Senator Sanders Blasts Bush Budget That Leaves Needy Vermont Families Behind

Thank you for being with us this morning. I am pleased to be joined by Tim Searles, the Director of the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity; Chris Foster the Interim CEO of the Vermont Food Bank, Marianne Miller, Head Start Director of the Central Vermont Community Action Agency and Nancy Thomas, Asst. Superintendent of Special Services for the Washington County Central Supervisory Un

Click here to view video of the press conference.Thank you for being with us this morning. I am pleased to be joined by Tim Searles, the Director of the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity; Chris Foster the Interim CEO of the Vermont Food Bank, Marianne Miller, Head Start Director of the Central Vermont Community Action Agency and Nancy Thomas, Asst. Superintendent of Special Services for the Washington County Central Supervisory Union. The federal budget is not just a document which adds up to trillions of dollars. It is a statement which reflects the values of our country. At a time when poverty is going up, median income for working-age families is going down, and when the gap between the rich and the poor is growing wider, the budget presented by President Bush last week reflected misguided values which protect the interests of the very wealthy at the expense of almost everyone else. The President's budget maintains hundreds of billions in tax breaks for the wealthiest one percent of our population, while proposing harsh cutbacks in federal investments vital to the middle class, senior citizens on fixed incomes, and low-income families with children. As a Member of the Budget Committee, I will be strongly opposing the President's budget. How would the President's budget impact Vermont? ** It would prevent nearly 4,000 low-income Vermont senior citizens, mothers and newborn children from receiving the food they need to stay healthy by eliminating the $108 million Commodity Supplemental Food Program. ** Vermont would receive a cut of over $12 million in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program from 2006, at a time when thousands of senior citizens on fixed-incomes and low-income families with children are struggling to pay their heating bills this winter. ** Vermont would receive a $544,000 cut in the Weatherization Assistance Program that has helped Vermont families save money on their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. ** The President's proposed elimination of the $630 million Community Services Block Grant Program would result in a $3.3 million cut to the five Community Action Programs in Vermont. These programs assist thousands of Vermonters receive emergency food assistance, affordable housing, employment, and heating assistance. ** The President's budget proposes to cut special education grants by $393 million nationally, which would force Vermonters to pay more in property taxes to help students with disabilities. ** The President's proposed cut of $78 billion in Medicare and Medicaid in 2008 alone threatens to endanger Vermont's 95,000 Medicare patients' access to the care they need to lead healthy, independent lives. And, on and on it goes. At the same time that the President is proposing these harsh cutbacks, he wants to provide the wealthiest three-tenth's of one percent, households with incomes of over one million per year, $739 billion in tax breaks over the next decade. The average tax break for these households would be $162,000 in 2012. That is wrong.While thousands of Vermonters are struggling today to keep their heads above water economically, the last thing we need to do is extend the president's tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. What is needed in Washington is the political courage to roll-back the president's tax giveaways for the wealthiest one percent and stand-up for the middle class and working poor.Click here to view video of the press conference.