Republican congress slashes programs benefiting middle class
Largely to find money to pay for damage caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and to ensure that even more tax cuts for the wealthy are rammed through, the Republican controlled congress is busy slashing programs which benefit the middle and lower class. This includes blocking efforts to increase spending for programs to assist the poor with exploding heating costs this winter.
The Senate decided yesterday the money was not there for a substantial spending boost for the federal home heating program, deflecting arguments that soaring energy prices could force the poor to choose between heat and food this winter.Republicans also took advantage of a need to cut budgets to find money for disaster relief by slashing many other programs for the middle class, rather than touching one dime of the massive tax breaks for the most wealthy in the country and corporations, though they are considering cutting farm subsidies.
Senators voted 54 to 43 in favor of a proposal to boost the fiscal 2006 budget for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program from $2.2 billion to $5.1 billion. A 60-vote majority was needed to approve new spending not coupled with equivalent spending cuts.
The Senate rejected several other efforts to stretch the budget to obtain more money for popular programs. Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) sought an extra $5 billion for education grants for low-income children, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) wanted $4 billion more for the Individuals with Disabilities Act.Bastards
Meanwhile, House Republicans voted to cut student loan subsidies, child support enforcement and aid to firms hurt by unfair trade practices as various committees scrambled to piece together $50 billion in budget cuts.
More politically difficult votes -- to cut Medicaid, food stamps and farm subsidies -- are on tap today as more panels weigh in on the bill. It was originally intended to cut $35 billion in spending over five years, but after pressure from conservatives, GOP leaders directed committees to cut an additional $15 billion to help pay for hurricane recovery.
The House Agriculture Committee announced a plan to cut the food stamp program by $1 billion as part of a larger effort to slice $4.2 billion from federal agriculture programs.
The right is always trumpeting their moral convictions, as if they have exclusive claim to such things. Well, one thing appears likely, and that's that, though they may not have morals as we know them, they'll have a lot of convictions soon. Get it? Convictions...
Thanks, I'll be here all week. Try the veal, and don't forget to tip your waitress.