By Hazel Trice Edney (Trice Edney Wire Editor-in-Chief)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama released his proposed $3.7 trillion budget on Monday, with the $1.1 million in cuts over the next 10 years as promised in his State of the Union Address.
As the months progress and budget debates begin in earnest, it will become clearer what specific social, educational and economic programs might be threatened. Congress will debate for months, at least through June. The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1. At the outset, some proposed cuts that could drastically affect African-Americans are: proposed cuts to low-income heating assistance programs; proposed cuts to summer school funding from Pell Grants and new limits on Pell Grants during the regular semesters (although new increases in Pell Grants to $5,500 a year to help 9 million students will stay in place); and a freeze on annual domestic spending for the next five years, including community service block grants and community action programs (CAPS), in order to reduce the deficit by more than $400 billon on the next decade.
“This freeze will require painful cuts,” Obama said in the State of the Union Address. “I’ve proposed cuts to things I care deeply about, like community action programs. The Secretary of Defense has also agreed to cut tens of billions of dollars in spending that he and his generals believe our military can do without.”
Both Republicans and Democrats will strongly oppose parts of the budget. Republican lawmakers will call for deeper cuts as they set the stage for the 2012 elections. Democrats will fight to protect their interests in social programs for their constituents, as promised by the Congressional Black Caucus.
Committing to work with the administration in finalizing the budget, CBC Chairman Emanuel Cleaver said the Black Caucus will watchfully do its job.
“I want to see everybody get a sip,” he said. I think the president agrees with me that everybody should sip out of the glass.”