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Tenney's vote for GOP budget draws protest

Payne Horning
Protesters demonstrate outside of Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney's office after she voted for a GOP bill that would cut funding for entitlement programs and other services for low-moderate income Americans.

A group of protesters recently gathered outside of Mohawk Valley Congresswoman Claudia Tenney's (R-New Hartford) office in New Hartford. They were upset with the Republican representative's vote for a budget resolution that they say would gut services for many New Yorkers who are in need of assistance.

Credit Claudia Tenney for Congress / claudiatenney.com
Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford)

Tenney says she voted for the House resolution because it will get Medicaid and Medicare on a path toward stability, ensuring the recipients "can continue to rely on these programs for years to come." In order to accomplish that, the entitlement programs would be slashed by more than $1 trillion over ten years - unwelcome news for some of Tenney's constituents.

"Claudia Tenney, you can't hide! We don't mourn! We organize!" protesters shouted Wednesday.

Michelle Jackson with the New York City-based Human Services Council says under this proposed budget, the nonprofits she represents will see their own funding reduced, leaving them less able to help the millions of New Yorkers they serve.

"We're very concerned about the cuts to Medicaid because they obviously impact families, but they also impact New York state’s budget and our ability to then pass on either public benefits to people in need or to support nonprofits who serve New Yorkers in many different ways, everything from child care to senior services," Jackson said. 

New York is one of the states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, meaning cuts to the program will have an outsized impact here. It's one of the reasons central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camiluss) says he voted against the budget resolution. But he was one of only two New York Republicans to do so.

"That is going to start blowing potential holes in our state budget," said Ron Deutsch with the progressive-leaning think tank Fiscal Policy Institute in Albany. "That’s going to be really problematic for our state budget, which we already have a budget gap this year, so we’re going to have an even bigger problem filling the holes from the federal government."

But in her statement, Tenney did not characterize it that way. She said cutting the "wasteful out-of-control Washington spending" will balance the country's budget and reduce its debt. 

The GOP-controlled Senate is expected to consider a similar budget resolution next week.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.