Domestic needs getting short shrift in budget, Warner says

by Bill Nachman - Posted on May 02, 2012 - 04:13 PM

Photo: U.S. Sen. Mark Warner conducted a town hall meeting Tuesday at Daffodil Gardens, a senior community in Gloucester, that focused on issues of concern to senior citizens since May is Older Americans Month. Photo by Bill Nachman

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner conducted a town hall meeting Tuesday at Daffodil Gardens, a senior community in Gloucester, that focused on issues of concern to senior citizens since May is Older Americans Month. Photo by Bill Nachman

"We’ve been punting on these problems for so long," U.S. Senator Mark Warner said of health care and other benefits that affect senior citizens.

During a town hall meeting at Daffodil Gardens senior community in Gloucester on Tuesday afternoon, Warner told the more than 80 invited persons in attendance that the federal government’s response to health care reform has been "half-baked" and is nowhere close to completion.

Warner said that too little of the federal budget trickles down to taxpayers. For example, he said that only 14 cents out of every federal budget dollar are earmarked for domestic needs as varied as senior assistance, education, research and development, roads and other transportation infrastructure, and a lengthy list of other services.

Unfortunately, Warner said members of Congress often tend to keep chopping down the 14 percent instead of adequately funding a wide range of much-needed services.

The budget deficit has increased at the expense of many services, including those that affect senior citizens, Warner said. Congress must try to cut spending and also adjust the tax rates in order to bring the budget more into balance, he said, noting that there have only been about a half-dozen balanced federal budgets in the past 70 years.