Heitkamp Statement on President’s Topline Budget
Posted 3/20/17 (Mon)
Mar 16 2017
WILLISTON, N.D. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today released the following statement after the administration put out its topline budget for the 2018 fiscal year.
The budget would cut U.S. Department of Agriculture programs that North Dakota farmers rely on by 21 percent. State Department programs that guarantee national security would face 28 percent cuts. The budget also would cut U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spending by 16 percent, putting at risk strong, permanent flood protections in Fargo and Minot.
“Some increases to defense spending are needed, but it’s irrational to pay for those increases by crippling programs that strengthen American families and rural communities,” said Heitkamp. “This budget would seriously hurt North Dakota and rural America. The budget would slash $4.7 billion from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s budget, and reduce staffing at USDA field offices that North Dakota farmers and ranchers rely on. It entirely cuts rural development programs that guarantee clean water for families and businesses in North Dakota—programs that provided our state with $37 million in federal funding in the last two years alone. It would eliminate a program that provided $22 million just last year to help low-income North Dakota families, seniors, and folks in Indian Country heat their homes this winter. By cutting $1 billion in funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this budget would jeopardize flood protections in North Dakota that are critical to keeping our communities strong and safe. The budget would also end a federal program that guarantees affordable air travel in rural communities, which helped Devils Lake’s airport board a record-breaking 6,290 passengers last year. Each year, that program invests $4.2 million in Dickinson’s airport, $4 million in Devils Lake’s, and $2.8 million in Jamestown’s, helping keep rural economies vibrant and connected.
“This budget is a blueprint of the administration’s priorities, but it unfortunately leaves behind North Dakota and rural communities across this country. Ultimately, it's Congress’ job to set spending priorities and fund the government—and I’ll fight to make sure an even-handed approach wins out, so programs North Dakota businesses and families rely on don’t face senseless cuts.”