Topeka Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Thursday criticized the federal budget approved by the U.S. Senate, saying it will hurt Kansas.
Sebelius said the budget "seriously undermines our commitment to health care and student loans."
"It seems as though every time Kansas takes a step forward, Washington goes out of its way to take two steps back," Sebelius, a Democrat, said.
Her comments referred to the budget approved 51-50 on Wednesday in the Senate, with Vice President Dick Cheney casting the tie-breaking vote.
Kansas Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, both Republicans, supported the budget.
"Senator Roberts voted for this bill because it is the first time Congress has tried to reduce the size of the federal government in eight years," a Roberts spokeswoman said.
Brownback added: "Our Kansas communities are not well served by out-of-control and beyond-the-budget spending. We should continue to reduce our deficits and debt so that our children and grandchildren will not be overly burdened by current federal spending."
The legislation would cut federal deficits by nearly $40 billion over the next five years. It faces another vote in the House before it can be sent to President Bush.
Part of the savings in the Senate plan would change Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides health care for low-income, elderly and disabled people. It would allow states to charge a co-pay for services and make it more difficult for certain seniors to access.
It also would trim the federal share of dollars to welfare-to-work and child support collection services.
Shannon Jones, executive director of the Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas, said the proposals were short-sighted because they would force poor people to forgo needed medicine and doctor's visits and end up using more expensive hospital care.
"They're going to get sicker. They're going to go to emergency rooms more," Jones said. "It just pushes the cost elsewhere and doesn't fix the problem."
The Senate plan also reduces federal student aid by $12.7 billion, according to reports. Higher education officials have expressed concern that the cut will drive up interest rates on student loans from private lenders, keeping some from attending college.
Sebelius criticized the plan as her administration sought to assess how the funding changes would affect Kansas. She's preparing to present her state budget plan when the 2006 legislative session starts Jan. 9.
"Here at home, we're working to help Kansans find affordable health care and encourage more Kansans to attend college and vocational school. And just as those efforts are taking hold and improving the lives of everyday people, Washington deals them a real blow," Sebelius said.
"Washington needs to be a partner, not an adversary, in giving our families the tools to achieve a healthy and prosperous future," she said.
But Brownback argued there were no real cuts in the budget, only reductions in the size of growth in spending.
And Roberts said the budget bill gave states new flexibility in operating Medicaid, while providing additional benefits to hurricane victims in the Gulf Coast region.