Although many critics have accused President Barack Obama of targeting the pockets of wealthy Americans, his budget proposal for 2012 could also strip poor Americans of billions of dollars worth of aid.
According to media reports, the President's plan includes cutting the Community Services Block Grants — which fund ant-poverty initiatives throughout the United States — in half, saving approximately $350 million. In addition, Obama has called on lawmakers to slash the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program from $5 billion to $2.6 billion. The National Energy Assistance Directors' Association reports that, if approved, the President's budget would exclude about 3 million households from the program.
Although Obama has stated that some of the money saved will go toward the most effective anti-poverty efforts in America, many organization leaders are concerned that low-income Americans will be harmed by these cuts. Ralph Markus, director of the Office of Home Energy Programs, said that a lot of low-income homes would be heating-deprived if the budget is enacted.
Reverend Larry Snyder, the president of Catholic Charities USA, said that he understands the tough choices facing Federal lawmakers, but he believes the wrong group of Americans will suffer from proposed cuts.
"We reject the notion that those most vulnerable among us should feel the greatest impact of future reductions," said Snyder.