(House of Representatives - March 16, 2017)

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[Pages H2139-H2143]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                          BILLIONAIRE'S BUDGET

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Budd). Under the Speaker's announced 
policy of January 3, 2017, the gentlewoman from Washington (Ms. 
Jayapal) is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority 

                             General Leave

  Ms. JAYAPAL. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include 
extraneous material on the subject of my Special Order.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from Washington?
  There was no objection.
  Ms. JAYAPAL. Mr. Speaker, this evening I rise to speak on behalf of 
the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and I believe some of my 
colleagues will be joining me, to talk about the budget that has just 
been released by this President.
  I would like to say, Mr. Speaker, that while it is being called a 
skinny budget, we call it the billionaire's budget. It is the same 
misguided, rambling, unfocused, bloated giveaway to rich and corporate 
interests that has been offered for years.
  My belief is that a budget is a statement of our values. This budget 
ensures that the rich get richer at the cost of working people, the 
environment, and the future of our country.

  Funding has been axed for nearly 20 agencies, from the Corporation 
for Public Broadcasting to the National Endowment for the Arts and the 
National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition to elimination of 
these important agencies, the billionaire's budget guts funding for 
several other important agencies.
  You can see here by this chart from The Washington Post exactly what 
is happening: the Environmental Protection Agency chopped by 31 
percent; the State Department cut by 29 percent; Agriculture cut by 21 
percent, the Labor Department by 21 percent.

[[Page H2140]]

  And the cuts go on through every single agency of critical importance 
to the American people: Department of Health and Human Services, 
Commerce, Education, Housing and Urban Development at a time when we 
have a tremendous housing crisis in this country.
  Transportation, from a President who said that he was going to invest 
in our infrastructure, yet here you see that the Transportation budget 
has a 13 percent cut.
  Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the cost of security for the Trump 
Tower is $183 million a year. The budget for the National Endowment for 
the Arts is $148 million a year.
  There are some other cuts that we could do if we were that concerned, 
but let's talk about housing. Housing access and affordability is 
squarely on the chopping block in this billionaire's budget.
  With a $4.3 billion cut, HUD will lose its Community Development 
Block Grant program. Now, some people don't know exactly what the 
Community Development Block Grant program does; and, in fact, it 
sounded like Director Mulvaney didn't know that either when he was 
asked about a critical program that is funded through this Community 
Development Block Grant program, and that is funding for Meals on 
  There are communities across this country that fund their Meals on 
Wheels program, which is funding for meals for the elderly who cannot 
get to somewhere where they can get a meal, and so we take them a meal. 
That is Meals on Wheels, an incredibly bipartisan, beloved program. 
Unfortunately, that would go away because the CDBG program would be 
cut; and, therefore, the Meals on Wheels program would be cut.
  These programs are an integral part of building up our communities, 
both through affordable housing as well as through some of these 
critical programs that go as wraparound services to affordable housing.
  The city of Seattle, which I represent, is currently in a state of 
emergency due to its housing crisis. Right now, there are around 3,000 
people experiencing homelessness in the city and nearly 10,000 in the 
surrounding areas--veterans, families, LGBTQ youth.
  This is unacceptable. Access to stable housing is absolutely critical 
to making sure that members of our community are safe and able to 
access the services they need to get back on track and live full lives.
  Let's talk about Health and Human Services. The Department of Health 
and Human Services is facing an 18 percent cut to its funding, which 
could have devastating--and I am talking about life and death--
consequences here, absolutely devastating impacts.
  It would decrease the funding for the National Institutes of Health, 
for cancer and medical research, critical programs that help us to 
figure out how we save lives in this country and actually are part of 
the innovation that the United States offers. Gutting this funding 
would put us at a grave disadvantage, and it would put people's lives 
at risk.
  Transportation, another critical area that this President promised 
that he was going to invest in. He was going to make sure we were 
bringing forward jobs, that we were investing in our infrastructure, 
our crumbling roads and bridges, making sure that we are investing in 
critical transit and transportation projects. But in this budget, the 
Transportation budget is facing a 13 percent cut. That is nearly half a 
billion dollars from the TIGER grant program, which has allowed our 
country to carry out critical infrastructure improvement projects not 
just in one kind of a city, not just in urban areas, but urban and 
rural areas alike.
  The billionaire's budget would also cut funding to all new fully 
funded grant agreements, including some really important projects in 
cities across the country.
  In Seattle, our critical streetcar project would be cut; and light 
rail expansion, which we have been working on for years, the State has 
invested in a bipartisan way--when I was in the State senate, we 
actually passed a $15 billion transportation infrastructure package 
because we knew that we had to deal with the transportation 
infrastructure needs of business, of our communities across the State 
and the influx of people into our State.

