Bipartisan group rips GOP for budget cuts

Feb. 25, 2011 at 12:45 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Leaders of the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors said Thursday they will fight the cuts set forth in the Republicans' House spending bill.

Elisabeth Kautz, the mayor of Burnsville, Minn., and the conference president, said if the mayors aren't successful in behind-the-scenes efforts this week, they will organize civic and local groups in a march on the Capitol next month, Washington's The Hill reported.

"The impacts are devastating. As we stand here knowing what happened in the House, our only hope is in the Senate," said Kautz.

The group first and foremost will focus on halting a 62.5 percent cut in the Community Development Block Grant program, The Hill reported.

While President Obama's 2012 budget request likewise called for cuts to the program, his only called for a 7.5 percent cut.

The mayors' group said it isn't as concerned about Obama's smaller cut at this point in time.

"When you have a bazooka pointed at your head, it is hard to think about what you will have for breakfast tomorrow," Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said.

Nutter said the House bill is "un-American" and intended to hurt the poor, elderly and children.

"You cannot run a country while attacking its own people," said Nutter.

The Republican mayor of Oklahoma City, Mick Cornett, said the House is wrong minded about how to balance the budget and is hypocritical for making the cuts.

Scott Smith, the mayor of Mesa, Ariz., calling the cuts "an atrocity," said the cuts mean the burden of caring for the homeless and hungry would shift to overburdened municipal governments.

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