CNY Citizen Action joins 2,000 groups to call on Congress to protect domestic programs from cuts

Calls on representatives Tenney, Stefanik and Katko to reject harsh cuts to non-defense discretionary spending: While we were dreaming, Trump stole what we’ll need when we wake up

Deep cuts to domestic spending to fuel increases in defense expenditures make American dreams impossible to become realities.

Today, the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc.  along with more than 2,000 federal, state and local organizations making up the NDD (Nondefense discretionary) United  coalition, delivered to Congress a letter calling on Congress and the President to “work together to protect NDD programs from further cuts and end sequestration.” The letter continues, “Such sequestration relief must be equally balanced between nondefense and defense programs.”

John Furman, President of the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. said:  “We are calling on Representatives Claudia Tenney (R-NY 22nd District), Elise Marie Stefanik (R-NY 21nd District) and Representative John Katko (R-NY 24th District) to listen to Central New York residents and oppose cuts to NDD programs. Overall NDD appropriations have been cut severely and disproportionately in recent years.  More cuts will have a painful impact on Central New York, depriving residents of vital and necessary services in areas such as infrastructure and housing, veterans services, education and job training, National Parks, medical and scientific research, and public health, safety and security.  Local governments and nonprofit agencies rely on federal funding to provide many services to residents.  Cuts will hurt real people, devastate the local economy, deprive children and seniors of services, and undermine our health and security.”

One-third, or $54.3 billion, of New York State’s FY 2018 All Funds Budget is comprised of federal funds. Under President Donald J. Trump, and with a newly-empowered, Republican-dominated Congress taking control of the federal budget, the potential for substantial cuts in domestic spending poses gargantuan challenges for the New York State budget and the budgets of local government entities throughout the state (as in other states and localities around the country).  local governments are also highly dependent on federal aid receive a total of roughly $16 billion annually in federal funding.  Federal aid received by local governments around the state mainly goes to social welfare, public health and transportation programs. While federal aid represents six percent of local government revenues, state aid accounts for 23 percent of local revenue; so, local governments would certainly be affected if significant federal budget cuts severely constrain the state’s financial picture and its ability to provide local assistance.

“While we were dreaming, the President stole what we’ll need when we wake up,” said NDD United co-chair Benjamin Corb following the President’s remarks. “The reality is, every single area the President highlighted in his dramatic close are areas that rely on a robust investment from the federal government in non-defense discretionary spending, the very part of the budget President Trump is slashing by $54 billion in order to pay for his military buildup.”

Examples of Nondefense discretionary or “NDD” programs  are veterans affairs, medical and scientific research; education and job training; infrastructure; public safety and law enforcement; public health; weather monitoring and environmental protection; natural and cultural resources; housing and social services; and international relations. Each day these programs support economic growth and strengthen the safety and security of every American in every state and community across the nation.

NDD United co-chair Emily Holubowich added, “Since the President wants to increase funding for such things as border security, homeland security, and veteran’s health, all of which are within NDD, that will make cuts to biomedical research, education, environmental protection, workforce training, children’s programs, and more that much worse.”

The letter, signed by thousands of organizations including the Central New York Citizens in Action, reminds Congress that NDD programs are essential to national security, have already been cut too much after years of austere budget policies, and have consequences. “These cuts are dragging down our economic recovery, hampering business growth and development, weakening public health preparedness and response, reducing resources for our nation’s schools and colleges, compromising federal oversight and fraud recovery, hindering scientific discovery, eroding our infrastructure, and threatening our ability to address emergencies around the world. Simply put, these cuts are bad for the country and are not sustainable,” the letter explains.

With the letter’s delivery, NDD United hopes to highlight how the variety of programs supported by domestic spending are as important to America as a strong national defense. Final NDD United Founding Co-Chair Joel Packer said, “We are confident that Congress will reject these unprecedented cuts. We look forward to working on a bipartisan basis with supporters of these critical programs to protect these investments in our education, health, safety, and indeed, our future.”

In 2013, NDD United published a report, “Faces of Austerity, How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer and Less Secure” highlighting example after example of how austere fiscal policies cutting domestic spending are eroding many of the programs Americans rely on for their own quality of life and well-being.

A copy of the letter can be found here. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/55c4b954e4b0f8108cbd0423/t/58b6d5c99de4bb3d470952f0/1488377293786/NDDUnited2017.SignOnFinal.Mar2017.pdf

A copy of the Face of Austerity Report can be found at http://publichealthfunding.org/NDD_report/NDD-report-digital.pdf.

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