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By Josh Richman, Oakland Tribune

Wednesday March 23, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO -- U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer brought fiery rhetoric and a few real-life stories to bear Wednesday on what she called an "outrageous" Republican budget plan that would cost America jobs and lives.

"Behind each of these Republican proposed cuts, there are thousands, maybe millions of people who would be hurt," Boxer, D-Calif., said at a news conference at San Francisco's Ferry Building.

With Boxer was Hobert Lee, 52, of San Francisco, a Marine Corps veteran who five years ago found himself homeless, HIV-positive and abusing drugs. Lee said he made a decision to turn his life around and found the help he needed at Swords to Plowshares, a San Francisco nonprofit operating the Treasure Island Transitional Housing Program in which he got a roof over his head and a chance to get clean. Now he's working on a degree so he can counsel other vets in similar straits.

But Boxer said the type of housing voucher program for homeless vets that helped Lee would be gutted by HR 1, House Republicans' budget bill. Passed by the House on Feb. 19 on a 235-189 vote, HR 1 would quickly cut more than $60 billion mostly from domestic programs in the budget for fiscal year 2011, ending Sept. 30.

Also with Boxer was Heather Penman of Concord, who said she lost her health insurance several years ago when she couldn't return to her old job after an injury. Penman went to Planned Parenthood for preventive care, and a Pap smear last year found precancerous cells; the organization then provided her with surgery.

If it hadn't, "I might not be alive today," she said. "Planned Parenthood is about taking care of women's health and it shouldn't be reduced to some political argument."

Boxer said despite Planned Parenthood's "strict wall" separating federal dollars for women's health from private donations that fund abortions, House Republicans have voted to eliminate all federal funding for the organization.


Planned Parenthood Northern California


March 23, 2011