“The Contrast Between Right and Wrong Has Never Been So Clear”
Donald Trump has issued his proposed budget that eliminates all of the federal funding in the annual budget of the Community Action Lehigh Valley. Alan L. Jennings, the agency’s executive for 28 years, issued the following statement in response to the president’s budget proposal:
The president of the United States has defined himself, once again, by the actions he has taken. In order to fund a wall that won’t work, a defense budget the Joint Chiefs of Staff didn’t seek, and a tax cut the people who benefitted most didn’t need, Mr. Trump has proposed a federal budget that turns its back on tens of millions of Americans. If we interpret a budget as a reflection of the priorities of the individual who proposed it, this president, once again, has made it clear that he has lost any claim on a moral compass. Lacking that compass, the president can stake no claim on right versus wrong. It would be wrong to shut down the largest shelter for homeless families with children in the region. It would be wrong to shut down our revitalization of neighborhoods. It would be wrong to shut down a weatherization program that reduces heating costs, wrong to shut down programs that teach people to help themselves, wrong to stop saving homeowners from foreclosures, wrong to look someone in the eye and tell them they don’t matter. The contrast between right and wrong has never been so clear.
In dramatically reducing and, in some cases, eliminating funding of such programs as the Community Services Block Grant, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the Community Development Block Grant, the Weatherization Assistance Program and others, the president’s budget, if adopted by the Congress, would shut down the Community Action Lehigh Valley. Community Action has stood up on behalf of those who have been knocked down for more than five decades. And, while barely 20% of our funding comes from federal funding, this funding is key to the agency’s ability to leverage other funding.
We look forward to the support of the majority in the Congress, both Republican and Democrat, and yearn for the day when Americans relearn the lesson that we are only great when everyone has access to opportunity, the ability to pursue that opportunity and a voice in the decisions that affect their lives. Great countries do not turn their backs on those whose skills are of limited value in the marketplace or those too old or too young to work. Great countries invest in themselves, learn from the past, improve on the present and build a future that leaves no one behind.
Mr. Trump has, yet again, divided our country. There is not a single person who has gone down in history admired as one who divided people, pitting them against each other, turning a deaf ear to their cries or a blind eye to their suffering. The great, admired, respected people throughout history have always been those who stood up to injustice, fought back against oppression and lifted up those who fell down.