by Félix Pérez
Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney praised the budget plan put forward by a top U.S. House Republican leader, calling the plan “bold and exciting.”
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan has been sharply criticized by advocates for children, the elderly and public education, who charge the blueprint fails the test of balance, fairness, and shared responsibility, while pandering to a small percentage of wealthy individuals.
“I’m very supportive of the Ryan budget plan,” declared Romney. “It’s a bold and exciting effort on his part and on the part of the Republicans and it’s very much consistent with what I put out earlier . . . I applaud it. It’s an excellent piece of work and very much needed.”
The Ryan plan is scheduled to be voted on by the House this Thursday, where it is expected to pass on strictly party-line vote.
Romney’s support notwithstanding, the budget proposal has been met with disbelief, as families, schools and communities continue to struggle with the economic downturn.
The National Education Association, in a letter to the House Budget Committee, said the budget “reflects the wrong priorities, choosing to meet arbitrary budget targets on the backs of the middle class and our most vulnerable populations.”
The Food Research and Action Center, a national nonprofit that works to eradicate hunger and undernutrition, said the Ryan plan would force states to make “impossible choices” regarding food assistance: “Do they cut benefits, or do they place children and seniors on waiting lists for food assistance?”
According to the Coalition on Human Needs, the proposal “pursues a dangerous vision,” adding, “Slashing education, from preschool to Pell Grants, means the next generation will have fewer opportunities to qualify for good jobs. Massive cuts in health care and nutrition will threaten our children’s health and development; cuts in housing will threaten family stability.”
An analysis by NEA found that the Ryan budget proposal would eliminate more than 190,000 Head Start slots for children from low-income families, lead to the loss of jobs of 29,000 special education teachers and teacher aides, and reduce or eliminate Title I services to 4 million students.
Find out how your state would fare under the Romney-supported budget proposal on Head Start, special education and Title 1. Take action: Tell Congress to reject the draconian Ryan budget and to pass a budget resolution that reflects the President’s emphasis on education as a top priority.