Leahy And Sanders Are In Key Roles To Review Trump's Budget Plan

May 23, 2017

Both Sen. Patrick Leahy and Sen. Bernie Sanders serve in budget leadership roles in the new Congress, and they hope to influence the outcome of the budget debate in these positions.

Leahy is the vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations committee and Sanders is the ranking minority member on the Senate Budget committee.

The president's proposed budget makes deep cuts in a number of domestic programs while increasing spending on defense programs by roughly 10 percent.

The domestic cuts include reductions in Medicaid, food stamps, student loans and many environmental programs.      

Leahy says the president's budget plan is "appallingly shortsighted."

"He's actually targeted a segment of the population many of whom voted for him. They do rely on Medicaid ... as people in both parties do, and they do rely on Meals On Wheels and things of this nature,” said Leahy. “You take that out and it's hurting them."

Leahy says he wants to develop a bipartisan budget approach on the Appropriations committee.

But he also wants to require a committee vote on any controversial Trump proposals that remain in the budget, so that all senators can be held accountable for their votes. He thinks this approach will have a positive impact on the budget process.

"Why did you vote to cut out money for education, why did you vote to cut out my Medicaid, why did you vote on and on?” said Leahy. “I don't think they want to do that. "

"[Working families] do rely on Medicaid ... and they do rely on Meals On Wheels, and things of this nature. You take that out and it's hurting them." — Sen. Patrick Leahy

"Why did you vote to cut out money for education, why did you vote to cut out my Medicaid, why did you vote, on and on?” said Leahy. “I don't think they want to do that. "

At a Washington press conference, Sanders said he strongly opposes many elements of the Trump budget plan.

"This is a budget which will make it harder for our children to get a decent education, harder for working families to get the health care they desperately need, harder for families to put food on the table, harder to protect our environment and harder for the elderly to live out their retirement years in dignity," said Sanders.

And the word that Sanders uses to describe the Trump budget is "immoral."

"This is a budget that is immoral and that will cause an enormous amount of pain for the most vulnerable people in our nation" — Sen. Bernie Sanders

"This is a budget that is immoral and that will cause an enormous amount of pain for the most vulnerable people in our nation,” said Sanders. “This is a budget that will be rejected by the American people and must not see the light of day here in Congress." 

Congressman Peter Welch says there's no doubt that the president's budget proposal will hurt people who need the assistance of important federal programs. Welch says he's puzzled by the Trump plan.

"How is it that President Trump connected so well to so many Americans who were feeling an immense amount of economic pain, Americans who had been left behind as the economy has moved forward, he heard their pain, but then in his budget he inflicts pain relentlessly?” said Welch.

And Welch thinks Trump's budget proposal is linked to the president's plan to lower taxes.

“It's in service not of doing something useful or necessary but exploding the deficit to pay for tax cuts to very successful corporations," said Welch. "They've got the highest profit they've had in generations and to very, very, wealthy individuals."

Welch says he's optimistic that many of his Republican House colleagues will reject many of the president's budget ideas.