Despite Trump’s campaign promises to the coal workers, the unemployed workers are now worried about losing their social programs.
President Donald Trump has proposed eliminating funding for social programs supporting laid-off coal miners and others in Appalachia, stirring fears in a region that supported him of another letdown on the heels of the coal industry’s collapse, reported Raw Story.
The White House submitted the 2018 budget proposal to Congress on Thursday, and it intends to cut funds to the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The Washington-based organizations assist with diversifying the economies of states like West Virginia and Kentucky to help them recover from coal’s decline.
The proposed cuts would save the federal government $340 million. Trump seeks to cut many federal programs so there is more money to cover his proposed $54 Billion increase for the war budget.
Many Appalachian residents see this move as a betrayal of his campaign promises to help coal miners.
“Folks that live in Appalachia believe that the ARC belongs to them,” said federal ARC Co-Chair Earl Gohl. “It’s really their organization.”
Republican Congressman Hal Rogers, who represents eastern Kentucky’s coal counties, vowed to fight for funding when Congress negotiates the budget later this year.
“It’s true that the president won his election in rural country. I would really like to see him climb aboard the ARC vehicle as a way to help us help ourselves,” Rogers said.
400 of the 420 counties ARC operates in voted for Trump in November’s election, largely due to his promises to help them. Now many feel like Trump only lied to them to get their votes.
The 52-year old agency has run more than 650 projects in Appalachia’s 13 states between 2011 and 2015 costing hundreds of millions of dollars. Its programs are expected to create or retain more than 23,670 jobs and train and educate over 49,000 students and workers, the organization said.
Trump vowed during his campaign that the White House would put American coal miners back to work, in part by cutting environmental regulations ushered in by Obama, mainly aimed at curbing climate change but characterized by Trump as hampering the industry.
However, many industry experts and coal miners doubt that rolling back regulation alone can revive the coal mining industry, which faces stiff competition from abundant and cheap natural gas in fueling U.S. power generation.
Trump has shown his campaign promises were just attempts to get votes. His promises to coal country are about as valuable as his promise of healthcare for everyone.
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)