From the Subcommittee House Appropriation bills we see an agenda.
It calls for “defunding Obamacare,” cutting environmental protections, slashing family planning, and would serve school kids empty calories
During the past two weeks, the House Appropriations Committee, which Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen chairs, and its subcommittees have approved a series of spending bills for 2018. The draft bills will form Frelinghuysen’s budget that will go to the House for approval. While they largely reject most aspects of the President Trump’s infamous one-page “skinny bill,” they would:
- Provide the $1.6 billion Trump requested for the initial phase of barrier construction along the Mexican border.
- Eliminate the IRS mandate for Affordable Care Act (ACA), leading to its failure.
- Initiate “defunding Obamacare.” The legislation “contains several provisions to stop the implementation of Obamacare – including a prohibition against the use of any new discretionary funding to implement the Obamacare.”
- Eliminates the $300 million Title X Family Planning Program as well as all Planned Parenthood’s federal reimbursements. When access to family planning drops, unwanted pregnancies and abortions rise. And economic, education, employment and financial prospects for women fall. Frelinghuysen recently told constituents that he is “pro-choice.”
- Prohibit the Center for Disease Control (CDC) from even just studying gun violence.
- Eliminate the CDC climate change program.
- Provide a record-setting $700 billion Defense Authorization Bill, which is $150 billion over the Republicans’ own imposed spending cap.
- Cut Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funding by $528 million, or 6.6%.
- Eliminate an Obama-era rule called Waters of the United States, designed to limit pollution in about 60 percent of the nation’s bodies of water.
- Reduce the already poorly funded National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities funding by 6.6% to $145 million.
- Slash the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) by nearly a third.
- Reduce the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $4.8 billion. In New Jersey, more than one in 10 households depends on the program for food assistance. More than half of those have a child at home. More than a third have a senior.
- End some important child nutrition program standards -- meaning kids could be fed empty calories, overly processed, high sugar and high sodium foods in school.
- Cut $2.4 billion from Department of Education, including elimination of Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program.
- Cut $150 million in refugee programs, as Trump requested, and $450 million for the Unaccompanied Alien Children program.
- Eliminate a Department of Labor’s $671 million employment service grant program.
- Provide $900 million for the Gateway project to start work on a new Hudson River rail tunnel and replacing the 106-year-old Portal Bridge across the Hackensack River. Just six years ago, Frelinghuysen diverted $1 billion from New Jersey that would have been used to rebuild the Portal Bridge, the Western Hemisphere’s busiest train span. Why is he trying to secure this money now -- when it would have been much cheaper before?