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Making America great again, promises broken

EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON | 6/5/2017, 12:42 p.m.
Over the last 30 plus years, my time and work has been dedicated to serving those in my community and ...
eddie bernice johnson

U.S. House of Representatives

Over the last 30 plus years, my time and work has been dedicated to serving those in my community and working to bring about better opportunities for the people in Texas and our nation. Americans are working hard every day to make ends meet for themselves and their families – by working more than one job at time, taking out student loans for advanced degrees to gain a competitive advantage in the job industry, teaching in public schools, etc. There are other countless ways that Americans continue to push forward with hard work with an expectation that there will be an investment that is beneficial to them. However, after reviewing President Trump’s current initiatives in his budget proposal, these cuts are an apparent attack and atrocity to working class Americans, seniors, students, teachers and residents of every community.

Alongside my constituents I paid attention during the last campaign cycle and listened to the roaring rhetoric of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump who founded his campaign on “America First” and “Make America Great Again.” He pledged to preserve Medicaid and Social Security, yet this budget proposal reflects differently – there is nothing great or American about this proposal.

As Americans, we pride ourselves for being servants of others and helping our neighbors. Well, from one American to another, I do not see how this budget plan is positioning us for investment in our local communities across the nation. The focus should remain on finding solutions to better educate, protect the health and wellness of all Americans, provide economic stability with job creation and allow the social safety net to protect the most vulnerable in our communities at all times.

Once again, the president broke his promise that “there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid,” which he tweeted in May 2015. The recent budget proposal from the Trump administration provides drastic cuts to Medicaid spending by $610 billion over 10 years. The proposal would also cut Social Security Disability Insurance, which covers approximately 10 million people. The administration went as far as decreasing funding for Meals on Wheels, a program that many seniors enjoy and benefit from weekly. Additionally, families that benefited from SNAP will be impacted, the budget would shift $116 million to states.

Another promise broken once again by President Trump: “The well-being of the American citizen and worker will be placed second to none…” I have no clear understanding of how we plan to promote an investment in our younger and current generation’s future if we plan to take away opportunities for them to receive education and job training.

This is a dangerous assault on public education. Whether in the form of tax credits, vouchers or so-called educational savings accounts, Secretary DeVos and this administration will use any means necessary to advance the for-profit privatization of our children’s education at the expense of millions of students from pre-school through college and beyond.

Instead of giving public schools and our teachers the resources and professional development services they need to provide our children with excellent, high-quality education, the proposed budget would slash more than 22 important educational programs. And the budget would severely slash college affordability programs like the Pell Grant and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which provides a strong incentive for students to commit to 10 years of public service as public defenders, social workers, etc. These cuts would eliminate class-size reduction efforts, physical education, music and art programs, teacher training and additional important student and teacher services.

President Trump made promises to fight for working class families, seniors, students and individuals who want a competitive advantage in America, so I would strongly urge my colleagues on the other side to oppose his proposal. And in the meantime, I will work to ensure every child has access to a high-quality, affordable public education, that seniors are not forgotten and left struggling and that students have a competitive advantage in the work force.

U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas.