SEPTEMBER 29, 2005
2:31 PM

CONTACT: Americans for Democratic Action
(202) 785-5980

Americans for Democratic Action Calls Proposed FY 2006 Federal Budget a Formula for Homeland Insecurity


WASHINGTON - September 29 - In a statement issued today, ADA president Congressman Jim McDermott noted that, with the end of the fiscal year and the passage of a Continuing Resolution necessary to keep the Federal Government operating, the time has come to "build for a positive future"... rather than "continue to pursue a destructive cut and spend agenda."

ADA national director Amy Isaacs echoed those sentiments saying, "In the wake of Katrina and Rita - and, yes, September 11 - it is all too tempting to shake our heads and ponder the imponderable. Instead, we should be asking, 'What are we about to do to our nation's security and our own communities?'"

"There are lessons to be learned from that dark day in 2001 and from the recent natural disasters but, sadly, a quick look at White House and Congressional Budget proposals reveals we have learned virtually nothing," she continued.

ADA president McDermott added, "The impending budget extension is only a band-aid on a gaping wound...As we close the books on the 2005 fiscal year, the Republican leadership should take a deep breath and look at all of the options, not just the ones that fit their political agenda."

Instead, a study authored by ADA national board member Ed Schwartz, president of the Institute for the Study of Civic Values in Philadelphia, paints an appalling picture:

* Potential cuts of almost $900 million from programs designed to help our first responders protect homeland security

* Potential cuts of more than $1 billion from programs essential to rebuilding all our communities and providing assistance to those most in need and, most particularly, those hit hardest by Katrina and Rita. Included in these proposed cuts are almost $428 million from the Community Development Block Grant program - even though it is the major Federal program available to communities throughout the United States to strengthen infrastructure in the low and moderate income neighborhoods that were most badly damaged by Katrina and Rita. Also included are potential cuts of almost $500 million for Flood Control on the Mississippi.

Finally, said ADA director Isaacs, "there may be valid arguments that some of the problems we have faced in recent months couldn't have been foreseen but, as we enter, the winter season, we do know that homes will have to be heated and that low-income families will face particular hardship in the face of sky-rocketing fuel costs." The current response: Potentially almost $200 million in cuts to the Low Income Energy Assistance program. This is a disaster waiting to happen and one which Congress must take immediate steps to avert.