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Black, Hispanic caucuses say Bush budget ignores their communities

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Congressional Black and Hispanic caucuses issued a report Thursday saying President Bush's budget plan falls far short of his pledge to "leave no one behind."

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"The budget he has proposed leaves out over half of the black and Hispanic families," said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said, "There is a deep sense of concern which translates to a deep since of frustration" with Bush's budget plan.

"The numbers don't add up," said Reyes.

The caucus leaders were joined at the news conference by Rep. Dick Gephardt, the House Democratic leader from Missouri.

Gephardt said Bush pledged to "unite our country and leave no child behind," but the budget does not do that.

"I hope President Bush understands this challenge, starts making good on his campaign commitments and begins working with us in an honest, straight-forward way to bring our country closer together in the name of all Americans," he said.

Both caucuses said the budget plan puts tax cuts above all else and fails to make important investments in education, health care and small business. The members explained that the proposed budget is particularly harmful to black and Hispanic Americans because most with children would not receive a tax break.

The Congressional Hispanic and Black Caucuses released a report called "The Impact of the Bush Budget on Black Hispanic Families: Leaving too many behind."

The report examines the Bush blueprint, showing how it apparently fails to live up to Bush's promise to "leave no one behind." The report looks at a range of issues, from tax cuts to Social Security to Medicare to the so-called "digital divide."

It concludes the president's budget appears to be off-target.

"While the president has talked a lot about compassionate conservatism and leaving no one behind, his budget appears to be off-message," the report says. "To the dismay of our minority communities, this budget appears to sacrifice compassion for the sake of tax cuts."

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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