Republican Rep. Chris Collins of New York, who was among President Donald Trump's most loyal surrogates during the 2016 presidential campaign, distanced himself from some parts of the president's proposed budget plan, including defunding Meals on Wheels.
"This is the president's budget, I'm not sure where the details came from. But when we get into appropriations, Meals on Wheels is a wonderful program. It is one I would never vote to cut even one dollar," Collins told CNN.
During the CNN news segment, host Van Jones spoke to Christa Patton, a home-bound senior citizen, who relies on Meals on Wheels.
"How else would I eat? I don't know. I really don't know how I would receive healthy foods," Patton said. "I used to joke about senior citizens eating dog food. I can understand now, exactly what they are talking about."
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During the White House press briefing on March 16, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney explained why Trump, a self-described billionaire businessman, is seeking to cut aid to a program that gives food to elderly people.
"Meals on Wheels sounds great," Mulvaney said. "We're going to spend a lot of money, but we're not going to spend on programs that cannot show that they actually deliver the promises that we've made to people."
But it's not just the cutting of Meals on Wheels that Collins has a problem with in regards to Trump's budget proposal. In a statement published on his website, Collins listed several other programs that are slated to be cut, including the Great Lakes Initiative, which aims to improve the water quality in the Great Lakes region, which is where Collins' district in Western New York is located.
"The budget’s $54 billion increase in defense spending is much needed, and I fully support the increase in military funding. Additionally, President Trump promised to secure our borders, and this budget lays the groundwork for building a wall and taking the necessary steps to ensure our nation’s border security," Collins said. "However, I have several concerns about significant cuts to local programs, which I believe go too far. I worked for more than two years to help write and pass the 21st Century Cures Initiative, and I fully believe that the funding guidelines established in that legislation must be followed. The $5.8 billion cut to NIH is drastic. I will do whatever I can to ensure that the Appropriations Committee recognizes how crucial medical research is to Western New York and the millions of Americans whose lives could be saved with better medical research."
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Collins continued: "The Great Lakes are a crucial part of Western New York’s economy. I have always fought to protect them and have voted to increase funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at every opportunity. I will do the same this time around. Western New Yorkers can rest assured I will be fighting tooth and nail to restore the program’s funding."