WASHINGTON - Congressiona Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver II, had the follwoing reaction to President Barack Obama’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget:
“As we leave behind the worst recession in generations, we remain committed to working with President Barack Obama to rebuild our economy and win the future for generations to come.
Rebuilding our economy on the backs of the most vulnerable Americans is something that I simply can not accept. For example, the President’s recommendations to slash Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding that ensures economic growth in our communities is troubling. Moreover, the recommendations to consolidate programs in the Department of Education that overwhelmingly support the educational development of our children, and to freeze salaries of federal workers who in many instances—in communities of color—are disproportionately the primary bread winners in their homes is equally problematic.
We do, however, applaud the President’s efforts to strengthen and spur economic development by funding Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and by establishing Economic Growth zones in hard-hit urban and rural communities. Additionally, doubling the loan amounts that are available to the HBCU community is a great step in the right direction for providing these institutions with the tools needed for capacity building to educate our children. Finally, cutting Defense spending on redundant and unnecessary programs is the most critical component to eliminating the budget deficit and winning the future.
I understand that now is the time for us as a Nation to sacrifice in order to protect our children from a mountain of debt; however, I am struggling to understand how this budget helps us to best achieve this critical goal. Cutting funding to programs that assist hard-working Americans, help families heat their homes, and expand access to graduate-level education seems to conflict with the notion of winning the future. We cannot win the future by leaving our most vulnerable behind. Our success as a Nation is interwoven in the success of every community. Until we grasp that concept, as a Nation, we will never see the full potential of this country.”