A few snippets from Syracuse.com/Post Standard letters to the editor:
It's very difficult for me to understand the huge cuts that could be so devastating to people with disabilities, the chronically ill, the elderly and the poor. Our representatives' priorities are focused on giving huge tax breaks to the rich and spending money in Iraq instead of taking care of the citizens of this country and I am getting sick of it.and-
Congress needs to change its priorities. Yes, we need to reduce the deficit, but not at the expense of helpless people. All of us can make a difference by calling our congressmen today and telling them to change their priorities. Money can be saved if Congress changes its priorities.
Last week, Jim Walsh voted in favor of the Republican leadership's budget that is neither compassionate nor conservative, and will harm Upstate New York families.and-
The Republican plan that Mr. Walsh supported will cut Medicaid by $11.4 billion, squeezing further our state and local governments. The Republican plan will cut student loan programs by $14.3 billion over the next five years, with more than half of those cuts directly hitting students.
The Republican plan will cut child support enforcement by $4.9 billion and impair New York state's capacity to enforce child support orders. The Republican plan will also cut food stamps by $796 million. This will cause nearly 300,000 Americans to lose food stamps.
So why support such drastic program cuts? Not to reduce the deficit which actually goes up under this plan. George Bush and the Republican-led Congress pushed these drastic budget cuts to finance more tax cuts for the very wealthy. That's the wrong direction for upstate New York.
When the House of Representatives voted 217-215 to cut funding for student loan programs by an astonishing $14.3 billion, 14 Republicans - including our representative, John McHugh - joined with House Democrats in opposing this proposal. The student loan programs are among our nation's most important guarantors of access to higher education. The proposal to radically cut federal funding for student loans represents poorly conceived public policy.and from the traditionally conservative paper-
[Walsh voted for the cuts to funding]
Having won concessions, Walsh and Boehlert provided their votes, which equaled the margin by which the legislation passed the House, 217-215. McHugh was one of just 14 Republicans to vote against the bill.
"This time, they listened to us," Boehlert said, explaining his vote. "What do we do then? Say thank you and vote against the bill? They'd cut us off from future decisions."
Yes, the moderates improved the budget bill. But the legislation still leaves them vulnerable to charges that their party is less than compassionate toward those who rely on federal help for college loans, health care and other forms of aid.
And Democrats, now hopeful that the president's low ratings will translate into electoral victories next year, won't give Walsh or Boehlert any credit. The party that couldn't find anyone to challenge Walsh last year already has three or more hopefuls lined up for 2006, and is taking early shots at Boehlert as well.
The next test of moderate muscle comes in December, when GOP leaders are expected to push an extension of tax cuts on dividends, interest and capital gains. Will the Republican Party cut spending on social programs, then turn around and give upper-income taxpayers a break?
It should be a very interesting year.
An interesing year indeed. I am looking forward to covering it.