WASHINGTON – Friday, Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan held a press conference at New Futures in Concord to highlight the devastating impact President Trump’s budget proposal would have on New Hampshire, particularly undermining those on the front lines combating the heroin, opioid, and fentanyl crisis with reckless cuts to prevention, treatment, and recovery programs.
See below for highlights of the coverage:
By Adam Sexton
U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan held a press conference Friday afternoon at New Futures in Concord to discuss the impact of President Donald Trump’s budget on New Hampshire.
… “Both Conway and Price said that combating the nation's opioid crisis was a top priority for the president, but the president's budget does not back up that assertion,” New Futures CEO Linda Saunders Paquette said.
Both lawmakers and nonprofit employees said the budget would devastate a wide range of government services in the Granite State, from law enforcement drug task forces to the children's health insurance program.
“It makes no sense for our future to take health insurance away from children and other vulnerable Americans in order to make room for tax cuts for those at the top,” Shaheen said.
Shaheen and Hassan said the White House budget would eliminate 67 after-school programs in New Hampshire that benefit more than 10,000 students.
It would also initiate another round of military base realignment and closure, putting the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard at risk.
Critics said even the numbers don't make sense.
“This is not even a budget that is fiscally responsible. It double counts. It says economic growth is going to pay both for tax cuts for those on the top as well as balance the budget,” Hassan said.
By Allie Morris
President Trump’s latest budget proposal doesn’t match promises his top advisors made in New Hampshire recently to prioritize fighting the opioid crisis, advocates said Friday.
The spending blueprint restores some of the initial plan’s cuts, but still slashes funding for law enforcement efforts meant to curb illegal drugs, prevention programs and workforce development for addiction counselors, said Linda Saunders Paquette, President of New Futures advocacy group.
The “cruelest cut of all,” she said, is the proposal to significantly curtail Medicaid spending, which gives addiction coverage to thousands in the state.
… New Hampshire’s two Democratic U.S. Senators panned Trump’s budget Friday, raising concern with the proposed cuts to education, Planned Parenthood and environmental initiatives. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen called it an “assault on New Hampshire.”
… Some proposed cuts in Trump’s first budget plan, slammed by New Hampshire lawmakers, have been rolled back. His budget blueprint now trims roughly $8 million from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, instead of the $364 million cut previously planned, Saunders Paquette said. The office coordinates drug policy efforts across the federal government and administers grants to help law enforcement and prevention programs in states including New Hampshire.
Beyond funding to fight the opioid crisis, Shaheen and U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan raised concern about cuts to food stamps, after school and student loan programs.
Funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant program, which supports 67 after-school programs in the state, would be eliminated under the blueprint, they said. So too would Community Development Block Grants, which help develop affordable housing and fund economic development projects. Recently, the YMCA in Concord won a $500,000 grant under the program to update a historic firehouse that hosts its child care facility.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen at a press conference with Sen. Maggie Hassan on Friday called President Donald Trump's proposed budget and possible cuts to drug abuse services an "assault on New Hampshire."
The senators analyzed how the new budget plan would limit or eliminate essential programs in New Hampshire that are used to fight the drug epidemic.
… "I am particularly disturbed to see cuts to critical programs that are integral to our efforts to combat the heroin, fentanyl, and opioid crisis that is devastating our communities and taking a toll on our economy," Shaheen said.
Shaheen specifically focused on how the new budget would affect Medicaid.
"The expansion of Medicaid has been a vital tool in our fight against the opioid epidemic," Shaheen said. "It provides coverage for over 186,000 Granite Staters, many being children.
"On the campaign trail, Candidate Trump pledged not to cut Medicaid, yet in his first budget, President Trump proposes a staggering $1.4 trillion cut to Medicaid over the next 10 years. This will affect those treated for substance abuse disorders around New Hampshire.
… Hassan reiterated how she felt the budget would further affect the fight against addiction.
"We know we have to do more for those struggling (with addiction) and those trying to defeat this epidemic," Hassan said. "But President Trump's proposed budget does exactly the opposite of that."
Hassan said Trump's budget would "cut Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration by $372 million dollars."
SAMHSA programs aim to stop and prevent substance misuse at state and regional levels, and these cuts could affect the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant program.
The budget "cuts millions from the high intensity drug trafficking area programs, those have been critical programs where our law enforcement partners with federal agencies to go after the dealers who are bringing these awful, illicit substances into our state," Hassan said.
Hassan and other speakers at the conference spoke on different aspects of the budget and how it affected areas such as Planned Parenthood and public education. A full video of the press conference can be found on the NH1 Facebook page.