Washington, DC—As the Senate resumes consideration of the Fiscal Year 2009 budget resolution today, U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) is continuing to work with his colleagues to fund important projects crucial to South Dakota and the nation. Johnson recently secured language in the resolution emphasizing the importance the state’s water projects, and is leading the fight to protect Medicaid and Medicare from devastating cuts.
“I have built a career on fiscal responsibility, and it works best when used together with a strong dose of fiscal reality,” Johnson said. “President Bush’s budget is an unrealistic document that underfunds some of the most important projects for South Dakota and the nation. I will continue to work with bipartisan members of the Senate to take care of these projects now, so they won’t cost more to address later.”
Johnson recently secured language in the budget resolution currently before the Senate emphasizing the importance of fully-funding water projects like Lewis & Clark, the Mni Wiconi Rural Water System and the Perkins County Rural Water System. President Bush did not request any federal funding for the Lewis and Clark Rural Water Project, and only requested $26.24 million for construction and operations for Mni Wiconi.
“President Bush may have said our drinking water is not important, but I will fight to make sure that Congress sends exactly the opposite message with our budget proposal,” Johnson said.
Earlier this month, Johnson wrote a letter to Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Conrad (D-ND) opposing devastating cuts to Medicaid and Medicare that would slash payments to rural providers, including hospitals, nursing homes, ambulances, and home health agencies. The President’s budget reduces costs under Medicare by $12.8 billion in FY09 and by more than $180 billion over five years. The budget resolution under consideration by the Senate rejects those cuts, which would have cut funding to South Dakota providers by $200 million over five years.
“Seniors should not have to spend their golden years struggling to pay for the most basic of health care needs. The fastest growing segment of our population is those 85 years old and older. The cuts proposed to Medicaid and Medicare by this Administration are impractical and come at the worst time for our nation’s seniors,” continued Johnson.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Johnson will continue to fight to fund these projects and programs as the budget process moves forward. The Senate is expected to continue consideration of the resolution this week.