BURLINGTON, Vt., May 26 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and a member of the Senate health committee, detailed the harm President Donald Trump’s budget and the Republicans’ “health care” legislation would have on Vermonters.
“Trump’s budget is immoral,” Sanders said. “It would directly harm tens of thousands of Vermonters, making it harder for our children to get a decent education, harder for working families to get the health care they desperately need, harder to protect our environment, and harder for the elderly to live out their retirement years in dignity. Meanwhile, at a time of massive wealth and income inequality, it would provide massive tax breaks to the wealthiest people in this country.”
Sanders said Trump’s budget would undermine crucial health care, housing, and education programs that Vermonters rely on. Specifically, the president’s budget could:
• Eliminate health insurance for 100,000 Vermonters by cutting Medicaid by 47 percent by the end of the decade. Medicaid provides funding for more than 60 percent of all nursing home residents, 40 percent of all children, and 60 percent of children with disabilities.
• Eliminate nutrition assistance for 2,800 pregnant women, new moms, babies, and toddlers in Vermont by cutting the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program by 23 percent.
• Deny heating assistance to 21,000 Vermont households by abolishing the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
• Cut-off affordable housing assistance to more than 700 Vermont families, putting them at immediate risk of eviction and homelessness.
• Cut Head Start in Vermont by $1.7 million, which could throw 140 low-income children off high-quality child care and early education.
• Kick 7,100 students in Vermont off after-school programs by eliminating the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.
• Make college more expensive by eliminating the Direct Subsidized Loan and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant programs that 21,000 Vermont students benefit from each year.
• End the home energy weatherization program that has helped make 41,000 Vermont residences more energy efficient, saving the average homeowner nearly $300 a year on energy bills.
• Slash the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) by 36 percent, eliminating nutrition assistance for 21,000 Vermonters, 61 percent of whom live in households with children.
• Eliminate federal funding for five community action programs that provide thousands of low-income Vermonters with emergency food, shelter, heating assistance, transportation and health care.
• Cut $7.1 million in Community Development Block Grants that provide Vermont funding for affordable housing and economic development.
• Eliminate more than $1.3 million in federal funding for the Rutland Airport by ending the Essential Air Service program.
Sanders also spoke out against the bill passed by House Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“You can call this legislation a ‘destroy health care’ bill. You can call it a ‘tax break for the rich’ bill. But we should not call it a health care bill. I have never seen a health care bill which throws 23 million Americans off of health insurance, including tens of thousands of Vermonters. That's not a health care bill,” Sanders said.