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Newest Senator nails Bush on budget

By
February 11, 2006

The budget proposed by President Bush adds to middle-class burdens while providing greater benefits for the wealthy and oil companies, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said Saturday.

"This is a budget that does more than ignore the problems facing the middle class _ it actually makes them worse," Menendez said in the Democrats’ weekly radio address.

Menendez"At the same time, the budget includes a wide variety of handouts to the president’s special-interest friends, including billions of dollars of wasteful spending that would help add $4 trillion to our nation’s debt," said Menendez, the nation’s newest senator.

Menendez served in the House of Representatives for 13 years until Gov. Jon S. Corzine appointed him in January to complete the final year of his Senate term.

Menendez said Bush’s budget for 2007, released Monday, would increase college costs "by locking in the largest student aid cut in the history of our nation."

He also said, "It will increase health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs through new schemes that will expand tax shelters for the healthy and the wealthy and drive up costs for the rest of us."

Meanwhile, Menendez said: "The president proposes spending $648 billion on tax breaks for those earning more than $1 million. That’s more than six times the amount needed to restore the president’s proposed cuts in Medicare."

The budget "rejects Democratic proposals to crack down on oil company price gouging, even though Big Oil has reaped record profits while gas prices have shot through the roof," he added.

Menendez plans to seek a full six-year Senate term, and he is so far unopposed for the Democratic nomination. State Sen. Tom Kean Jr., son of a former New Jersey governor, said he will seek the GOP nomination.