Senators criticize Trump's proposed cuts to rural programs

May 30, 2017 02:33 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic senators from rural states are criticizing President Donald Trump's proposed budget, saying it would have "significant negative impacts" on rural America.

Trump's budget released last week would limit rural development programs, which are designed to improve the economy and infrastructure in small towns and other rural areas.

Led by Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, 29 Democratic senators sent a letter to Trump on Tuesday. The letter singled out the rural development cuts and the proposed elimination of an account that pays for rural water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

"These reductions would undermine the ability of local communities to support rural home ownership, provide clean drinking and waste water systems and promote access to critical services such as rural hospitals, police and firefighters," the senators wrote. "If enacted, these cuts would have a damaging impact on rural communities throughout the country."

The Republican chairmen of the Senate and House agriculture committees have also criticized the suggested steep cuts to farm programs, including subsidies for crop insurance, an overwhelmingly popular program with farmers who purchase the policies to manage risk. The budget would also limit spending on environmentally friendly conservation programs.

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