Monday, March 14, 2011

Republicans Take From American Familes To Give To The Rich

With oil prices now more than $100 a barrel, gas prices pushing $4 a gallon and oil companies reporting tens of billions of dollars in profits every quarter, it seems like it's time for Congress to eliminate tax credits for the oil and gas industry.

The budget President Obama submitted to Congress last month proposed repealing oil and gas subsidies – subsidies that come in the form of tax credits, or in plain terms, taxpayers giving their money to oil, gas and coal companies. The White House estimates that repealing those fossil energy company tax credits would save $46 billion, but House Republicans strongly defend those taxpayer giveaways.

After extending the Bush tax cuts for billionaires in December, which worsens the budget deficit by $900 billion, the Republicans passed $60 billion in spending cuts for programs that range from disaster relief funding to helping young people find jobs. Here are a few of the programs House Republicans voted to slash.

1) The National Weather Service

The bill stripped $126 million from the Natural Weather Service, the agency within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tasked with preparing us for natural disasters such as tsunamis, hurricanes, blizzards, floods and fires.

It's the same agency that issued a tsunami warning Friday for people on the West Coast after an 8.9 magnitude earthquake devastated Japan. The measure cut a total of $454.3 million from NOAA operations, research and facilities.

2) Emergency Oil Reserves

The GOP budget plan slashed $120.2 million from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a critical source of emergency oil supplies in case flow is interrupted.

In the wake of the earthquake in Japan, President Barack Obama said the US is "prepared to tap " into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve "should the situation demand it."

3) Assistance For Firefighters

$510 million was axed from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's grants for firefighters, part of a broader $1.5 billion cut to various FEMA programs.

4) Communication Among Emergency Responders

The Law Enforcement Wireless Communications office took a $70 million cut -- it's responsible for facilitating "secure, reliable and interoperable" communications to help with "counterterrorism, counterintelligence, law enforcement and emergency response."

According to the New York Times, an improved capacity for public safety officers across different jurisdictions to effectively communicate with each other would have dramatically helped first responders on 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.

5) Oversight Of Financial Markets

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, tasked with overseeing derivative swaps and financial instruments, saw a $56.8 billion cut in the GOP plan. The financial crisis of 2008-09 is believed to have been caused by a lack of effective oversight. (President Obama wants to increase CFTC's funding.)

6) Prosecution Of Financial Crimes

In the wake of Bernie Madoff, and after big banks apparently got away with suckering people into predatory loans, Republicans voted to cut $2.1 million from the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

7) Helping Women Escape Domestic Abuse

The Legal Services Corporation, which provides civil legal aid to people who make up to 125 percent of the federal poverty line, was targeted for $70 million in cuts by Republicans. Such cuts, if enacted, would strip critical assistance for women in domestic abuse cases as well as custody, eviction and foreclosure cases.

8) Helping Teens Avoid Unwanted Pregnancy

Republicans may fiercely oppose abortion, but they're not interested in funding efforts to prevent unwanted teen pregnancies either. They opted to eliminate $110 million in community grants for teen pregnancy prevention.

9) Helping Young People Get Jobs

The party that promised to focus like a laser on job creation voted to gut all $300 million in funding for the Department of Labor's Office of Job Corps -- a program that offers education and training for low-income Americans 16 and above so they can better find a job.

The unemployment rate for 16 to 19-year-old Americans was 23.9 percent last month.

10) Helping International Children Survive Into Adulthood

Republicans sought to axe $783.5 million from the USAID's Child Survival and Health Grants Program, which offers aid to programs that seek to mitigate life-endangering poverty in some of the world's most underdeveloped regions.

No comments:

Post a Comment