WASHINGTON – Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said President Trump is a “heartless president” for viewing the federal budget in terms of “dollar signs and decimal points.”
“When it comes to federal spending, one thing has become clear over the past month. Republicans and this heartless president, they think about budgets in terms of dollar signs and decimal points, but as I’ve said over and over again, budgets are moral documents. They put on paper the principles and the priorities of the nation,” Lee, a member of the House Budget Committee, said during a press conference on Tuesday held to show support for lifting the FY2018 domestic spending caps.
Lee said the Trump administration’s “heartless” FY2018 budget proposal eliminates $200 billion in food assistance funding.
“Regardless of who you are, no child should go hungry at night. These devastating cuts are just the tip of the iceberg. In nearly every area imaginable, Republicans take an ax to the basic living standards that people deserve,” she said.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) described the GOP majority’s appropriations strategy as one that “sows uncertainty” because it does not follow regular order.
“They will need to seek compromise and consensus if they are going to govern, which of course is their responsibility as the majority party,” he said. “That means embracing parity and working with Democrats to keep the government open and avoid default.”
Hoyer said he remains “hopeful” that Democrats will reach an “agreement” with congressional Republicans to lift the spending caps.
“We are hopeful they will agree with us that we need to lift the caps. Clearly, they have a priority and that is defense spending. Our national security is critically important. We don’t disagree with that. What we disagree with is the concept that spending on the non-defense discretionary side of the budget is not equally important to our national security,” he said.
Hoyer was asked if the latest budget agreement between the White House and Democrats on raising the debt limit as part of a Hurricane Harvey relief package is a sign that Democrats are ready to work with Trump.
“I suppose he sided with the Democrats on that. Whether or not we can work with the president will depend upon whether he supports and proposes things we think are good for the country, are rational and will make us more secure and more successful and more job-creating. If he does, we will support it,” he said.
Hoyer also said that Republicans have not been able to pass spending bills without relying on Democratic votes.
“Although we are in the minority, let me remind you of what I said at the beginning, the Republicans have not passed a fiscal bill, a continuing resolution, an appropriations CR or omnibus without significant Democratic votes and, in some instances, not in every instance, with the majority of votes being cast for that bill being Democrat votes,” he said. “So we have a lot of leverage … and we intend to use it.”