WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23) is offering his thoughts on President Donald Trump’s 2019 Federal Budget proposal.
During a conference call with regional media on Tuesday, Chautauqua County’s representative in the House of Representatives said that he is disappointed with the budget proposal that was released on Monday because it doesn’t address the growing national debt and, if anything, it only makes it worse.
“I’m deeply disappointing in the president’s budget and I don’t have a lot of confidence in the president’s budget in regards to it being an actual cornerstone of giving us a projection to get our debt crisis under control. And that is coupled with the action that we took last week in regards to the budget gaps bill that I ultimately voted ‘no’ on because we have, in my opinion, abandoned the principle that I came here in 2010 to fight for, and that is to get our fiscal house in order and get this debt crisis under control.”
The president has proposed a $4.4 trillion federal budget that surrenders on a GOP goal of trying to eliminate the budget deficit in 10 years. It’s a concession that the big tax-cut plan enacted last year and higher spending in some areas make that impossible. Specifically, the budget sees a $984 billion deficit next year and $7 billion in new debt over the next decade.
The budget proposal also includes cuts to several domestic programs including the EPA and Medicare, but also includes an $80 million increase in defense spending. And the plan also includes a cut in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – previously known as food stamps – and would change the way the program is delivered to some 80 percent of recipients who receive $90 or more a month in benefits.
Under the president’s proposal, the SNAP benefits reform would involve a distribution of non perishable food packages, which the administration claims would allow lower costs because food would be purchased at wholesale prices.
Reed said the proposal is worth considering.
“That to me is a sign of being innovative and trying to be creative in getting out of one of the broken policies or structures of Washington DC, which essentially says, ‘Well we can’t do anything differently because we’ve always done it this way, we have to continue doing it this way because that’s the way we’ve always done it.’ And that mindset is strongly and institutionally ingrained in [SNAP],” Reed said.
There has already been pushback against the SNAP reform plan from advocates who say – among othert things – that it would significantly reduce the food options currently available for SNAP recipients, as well as create a layer of government bureaucracy that would dictate to poor Americans what they can and can not eat. Reed did indicate he’d be willing to learn more about the criticism before making a final decision.
“If they can establish to me that it is going to be more costly, or that it is not going to provide food to the people that need the food from our American farmers, then I’ll be open to that criticism and input,” Reed said, adding, “But I will never say ‘no.’ We’ve always been a country of ‘Yes we can’ and if there is a better way to deliver food to the people who need it most – our hungry fellow American citizens – I’m open to that.”