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Joe Biden calls Trump budget, policies a ‘change in the landscape’

Governor of New York State Andrew Cuomo, left,

Governor of New York State Andrew Cuomo, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden speak on stage at the HELP USA 30th Anniversary Event at The Plaza Hotel on March 16, 2017 in New York City. Credit: Getty Images / Monica Schipper

Former Vice President Joe Biden described President Donald Trump’s new budget plan and new policies as a “change in the landscape” during a speech in Manhattan on Thursday.

Biden, speaking at a luncheon for HELP USA, a nonprofit founded 30 years ago by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, told a room of social service advocates gathered at the Plaza Hotel: “There’s a change in the landscape out there folks . . . we have a hell of a lot of work to do.”

Biden, a Democrat, who did not name Trump during his remarks, said the Obama administration passed $6.4 billion in funding to research cancer and other diseases last year, projects that now face an uncertain future under the “new budget.”

Trump’s budget proposal, released Thursday, calls for a $15.1 billion cut to the Department of Health and Human Services, including a $5.8 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health, which funds research aimed at finding cures for a host of diseases.

“Instead of working to give life and meaning to the proposition that mental health should be covered as thoroughly, as significantly as physical health . . . now we’re relitigating the proposition of whether or not health care is a right. I thought we settled that,” Biden said, referring to Trump’s efforts to repeal the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act.

The former vice president, who was introduced by Cuomo and presented a Humanitarian Award by the group, also denounced the new administration’s immigration enforcement policies as they related to women.

He noted under the Obama administration, Congress passed a bipartisan measure that protected immigrant women who reported their abusers to authorities, from the risk of deportation.

In February, a 32-year-old transgender woman living in El Paso, Texas, without legal status, was deported to Mexico after initially turning to authorities to seek a protective order against an abusive boyfriend. Domestic violence advocates have criticized the move, saying it will discourage victims from reporting abuse.

“Instead of encouraging immigrant women to come out of the shadows, protect themselves, because they are victimized in the extreme, because their abusers know they cannot go anywhere . . . now we’re . . . forcing them to continue to be brutalized . . . or be deported,” Biden said.

The White House did not immediately return a request seeking comment.

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