Merkley Blasts Trump Budget as Completely Ignoring Concerns of Oregonians

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement after President Donald Trump released his proposed fiscal year 2021 budget:

“At Donald Trump’s events, he talks and talks and talks but never listens. If he did a town hall in every county in Oregon every year, like I do, and actually listened to people, maybe his budget wouldn’t make life worse for people in all the ways they’re already most worried about.

“When I talk to folks, I hear concerns about the cost of health care and pharmaceutical drugs. This budget would cause millions of people to lose health care coverage, with massive cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program—all while Americans are suffering from ever-increasing drug and health care costs. Just as perplexing: In the midst of the global coronavirus outbreak, the president wants to cut the Centers for Disease Control budget. 

“In rural communities, the economy is still pretty precarious. Yet just as rural communities are beginning to be connected with broadband internet—vital for growing opportunity in rural education and economies—the president wants to eliminate $50 million from the program. In another gut-punch to rural economies, his budget eliminates the $46 million Rural Business Program grants.

“Millions of Oregonians are paying more than they can afford for housing and people are sleeping under overpasses and on medians. But the president wants to decrease affordable housing funding by more than 15 percent and slash support for rural housing by $92 million. He would eliminate housing programs that are critically important to Oregon communities—including the rental assistance, low-income housing construction, and Community Development Block Grants that I fought to increase in the 2020 budget.

“Not even hungry children were spared: The president proposes eliminating the programs that make sure kids get fed during the summer months and get breakfast during the school year, and further cuts food assistance for families by $181 billion over 10 years.

“Somehow, this president who fancies himself a billionaire and has spent nearly a third of his presidency hanging around with rich people at country clubs could find enough money to give the super-rich and giant corporations a trillion dollars in tax breaks. But working families across Oregon, and especially in rural communities, are hanging on by the fingertips, and President Trump, instead of giving a hand up, is stomping on their fingers. 

“Budgets are a statement of values. Our job in government should be making sure every person who works hard can get ahead. Instead, this budget does the opposite, turning a blind eye to the real issues that real Oregonians and Americans are facing. The rich and powerful are doing just fine; the last thing we should be doing is stacking the deck even more in their favor. I will do everything I can to fight the president’s reckless proposal and make sure we’re investing in our people, our communities, and our future.”