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George B.
Democrat NC 1

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  • Cbc Hour: The People’s Budget

    by Representative G. K. Butterfield

    Posted on 2013-03-18

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    BUTTERFIELD. Let me thank you, Mr. Horsford, for your leadership and thank you for convening this opportunity tonight for us to come to the floor and talk about a subject that is so personal and so important to every American.

    {time} 1930 I also thank the chairwoman of the CBC, Ms. Fudge, for her extraordinary and intelligent leadership. You have done so much for so many for so long, and we thank you very much.

    Mr. Speaker, just last week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul [[Page H1561]] Ryan--and I think most Americans recognize that name by now--Chairman Paul Ryan rolled out his 2014 budget that he and his Republican colleagues have called the Path to Prosperity. Well, Mr. Speaker, it's more like the path to American ruin.

    He says that he's going to balance the budget in 10 years; but he's going to balance that budget, if at all, on the backs of middle class Americans and poor people.

    They use good sounding terms like ``strengthening the safety net.'' What that really means is cutting programs that help the poor and disfranchised in our country, programs that good Americans depend on every day to survive.

    The Ryan budget talks about restoring fairness by ending barriers for job creation. What he doesn't talk about is that his budget proposal slashes funding for workforce development and job training and child care. How, Mr. Speaker, is a single mother of two small children expected to get and keep a job that pays more than the minimum wage-- which, by the way, Paul Ryan and his colleagues voted against raising-- when she has no access to affordable child care or training? Chairman Ryan and the Republicans don't care about that single mother or her children. They care about serving the interest of big business at the expense of ordinary Americans. So the Congressional Black Caucus has offered a budget alternative that I'm very proud of. It is sensible and balanced.

    We propose reforming the Tax Code. We propose ending special tax breaks and closing tax loopholes like the mortgage deduction for vacation homes and yachts, eliminating the deduction for derivative traders and eliminating incentives for sending American jobs overseas. We propose taxing capital gains and dividends as ordinary income, raising about $900 billion over 10 years. These changes, Mr. Speaker, would generate much needed revenue.

    The country has begun to recover. We see it every day in the news, and we're moving in the right direction. We're beginning to recover from near financial ruin, but our recovery is fragile and desperately needs a shot in the arm to accelerate our economic recovery. Instead, the Republican-controlled House thought it best to poison the economy and throw away the antidote.

    According to leading economists, once sequestration is fully implemented, Americans are going to lose 2.14 million jobs. Those are 2 million jobs that exist now, but won't exist later because of politics.

    The CBC and the majority of Americans believe that sequestration is damaging our fragile economy and that it must be reversed immediately. Our budget does just that.

    Our Nation's unemployment rate is 7.7 percent and has been on a gradual decline, but there are still far too many people out of work. To reinvigorate a willing and able workforce, the CBC proposes investing over $500 billion in a comprehensive jobs program, including $100 billion for a national direct job creation program, $50 billion for much needed school modernization, and $50 billion to support and maintain jobs in education and law enforcement. We would also dedicate $230 billion to repairing and replacing our crumbling infrastructure, including highways and bridges.

    In order for people to get jobs they so badly need, they need to possess the necessary skills. The CBC budget will work to support and enhance job-training programs through an injection of $13 billion and also help to put young people to work through a $7 billion summer jobs program.

    When hardworking Americans work their entire lives, they have been paying into a system that promised them income security. We must guarantee it. The Ryan budget seeks to eviscerate the Medicare program as we know it and turn it into a voucher system. That is wrong. They seek to block-grant the Medicaid program and give the discretion to the States. That is wrong, and it will devastate low-income families, and more than 35 percent will be cut from the Medicaid program over the next 10 years. Mr. Ryan proposes to make the change apply to individuals 55 years of age and younger. That's very interesting.

    What is particularly egregious, in closing, is that the Ryan budget cuts almost 18 percent from the SNAP program, amounting to $135 billion. Over 90 percent of SNAP money, as we all know, goes to paying for food assistance.

    Mr. Speaker, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Democratic minority here in the House are serving notice here today that we will not tolerate the unbalanced approach of the Republican majority. You must work with us to create a stream of new revenue by closing loopholes that benefit the rich, and we must have a balanced approach to balancing the Federal budget.

    Thank you for the time, Mr. Horsford. Thank you for your leadership.

    Mr. HORSFORD. Thank you, Mr. Vice Chairman.

    As you indicate, 70 percent of the American people agree with the CBC plan to have a balanced approach, one that helps to preserve and protect the very programs that you just mentioned and that gets our economy on the focus of what we should be dealing with, which is the jobs deficit in this country, not the so-called ``budget deficit.'' Mr. BUTTERFIELD. There is no question the American people, Mr. Horsford, want a strong economy, they want jobs created, and they're expecting us in this House to do it on a bipartisan basis.

    We have failed to do it, and we must do it.

    Mr. HORSFORD. Thank you.

    Over the weekend, Speaker Boehner said: We do not have an immediate debt crisis. We have one looming. It's not an immediate problem.

    Well, what we do have right now is an immediate jobs deficit, and we should be focused on getting the American people back to work. That's what the Congressional Black Caucus alternative budget does.

    And to talk about the focus on jobs and investing in our future, the woman who fights for the people of Florida, the gentlelady from Florida (Ms. Brown).

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