Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy Statement On The Final Rescission Proposal From President Trump

For the last four years, President Trump has repeatedly displayed his inability to grasp that a government by the people works for the people.  His budgets proposed to undermine our government’s ability to help families in need and invest in future growth.  Congress turned back each of these irresponsible budgets on a bipartisan basis.  Apparently President Trump remains unable to understand the potential consequences of his failed policies.   The $27 billion of rescission proposals he submitted to Congress today, with just six days remaining in his failed presidency, will be rejected as well.

The President proposes to rescind – in other words cancel – $16.9 billion in international assistance funds that his administration agreed to, and which he signed into law, only weeks ago.  The cuts are proposed with minimal justification, would cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, and would undermine U.S. security and global leadership that has been built over decades by Republican and Democratic administrations with bipartisan support in Congress.

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have a long history of working on a bipartisan basis to identify low priority funding and rescinded $11 billion in fiscal year 2020 and $12 billion in fiscal year 2021.  President Trump’s rescission proposals will not contribute to the effort to identify such spending.  Instead his proposals would:

Abandon American leadership around the globe

  • Rescind $4 billion in emergency funding for vaccine procurement and delivery, which would prevent the United States from responding to the COVID pandemic overseas, where it is spreading out of control. 
  • Slash $1.1 billion in other global health funds related to maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, and other deadly diseases, which would result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives.
  • Eliminate $2.1 billion from the George W. Bush era President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which would result in the death of tens if not hundreds of thousands of people. 
  • Rescind $430 million for Educational and Cultural Exchanges, which have near universal bipartisan support in Congress.
  • Eliminate all fiscal year 2021 funding for the Democracy Fund, which are used to monitor and promote human rights and democracy worldwide.  These programs support the fragile institutions of democracy and fundamental rights in countries where they are threatened. 
  • Eliminate the full amount appropriated in fiscal year 2021 for contributions to international organizations like UNICEF, which saves countless children’s lives. 
  • Rescind $770 million, the full amount appropriated in FY 2021 for assistance for countries in Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia that are U.S. allies and facing constant threats from Russia.

Abandon the most vulnerable among us:

  • Rescind $1.8 billion for assistance for refugees and victims of conflict.  These life-saving funds provide food, water, medicine, and shelter to the world’s most vulnerable people.
  • Rescind all program funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions.  These programs support institutions that invest in our poorest neighborhoods, areas many of which have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.
  • Rescind $1.5 billion in food aid from PL 480 Title II (Food for Peace) while countries like Yemen, Sudan, Niger and countless people around the world face famine and severe hunger. 
  • Rescind $230 million from the McGovern-Dole program, which has improved the nutrition outcomes and school attendance for some of the poorest children in the world.  Nearly a quarter of the world’s children under the age of 5 years suffer from undernutrition. 
  • Rescind $19 million from the Office of the Immigration Detention Ombudsman and $5 million from the ATD Case Management Pilot Program. Sadly, it is no surprise that this Administration would want to rescind funds that shine a light on the conditions of detention for asylum seekers, including women and children, and rescind funds for a humane and cost effective way to monitor immigrants throughout the immigration court process.

Continue to spread anti-science know-nothingism:

  • Rescinds $1.186 billion from the Department of Energy Office of Science, which would result in the dramatic reduction and likely closure of a number of scientific facilities impacting thousands of researchers and harming the United States’ scientific competitiveness around the world.
  • Close the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy Program.
  • Rescind $24.8 million from CDC and NIH provided for Firearm Injury and Mortality Prevention Research, showing callous indifference to the United States’ persistently high rate of firearm deaths.  In 2018, 109 people died from a firearm-related injury each day in our country. 
  • Rescind $212 million, or 29 percent, from Environmental Protection Agency’s research programs.
  • Drastically cut EPA’s environmental justice program in a clear attempt to throw fuel on the fire of racial equity concerns and environmental education.

Deny climate change:

  • Significantly cuts National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration funding for climate research.  Climate change is real and undeniable.
  • Slash funding for energy and renewable energy by over 70 percent.
  • Rescind $509 million in EPA state categorical grants, abandoning support to states carrying out EPA’s delegated authorities on a host of environmental programs.
  • Rescind funding for Advanced Technology Vehicles and Innovative Technology.

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