge the nation faces to cut the deficit and debt, but insisted that "this meat axe approach was served up to appease the conservative wing of the Republican Party, not as a meaningful step in reaching an agreement on how to move forward to reduce the deficit." She emphasized the need to support a budget that "strengthens our families and our economy through job creation and responsible spending," and highlighted a few of the drastic cuts that would most negatively impact families in her district, including $1 billion in cuts to community health centers, putting 127 new health centers across the nation at risk of closing their doors. "In my district, community health centers are the source of primary health care for 18 percent of my constituents," she said. "The cuts will endanger existing services for one out of every six of my constituents who seek care in the 11 health centers serving my district." Roybal-Allard emphasized the "foolishness" of a plan that "undermines prevention and sends sick people away from clinics and back to the emergency room for high-cost health care." Republicans also called for $1.1 billion in cuts to Head Start, which prepares pre-school-aged children from low-income families to succeed in kindergarten. According to the congresswoman, 200,000 low-income children would be left without access to preschool and 50,000 Head Start teachers would be out of work. "Working families in the 34th district who rely on Head Start to provide their children with quality early education will be left with few options to ensure their children are prepared for kindergarten and beyond," Roybal-Allard said of the Republican proposal, adding that "thousands of Head Start teachers would lose their jobs, adding to unemployment lines and further undermining our economy recovery." Finally, the GOP is calling for $300 million in cuts to Job Corps, representing a 20 percent cut to one of the nation's largest and most successful residential education and job training programs for at-risk youth, ages 16 through 24. "Helping young people get the skills they need to obtain gainful employment is a critical component of our economic recovery," Roybal-Allard said. "Job Corps places 80 percent of its participants in jobs, the military or higher education within 6 months of graduation. Despite record demand for Job Corps services and the proven results of the program, the GOP proposal will force the closure of 30 Job Corps centers and layoffs of 7,000 credentialed teachers and support staff."

********** Published: February 17, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 44