                              {time}  1845

  We agreed in a bipartisan way that this was something we needed to 
do. Part of that agreement included being able to fund the next phase 
of light-rail across our region.
  Our Sound Transit CEO, Peter Rogoff, calls this budget a ``body 
blow.'' I couldn't agree with him more. We are looking at potentially a 
$7.7 billion cut to Sound Transit.
  These are major transportation projects for our cities. They would 
create jobs, which is what this President said that he wanted to do, is 
create jobs. But by gutting these funds and gutting investment in 
transportation infrastructure, we will be stopping the very projects 
that are going to create those jobs and help our cities and rural areas 
make the necessary upgrades that they need to thrive.
  Mr. Speaker, one of the worst areas that is hit in this budget is the 
environment. This billionaire's budget is an all-out assault on our 
environment and efforts to fund research and curb climate change.
  President Trump has found ways to wreak havoc on our efforts to 
protect our planet by, in this budget, cutting climate research and 
protection funds to multiple departments. This isn't just the 
Environmental Protection Agency, but we are talking also about NASA 
space exploration and many other areas that ensure that we preserve 
this planet for the next generation.
  I have got a 20-year-old, Mr. Speaker, and when I was running for 
Congress, he said to me: Mom, you have got to work on climate change. 
It is one of the most important issues facing my generation. You are 
the stewards of our lands. If you don't take care of this planet, then 
we won't have anything left and my children won't have anything left.
  This is my 20-year-old son telling me this. Mr. Speaker, I promised 
him I would do everything I can for his generation and future 
generations to protect our planet.
  Unfortunately, one of the biggest cuts in this budget is to the 
Environmental Protection Agency. This is a 32 percent cut to the 
Environmental Protection Agency. This decimates all of our work on 
climate change, all of the research that we need to do so we know how 
to protect our climate, all of the work on environmental justice 
programs, which is really essential when you think about who is taking 
the burden of climate change. It is our low-income communities, 
communities of color, and other vulnerable and marginalized 
  I have always believed that we should rename the EPA. Environmental 
Protection Agency makes it sound like it is something off in the 
distance, like it is about something out there. But, in fact, what the 
Environmental Protection Agency does is monitor our water so that we 
have clean water to drink and use. It monitors our air so that we have 
clean air to breathe and we don't have asthma and other respiratory 
diseases that come with air that is so polluted that we can't even 
survive in it. It ensures that we are protecting human health.
  We could rename the EPA the Agency for Clean Water, Clean Air, and 
Human Health, and I think that that would cover a lot of what the EPA 
  The EPA's cut is going to result in 3,200 lost jobs. That is 20 
percent of the department. Research programs would be discontinued both 
domestically and around the world, and programs like the Clean Power 
Plan and numerous restoration projects, including a critical 
restoration project in the Puget Sound, the Puget Sound Restoration, 
would lose 93 percent of its funding. This is true of the Great Lakes 
region. There are places in Republican and Democratic districts across 
this country that are going to suffer and see environmental protection 
being rapidly undone.
  President Trump has made it painfully clear that he and his 
administration are enemies not only of the environment, but of the 
science that tells us that yes, we must address climate change because 
it is real and it is manmade. Yet, we are fighting efforts to 
consistently undermine the research and the science that shows us 

