Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has doubts about the viability of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget. The Senate Minority leader aired his thoughts on the budget plan in Saratoga County Thursday.
Senator Chuck Schumer appeared outside a Clifton Park home on Thursday to call attention to a suggestion made by newly confirmed U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
With the Jerams, a young family of five at his side, the Senate Minority leader claimed a reduction in mortgage interest and state and local property tax deductions would hit homeowners in upstate New York, where there is a higher percentage of homeownership than downstate, particularly hard.
But it wasn’t long into his pitch when he was interrupted by 5-year-old Jimmy Jeram.
“Saratoga County, the residential home sale price was $273,000. So that’s a lot of money. Very few people have enough to just have a down payment of $273,000. So people have significant mortgages,” said Schumer.
“Is Donald Trump gonna take our money?” asked Jeram.
“Is Donald Trump gonna take our money?” repeated the kindergartner, who was not paying too much attention to the subject of mortgages and tax credits.
“No!” said Schumer. “That’s why I’m here!”
Schumer turned to the pool of chuckling reporters and photographers. “He said is Donald Trump gonna take our money! He knew! This kid has a future!”
Just hours before the press conference, President Donald Trump released his plans for the federal budget. The budget outline calls for massive cuts to domestic programs in order to fund a $54 billion increase in defense spending, the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and a boost to Homeland Security.
The Senate Minority leader expressed doubts that the budget would get very far in Congress.
“The bad news is the budget proposed. The good news is Democrats and Republicans are saying they’re not gonna pass it and I’m one of those,” said Schumer.
In fact, the two Congressional representatives who serve Saratoga County, Democrat Paul Tonko and Republican Elise Stefanik, while differing in tone, both issued statements against the proposal and its cuts to individual programs.
Schumer criticized Trump’s plan to cut funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by a third.
“There are many small communities here in the Capital Region that need new water and sewer. And there are grants that come out of EPA that help fund it. What are they gonna do?” asked Schumer.
He spoke out against cuts to medical research through the National Institutes of Health.
“Terrible! We’re one of the centers of medical research here in the Capital Region. At University of Albany, and so many of our other schools. They cut science the same way so it would affect RPI and all the engineering stuff we do up here,” said Schumer.
Broad cuts to departments like Education, Transportation, Agriculture, and cuts to programs like LIHEAP, which provides home heating assistance to low-income households, Schumer claimed the cuts go too far.
He did say there is room to increase spending on defense without gutting important domestic programs.
“We’ve had a watch-word that there should be parity. So instead of $54 billion in military increase you can do 20 or 30 and do the same on the domestic side,” said Schumer.
The Democrat also took time to cast doubt on the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. He acknowledged Obamacare needs fixing but slammed the so-called American Health Care Act’s cuts to Medicaid.
“This has loads of problems and that’s why it’s not getting a great reception from Democrats and Republicans alike.”
For his part, President Trump tweeted that “A budget that puts
#AmericaFirst must make safety its no. 1 priority—without safety there can be no prosperity.”