(Boston, MA) – State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) spent three days in the nation’s capital last week. He joined five Senate colleagues and staff in gathering information on the upcoming federal budget process and advocating that changes to the federal budget and programs do not adversely impact the Commonwealth.
“I am glad to have an opportunity to meet with so many federal agencies to advocate for issues vital to Massachusetts, especially those important to Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket," said Senator Cyr. “The Senate delegation made clear how much Massachusetts stands to lose if the administration and Congress move forward with the current budget proposals, and forged contacts that will be valuable as the new administration considers new policies and priorities.”
Under various proposals before Congress, Massachusetts is at risk of losing federal dollars that the state relies on to fund longterm care for seniors, people living with disabilities, health research, transportation infrastructure, housing development, and more. Massachusetts currently receives about $11 billion in federal monies that account for approximately one quarter of the state’s 40 billion dollar budget. In the Trump Administration's skinny budget proposal, Massachusetts is at risk of losing over $2 billion in federal funds.
“These proposed cuts would devastate our state's budget and harm working families throughout the Commonwealth, which is why we traveled to our nation’s capital to meet with our delegation, federal agencies, and national policy organizations to receive as much information as possible about how we can protect Massachusetts moving forward,” said Senator DiDomenico.
While in Washington, Senator Cyr met with a number of federal agencies, including the Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of the Interior.
Senator Cyr was asked to join the trip given his leadership of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business, an area where the state relies heavily on federal grants and tax credits to invest in communities and promote affordable housing. As the Cape & Islands grapple with a severe lack of affordable and middle-income housing, the Senator stressed the importance continued federal support for community development block grants (CDBG) at a meeting with senior administrators the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
During a meeting at the Department of the Interior, Senator Cyr highlighted the importance of the Cape Cod National Seashore and urged the department to reconsider its decision relative to jurisdiction over Monomoy Island in Chatham. At the Department of Transportation, Senator Cyr discussed the necessity of funding for the preservation and maintenance of local harbors and ports. The Trump Administration has highlighted investment in the nation's ports as a key infrastructure priority. State and federal response to the opioid epidemic were the main topic at a meeting with the Department of Health and Human Services. Senator Cyr urged HHS' Administration of Children & Families to consider the unanticipated needs of families, particularly grandparents raising grandchildren, as a result of the epidemic. The Massachusetts delegation discussed the importance of funding for higher education and student tuition assistance with leadership of the Department of Education. Cyr also met with Pew Charitable Trusts on policy innovations to improve access to dental care, which remains a major challenge for Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket residents.
Additionally, Senator Cyr met with Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congressman Bill Keating. He joined nearly all the members of the Massachusetts’ congressional delegation for a briefing on the implications of changes in federal funding to the Massachusetts.
The trip to Washington D.C. took place from April 25-27th and was organized by Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs. Senator Linda Dorcena-Forry (D-Boston), Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs, Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), Senator Adam Hinds (D-Pittsfield), and Senator Joe Boncore (D-Winthrop) also participated.