GOP’s Potential Budget Cuts Concern Plaskett

Some of President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders may impact the territory, and early signals from the new Congress suggest possible cuts in vital areas of service in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Delegate Stacy Plaskett said Monday.

“In addition to our territorial fiscal crisis, there are changes being made in Washington – namely the White House executive actions as well as signals by the Republican Congress to make deep budget cuts in vital areas of service – many that have the potential to impact funding to vital programs in the territory," Plaskett said in a statement announcing she would be staying in D.C. this week, in part for meetings with GOP officials.

"These issues require immediate attention and, as the people have elected me to advocate on their behalf in Washington, I believe the best use of my time is there doing that work,” Plaskett said.

Asked how the territory might be affected, Plaskett’s office said both Trump and the Republican leadership have been speaking about reducing spending.

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In an email, Plaskett’s spokesman Richard Motta said, "Specifically, Speaker (Paul) Ryan (R-WI) has outlined cuts to social safety programs. We are trying to get a clear understanding of the administration’s priorities and how they align with Congress with respect to the budget"

Motta said the White House had signaled a freeze in grants to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which may impact the V.I. air and water monitoring programs through the Department of Planning and Natural Resources. The president’s executive order on the Affordable Care Act could impact programs within the V.I. Department of Health.

Congress is in session and Plaskett said she had a commitment as the House floor manager on Monday, the rescheduled date of Mapp’s state of the territory address. Plaskett has a meeting Tuesday with Ryan and Congressional leadership and will meet with Treasury and Department of Interior later this week, according to her office. 

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