WARWICK - Congressman Jim Langevin offered the following statement in response to the release of President Barack Obama's proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2012.
"President Obama's FY 2012 proposal is a strong, responsible first offer in the budget process for the upcoming fiscal year. Coupling greater long-term deficit reductions with short-term economic investments will strike the necessary balance toward economic and fiscal sustainability.
"In particular, I strongly support the President's efforts to make targeted investments in education, infrastructure and technological research. These are key ingredients for job creation and economic innovation in a global economy where other countries are gaining the competitive edge. From surface transportation to high-speed rail, renewable energy to NIH funding, and teacher training to Pell Grants, the President's proposal supports initiatives that will create jobs today and prepare our students to take advantage of new opportunities in the future.
"I am also pleased to see an effort to reduce or eliminate 120 federal programs to save $20 billion each year, with overall deficit reduction reaching $1.1 trillion over the next decade. However, I do have concerns about cutting programs that are critical to the basic needs of Rhode Islanders and the communities in which they live. One of the most troubling proposals is a cut of 50 percent to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provided 37,000 families in our state with the ability to heat their homes this winter.
"In addition, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) have supplied cities and towns in Rhode Island with millions of dollars to support after school programs, affordable housing, job training and other important services. Cutting those funds by $300 million would put Rhode Islanders in a difficult spot as both the state and local municipalities are already under pressure to do more with much less.
"I appreciate the President's willingness to begin making the tough choices that will allow us to move the country forward while sharpening our focus on deficit-reduction. I look forward to working with the Administration and my colleagues in Congress to ensure that these choices are made in a way that delivers the maximum benefit to Rhode Islanders while addressing our long-term fiscal challenges."