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Peters: GOP budget is ‘unconscionable’

U.S. Rep. Gary Peters publishes report on devastating effects of today’s GOP bill to Michiganders

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Gary Peters says the Republicans’ Budget Reconciliation Act, which passed the House May 10, would end the Medicare guarantee, increase health care costs for seniors and slash vital services such as SNAP food assistance, meals on wheels and free school lunches for children in need. All of these cuts came because the GOP refuses to ask millionaires, billionaires and oil companies to pay their fair share, according to Peters’ Congressional report.

“It is unconscionable for House Republicans to protect tax breaks for billionaires and oil companies at the expense of the most vulnerable Americans,” said U.S. Rep. Gary Peters.

Key findings in Peters’ report include:

-Michigan received $3.1 billion in federal food assistance in FY 2011. By next year under this plan, it’s estimated 146,800 Michigan residents would lose benefits.

- As Michigan continues to bounce back from the recession, the GOP proposal would force the state to lose an additional $54 million to fund services like Meals on Wheels, transportation for seniors and the disabled, prevention of child abuse and neglect, and child care assistance to help low-income parents get back to work.

- Nearly 300,000 children in Michigan would lose free school lunches from the child nutrition program in addition to reduced food assistance at home.

- The GOP’s bill would repeal funding for Prevention and Public Health by $11.9 billion. Since 2010, organizations in Michigan have received more than $22.8 million in support for programs such as breast cancer and cervical screenings, child immunizations, and disease prevention.

“We are heartbroken at any potential funding cuts that will harm people already facing dire need,”said Susan Goodell, president and CEO of Forgotten Harvest, the nation’s largest food rescue serving people living in need of food in Southeast Michigan. “A major portion of these cuts will hurt households with children and seniors. From first-hand experience, we know that the hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people we provide food assistance to are least able to expand their current financial resources when government safety net programs are cut.”

The Michigan Education Association (MEA) also expressed strong opposition.

“Michigan educators know first-hand that hungry children cannot learn, and that access to an adequate and healthy diet is essential to academic success,” said Steven Cook, MEA president. “Yet, far too many children lack consistent access to healthy food. Hungry children are often irritable, feel ill, and lack concentration and more likely to be absent from school. Attempting to balance the budget on the backs of hungry children and families, while continuing to support tax breaks for millionaires and large corporations, is simply unconscionable and contrary to our values as a nation.”

The Area Agency on Aging, a nonprofit agency that receives funding to services for older adults said: “The Area Agency on Aging 1-B is opposed to provisions of the FY 2013 Budget Reconciliation that impose severe funding cuts to important programs that help older adults and adults with disabilities live independently in their home,” said Tina Abbate Marzolf, chief executive officer. “Social Services Block Grants are the only consistent source of federal funding for Adult Protective Services, which respond to the growing number of elder abuse and financial exploitation crimes throughout the United States. The Prevention and Public Health Fund supports innovative, evidence-based programs that reduce the need for costly medical care. Through programs supported by the PPHF, individuals are taught to manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes, and ways to reduce their risk of falling, a leading cause of death and injury for older Americans.”

Read the full text of U.S. Rep. Gary Peters’ Congressional report at www.peters.house.gov.

 

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