[[Page H2141]]

where we are as a country and what we must do in order to protect our 
  Let me talk about education for a second. With the appointment of 
Betsy DeVos to the Department of Education, President Trump has 
signaled that his administration has every intention of doing whatever 
they can to privatize our education system. The billionaire's budget 
takes the first steps in that process.
  It increases charter school funding by $168 million and it adds $250 
million to create a new, private school choice program. It cuts $3.7 
billion in grants that go toward after-school programs, aid programs, 
and important teacher training.
  This budget would decimate Head Start. Head Start is a program that 
has been shown to be successful. When you invest early in kids' 
education and you make sure that you give them that early support, it 
definitely has an impact in diminishing and breaking that school-to-
prison pipeline.
  These are investments that save us money in the long run. Not only 
are they the most humane thing to do and the right thing to do, but 
they are actually cost-effective programs that stop us from having to 
spend millions of dollars down the line when people can't get a great 
public education.
  We should be investing in our public education program and making 
sure that we are helping kids to go all the way from early learning to 
higher education. That is the foundation of a great country, when we 
are educating and investing in our students to have that kind of a 
great education.
  Mr. Speaker, I see that my colleague from the Progressive Caucus is 
here. I yield to the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Raskin), the 
wonderful Representative from that State, because I know he has got 
somewhere to go right after this. I invite him to come up here, and I 
thank him for his leadership on all issues constitutional and 
  Mr. RASKIN. Mr. Speaker, we are so proud of the leadership 
Congresswoman Jayapal is showing in both Washington State and 
Washington, D.C., in resisting these terrible cuts to the domestic 
budget of the people of the United States, in showing leadership, also 
especially in defending American values when it comes to immigration 
and affording a refuge to people fleeing political and religious 
repression all over the world.

