Under President Donald Trump’s new budget proposal, many domestic programs face drastic cuts or flat out defunding in order to pay for a massive $54 billion increase to defense spending.
Under cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services is the elimination of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program that funds many Meals on Wheels programs across the country.
Meals on Wheels delivers meals to senior citizens who are homebound.
The budget describes CDBG as duplicative and low-impact.
“These programs are anything but low impact. They have a tremendous amount of value,” said Deborah Collins, Director of Human Services for Johnson County. “Senior citizens have paid taxes and been contributing members of their community for their entire lifetime. They have earned the right.”
Johnson County’s Meals on Wheels is run by the Human Services Department. It receives funding through the Federal Human Services Older Americans Act, which could also be stripped to make up the difference of an 18 percent budget cut.
“We serve 550 to 600 people every day on this program,” said Collins.
Also impacting struggling families is a program called LIHEAP, Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program. It subsidizes heating bills for the poor.
In a statement condemning the budget proposal, Missouri Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver said Missourians received $73 million from LIHEAP in 2016, along with $8.5 million for the state’s 5th district from CDBG.
Kansas Congressman Kevin Yoder also has issues with some cuts in the president’s budget. In a statement, Yoder condemned cuts to the National Institute of Health.
“More than 300 members voted to boost medical research by billions in November, we cannot turn around a few short months later and slash its budget. Funding to research cures to the 10,000 known diseases in this world, like cancer, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson's is a priority for every family in America, regardless of political party. I will fight to ensure that these proposed cuts to medical research funding never make it into law."