Republican Priorities: Slash and Burn

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On Monday, President Obama released his 2012 budget – a plan that makes smart investments to help create jobs, strengthens core pillars of our country, and responsibly reduces the deficit and shrinks government spending to historic levels. 

The Republican approach is different. Their bill to fund the government for 2011 would slash spending and undermine national security, stifle economic growth, and cripple government’s ability to function.

A budget is a reflection of priorities and vision for America’s future. President Obama has been clear that cutting the massive deficit he inherited is a high priority, but he’s committed to doing so responsibly while not sacrificing job creation and the well being of our country’s most vulnerable.

Driven by a group of extreme ideologues, Republicans are insisting on $100 billion in radical spending cuts that would paralyze government and eliminate an estimated 800,000 jobs.

Here is what the Republican spending plan would do.

Massive cuts to education. The GOP proposal cuts an additional $5 billion from the Department of Education, including funding for Title I grants to schools which would lead to firing approximately 10,000 teachers and aides from roughly 2,400 schools serving one million disadvantaged students. It drops 218,000 low-income preschoolers from Head Start and terminates 55,000 teachers and staff. This bill also cuts Pell Grants in the middle of the school year by $845 for nearly 8 million students who are struggling to pay for college. 

Threaten National Security. Their bill cuts $16 billion from the President’s 2011 request for the Defense Department, an approach that Secretary Gates said would “leave the Department without the resources and flexibility needed to meet vital military requirements.” It also reduces the budget for the National Nuclear Security Administration by 10 percent, curbing nuclear nonproliferation efforts and delaying efforts to secure vulnerable nuclear material.

Put food safety on the chopping block. Their bill cuts $100 million from the Agriculture Department’s food inspection program, limiting the government’s ability to inspect food processing plants, which prevents food-borne illnesses and diseases like E coli and salmonella from contaminating our nation’s food supply. 

Stifle clean-energy development and cut funding for thousands of teachers. Republicans’ priorities reduce advancements in clean energy development, cutting $1.7 billion dollars from the Energy Department and hampering America’s ability to compete globally. The measure also severely cuts funding for the National Science Foundation, meaning 1,800 fewer research and education grants, which supporting over 5,000 researchers, teachers, and students.

Prevent Social Security disability payments.On September 30, 130,000 Americans legally entitled to disability benefits, who would have otherwise received them, instead will not.

Cut nutrition assistance for low-income families. This measure would preclude the Administration from guaranteeing help putting food on the table for low-income parents, pregnant mothers, and children. Depending on trends in the economy and food prices, thousands could be affected.

Slash environmental protection. The measure proposed by House Republicans cuts funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by nearly 30 percent, the single largest cut to the agency in 30 years. Among other effects, this would limit funding for communities to help clean up old industrial sites. 

Limit the ability of law enforcement to do their job. This measure would prevent as many as 3,000 law enforcement officers from being hired or kept in the COPS program (Community Oriented Policing Services). Those most affected by this cut would be communities struggling because of the recession. 

Cut funding for first responders. This spending bill would cut Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grants, which provide funding for local fire departments. More than 2,300 firefighters would be laid off.