  She is a true leader and we are very proud of her. I am grateful that 
she is sharing a couple of minutes with me tonight to talk about the 
astonishing news of the day, which is the most dramatic and draconian 
budget cuts offered perhaps in our lifetime to the domestic budget of 
the United States.
  It is going to take us many days--many weeks, indeed--to fully 
analyze what exactly will be axed with these budget proposals, but I 
wanted to start with a little exchange that took place today with Mick 
Mulvaney, who is leading the budget effort for the President.
  He had a press conference and he was asked about the implications of 
these billions of dollars of cuts to Meals on Wheels. He was asked 
about one specific program, and he had no problem basically casting 
Meals on Wheels to the curbside, saying: ``It's just not showing any 
results.'' Which is why the Trump administration apparently feels good 
about slashing the domestic budget, including the community development 
block grants which help support Meals on Wheels across the country.
  Well, let's just take this one tiny little example, then. Meals on 
Wheels actually serves 2.4 million Americans between the ages of 60 and 
100. These are people who, for reasons of illness or physical infirmity 
or simply poverty, cannot go grocery shopping for themselves or prepare 
meals for themselves.
  Why don't we take a moment to praise the people at Meals on Wheels 
who actually do something constructive and patriotic for their country. 
They bring food to older people who might otherwise go without.
  You might say: Well, that is just kind of mushy-headed and soft-
hearted. We are in the age of the budget ax. We need to destroy these 
domestic programs that are a terrible burden on the taxpayers.
  Check out a 2013 review of studies on the issue of home-delivered 
meal programs like Meals on Wheels. The study says that these programs 
``significantly improve diet quality, increase nutrient intake, and 
reduce food insecurity and nutritional risk among participants. Other 
beneficial outcomes include increased socialization opportunities, 
improvement in dietary adherence, and higher quality of life.''
  Well, maybe you don't care about any of those things. Maybe you just 
consider about the bottom line.
  Consider this finding. These programs are aligned with the Federal 
cost-containment policy to rebalance long-term care away from nursing 
homes to home and community-based services by helping older adults 
maintain independence and remain in their homes and communities as 
their health and functioning decline.
  You see, for Mr. Mulvaney and President Trump and the Cabinet of 
billionaires and CEOs and ethically challenged Russian-influenced 
corporate titans, they don't care about how the program is actually 
working right here in American communities.
  They don't care about facts. We know they have contempt for facts, 
which is why they give us their alternative facts. They don't care 
about studies and books because we know the President is their leader 
and he doesn't read books.
  They definitely don't care about the elderly people who can't make it 
to the grocery store or who can't afford nutritious meals on their own. 
These are the same people, after all, that they propose to throw to the 
curb on Medicaid, with their proposal released last week in the cloak 
of darkness to repeal the Affordable Care Act and gut Medicaid and 
replace it with a monstrosity of a program which even their own Members 
can't support. Under their plan, 14 million would lose their healthcare 
insurance. Millions of elderly people would lose their insurance.
  Now, with this mean-spirited little proposal to take a relative crumb 
away from the community development block grant and from Meals on 
Wheels, they would deprive a lot of people even of a wholesome dinner 
delivered to their home.
  Why do they want to slash all of these programs across the board: the 
EPA, the State Department, the Agriculture Department, the Labor 
Department, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Commerce 
Department, the Education Department, HUD, Transportation, Interior, 
and so on? Why?
  Well, the President has announced he wants to take $54 billion out of 
that slice of the pie for nondefense discretionary spending, which 
accounts for only 16 percent of the overall budget, and put that $54 
billion directly into the Pentagon.
  Just to repeat, they want to take $54 billion out of the domestic 
budget, nondefense discretionary spending, and put it into the Pentagon 
for a military buildup.
  But for what?
  The world's second largest military power is Russia. We outspend them 
10 to 1. We are a giant and they are a dwarf.
  Vladimir Putin, in any event, is Donald Trump's best friend, his BFF, 
his bosom buddy. The Trump-Putin relationship may be the President's 
most successful long-term relationship, at least politically speaking.
  All that money that goes to the Pentagon, why? What is it for? Is it 
possible that Mr. Bannon and Mr. Trump are thinking about a war drive?
  The President has tweeted about World War III in a very cavalier and 
flippant way.
  It is disturbing. Nobody really knows. But one thing we do know is 
that all of that money that goes over to the Pentagon, if history is 
any record, will be available for the beltway bandits, the inside 
players with political influence and the mega corporations to go and 
make a buck off of the American taxpayer.
  We will strip it from the EPA, and we will strip it from the 
Department of State, and we will strip it from education and we will 
put it in the Pentagon, and that is where we know a lot of people are 
going to get rich.

                              {time}  1900

  They are going from Meals on Wheels to deals on wheels. That is the 
name of the game. No more Meals on Wheels. It is all about deals on 
wheels. You have got to know the President, you have got to know the 
inside players in the

[[Page H2142]]

billionaire Cabinet, and then you can make some money.
  Who are they going to sacrifice for this operation announced this 
  Well, it would take us all night to go through all of the domestic 
programs and projects that the American people depend on that are going 
to be sliced and diced because of this budget proposal, at least if it 
goes through.
  But let's start with the National Institutes of Health, the NIH. The 
administration proposes to cut nearly $6 billion from the NIH--$5.8 
billion they want to get rid of.
  Now, what is the NIH, which happens to be in my congressional 
district in Rockville--and I am so proud of that--where we have got 
doctors and nurses and researchers and scientists who are working every 
day as part of the institutional world leader in biomedical research?
  This is an entity that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs. These 
cuts would devastate the NIH and their ability to research lifesaving 
cures and treatments for diseases.
  What kinds of diseases are being treated there?
  I am not going to be able to go through all of them because there are 
hundreds of them that are being researched, where treatments are being 
developed, where patients are being seen, where progress is being made. 
Acute respiratory distress syndrome, Agent Orange and dioxin, aging, 
alcoholism, Alzheimer's disease, ALS, anorexia, anthrax, antimicrobial 
resistance, anxiety disorders, aphasia, arthritis, assistive 
technology, asthma, attention deficit disorder, autism, autoimmune 
disease. That is just the A's.
  Let's keep going a little bit. Batten disease, biodefense, 
bioengineering, biotechnology, bipolar disorder, brain cancer, brain 
disorders, breast cancer, cancer, cannabinoid research, cardiovascular, 
cerebral palsy, cervical cancer, child abuse and neglect research, 
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, childhood leukemia, chronic fatigue 
syndrome, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, chronic obstructive 
pulmonary disease, climate change, climate-related exposures and 
conditions, colorectal cancer, and on and on. That is just the A's, the 
B's, and the C's.
  They want to cut $6 billion from the NIH, which is working to cure, 
address, study, and manage the diseases and the sicknesses that our 
people are dealing with; and just cavalierly they say they want to 
slash it so they can pour all of this money over to the military side 
for a reason unknown.
  When they came down with their executive orders, which have now been 
struck down by multiple Federal District Courts as unconstitutional, as 
a violation of the Establishment Clause, as a violation likely of due 
process and equal protection and so on, what they cited was 9/11 
multiple times. They cited 9/11. The odd thing, though, was that the 
three source countries for the 9/11 hijackers--Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and 
the United Arab Emirates--were left off their executive orders, even 
right up until today.
  Some people say it is because Donald Trump has extensive business 
dealings with corporations and governments in those three countries. 
Nobody really knows. But they developed those orders, which the GOP 
proudly once called the Muslim ban, in response allegedly to 9/11. Even 
if you could blame an entire people for the acts of individual 
terrorists, they didn't do it. They turned to some other countries 
because that didn't interfere with the President's business interests.
  So we have got this huge military buildup and we have got the 
siphoning away of tens of billions of dollars of the American people's 
hard-earned money away from medical research and diseases and 
environmental protection all into the Pentagon. For what reason, nobody 
knows, and they haven't told us.
  What a dangerous moment this is in the life of the American Republic. 
What a perilous time this is for a nation built on the principle that 
that great Republican President Abraham Lincoln called government of 
the people, by the people, and for the people.
  Their budget proposal is a job killer. It is going to kill hundreds 
of thousands of jobs. It devastates and ruins the search for cures, the 
progress we are making in diseases like cystic fibrosis and diabetes. 
Diseases that afflict hundreds of thousands, millions of our people, 
they are just going to pull the plug on that. They are ransacking our 
children's education. They are hollowing out the rural communities. 
They are making urban life far more dangerous. They are weakening our 
leadership overseas. And, of course, because they don't believe in 
climate change, they are undermining our ability to respond to the 
great peril that faces us as a people.
  Just like the proposal to trash the Affordable Care Act cannot go 
through this body because there must be a majority of responsible 
Members of this body who will not accept that terrible proposal that 
will throw 24 million of our people off their insurance, this body also 
cannot accept this terrible budget. It must have arrived here DOA.
  If a foreign government, a rival to America, an enemy of America, had 
come up with this budget, we would regard it as an act of aggression 
against the American people. You could view it as a declaration of war 
against the prosperity, the health, and the welfare of our own people. 
But, alas, it didn't come from abroad. At least it was addressed that 
it came from the White House. It appears to have come from the 
administration, yet it threatens our way of life.
  I would urge all of my colleagues to very carefully study this budget 
proposal over the next week or two and make clear that these are not 
the priorities of the American people, make clear that these are not 
the values of the American people, and this is not the future of the 
American people. We must continue to make progress. That means we must 
reject the Trump budget.

  Ms. JAYAPAL. Mr. Speaker, I thank Representative Raskin for his 
consistent brilliance and leadership. I so appreciate it. It has been a 
tremendous honor to serve with him here.
  I want to talk about another area that we haven't covered yet, which 
is the State and development programs budget. This is essentially our 
efforts around diplomacy and development around the world. This would 
be incredibly hard hit. The prime target is the United Nations. Climate 
change initiatives at the United Nations would lose all of their 
funding. The government would cut back its regular contribution to the 
U.N. and pay no more than 25 percent of the cost of U.N. peacekeeping 
operations. The budget would hit all of the multilateral development 
banks, like the World Bank, which would be trimmed by $650 million over 
3 years, and cultural programs like the East-West Center in Honolulu.
  Today a number of Republican colleagues talked about how misguided 
this cut was, and it made me very hopeful, to be honest. 
Representatives Hal Rogers and Ted Yoho both agree that this cut is 
absolutely misguided.
  Several retired three- and four-star generals wrote a letter to 
Congress expressing their deep concern over these serious budget cuts 
that are being made to the State Department because they know that 
diplomacy goes hand in hand with any kind of defense that has to be put 
out there. You have got to have the two together. Here is what they 
said: ``The State Department, USAID, Millennium Challenge Corporation, 
Peace Corps and other development agencies are critical to preventing 
conflict and reducing the need to put our men and women in uniform in 
harm's way.''
  In 2013, General Mattis himself said that if more funding for 
development wasn't provided, he would have to buy more bullets. 
Development programs are inextricably linked with our national 
security, and this President should not be cutting these funds if he 
wants to bolster national security. If he wants to bolster national 
security, then we should be investing more of our dollars into 
diplomacy and development as two of the other legs of a three-legged 
stool. Unfortunately, he is going in the opposite direction.
  Our aid and development efforts have to be well-rounded and holistic. 
I know this because I have worked in international development before 
all over the world. I have worked along the borders of Laos and 
Cambodia, in Thailand. I have worked across south Asia. I have worked 
in Latin America. I know and I understand that our relationships and 
our ability to build

[[Page H2143]]

strong multilateral coalitions and to invest in the stability of 
countries as war is happening there is absolutely essential to 
preserving peace.
  The generals wrote: ``We know from our service in uniform that many 
of the crises our nation faces do not have military solutions alone--
from confronting violent extremist groups like ISIS in the Middle East 
and north Africa to preventing pandemics like Ebola. . . .''
  This 29 percent cut is absolutely unacceptable and will not keep us 
  The billionaire's budget doesn't just cut funding for these programs, 
though. It also increases spending, and not for the benefit of our 
communities. This administration is calling for $3 billion to detain 
more immigrants, deport more people, and build a bigger border wall. 
The staggering increase to detain an unprecedented 45,700 men and women 
is unacceptable.
  Mr. Speaker, 167 men and women have died in detention since October 
2003. The organization that I used to work at put out a human rights 
abuses report about the detention center controlled by the GEO 
corporation, private detention center way back in 2005 or 2006. We 
looked at all of the human rights abuses that were happening not only 
in that detention center, but we did research on what was happening 
around the country.
  Among the 35 death reviews in this recent report that came out that 
have been released through Freedom of Information Act requests, 
substandard medical care contributed to at least 15 deaths. And even 
when government investigations concluded that a facility violated 
government detention standards, the government fails to hold these 
private facilities accountable and make sure that changes are made to 
address deficiencies that lead to the loss of human life.
  Instead of spending $3 billion on immigration enforcement and 
detention, here is what we could do with that money: We could create 
45,000 new middle class jobs. We could build 184 new elementary 
schools. We could hire about 55,000 new kindergarten and elementary 
schoolteachers. We could provide close to 337,000 Head Start slots for 
young kids. We could pay for nearly 311,000 people to attend a 4-year 
college per year. We could help States protect and save up to 12,000 
at-risk wildlife and plant species in the United States every year for 
the next 2.3 years. By the way, we could also provide nearly 2.1 
million households with solar energy. We could weatherize over 460,000 
homes nationwide, saving the average household about $283 a year. And 
we could provide 10 million lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatments.
  Mr. Speaker, this budget is about profit over safety, privatization 
over public good. It is about war over peace and diplomacy. And it is 
about incarceration over rehabilitation. It is fundamentally about 
billionaires and lobbyists over the American people.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.