Rep. Poliquin’s Statement on the White House’s 2018 Fiscal Year Budget Proposal
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Bruce Poliquin (ME-02), a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and an original cosponsor of the Balanced Budget Amendment, released the following statement on the White House’s 2018 Fiscal Year budget proposal—the first step in the budget process that is ultimately written, voted on, and passed by the U.S. Congress—while he continues to review its details:
“As a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I appreciate the clear commitment in this budget proposal to helping our Veterans and making drastic improvements to their services and to the Veterans’ Administration (VA),” said Congressman Poliquin. “As the appropriations process gets underway in Congress, I look forward to working with the White House to give our Veterans the support they unquestionably have earned and deserve.
“As an original cosponsor of the Balanced Budget Amendment, I am supportive of efforts to lower the deficit and eliminate the debt. We should all work together, the Administration and Congress, in reining in out-of-control spending in Washington.
“In addition, I’m pleased the President is working to make good on his promise to strengthen our national security in this proposal and on supporting our American workers, like our shipbuilders at Bath Iron Works and manufacturers at Hunting-Dearborn in Fryeburg.
“Nationwide, from 2008 to 2014, welfare for able-bodied adults without kids ballooned, growing by nearly 150% while pressuring federal and state budgets along the way. It is unfair for middle class taxpayers to be burdened with funding for able-bodied adults when there are so many others at risk who could be receiving this important support instead.
“Simply put, we should use our tax dollars to help those who need the support most, like the elderly and disabled, and not to those who are capable of working, joining a job training program, or doing community service. In Maine, we have seen great success in our welfare reforms which have led to increased aid to those who need it most and less dependence on government.
“In our State, we’ve successfully issued work requirements for some welfare programs for those who are able-bodied adults without dependents, aged 18 to 49, such that they are required to work, join in easily accessible job training programs administered by the state, or participate in community service activities. The success of these changes has allowed government to play its important role in providing support to the most needy more efficiently, as able-bodied adults without dependents have dramatically become less reliant on government in Maine. In addition, studies by state economists have shown those who have become less dependent have increased their income, which gives them more freedom to live independent lives.
“I believe we can apply Maine’s success on welfare reform at the national level and I will work to support those reforms, where appropriate, including in the budget process.
Programs That Need Support
“As I’ve said, I also want to maintain support for programs and agencies that serve our families and communities and help protect our environment. Specifically, I support funding for programs such as LIHEAP, which provides critical support for our Maine families in winter; Community Development Block Grants, which support multiple local programs in our State such as ‘Meals-on-Wheels’; and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, delivering family programming and also serving an important role with its emergency alert system; among others. As Congress begins its work on the budget, I will continue to look at these and other programs and agencies in our federal government.
“I am also concerned about any drastic reductions in support for important environmental programs, policies and services, such as:
- The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and their specific sea grants
- Funding for Acadia National Park
- Maintaining clean drinking water infrastructure and waste water infrastructure
- Maine Healthy Beaches Program
- National Estuary Program, and
- Continued lead remediation efforts in Maine
“As I continue to review the President’s budget proposal, I’ll be keeping in mind the needs and priorities of all our families, communities, Veterans, and small businesses of Maine’s 2nd District.
“Congress—not the President—ultimately writes, votes on, and passes the budget of the federal government, and I look forward to working with Democrats and Republicans in getting that done.”
Items to Note: