Memphis and Shelby County will get nearly $5.3-million to help the homeless. But a budget battle with President Bush could cause problems in the long run. The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the multi-million dollar grants Monday. Part of the funding will be used to operate their new permanent housing facility for homeless and disabled veterans. Mayor AC Wharton says he's excited about the new funds. But he voiced concerns about the effect possible Bush budget cuts will have on the programs in the county. "We operate the jail, we operated The Med, we are the government of last resort. That's why I protest so vehemently. I just hope that does not happen."
That financial situation includes proposed cuts to more than one hundred other programs in President Bush's new budget. At a news conference Monday, the Office of Management and Budget discussed the details of the President's plan for fiscal year 2006. Although congressional approval will be tough, the administration thinks the budget will pass. Joshua Bolten, Management & Budget Dept. said, "So we're expecting that we're headed into an extensive and serious negotiation with a lot of members on the Hill, but we've had terrific cooperation from the leadership in both houses, from the budget chairs, from the appropriations chairs, in trying to see to it that we try to live in the restraints that the President's seeking." Another area for possible cuts in President Bush's budget battle includes Farm Bureaus across the country. The American Farm Bureau Federation, representing Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi, sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, voicing concern about cuts. The letter says reductions or restructuring of the 2002 Farm Bill would "seriously undermine many nutrition, conservation crop insurance and farm programs that are important to all Americans."