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Harry R.
Democrat NV

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    by Senator Harry Reid

    Posted on 2013-03-13

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    REID. Following leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R. 933, the continuing resolution legislation. Last night I filed cloture on a motion to proceed to this most important legislation. We are now in the midst of another filibuster. If no agreement is reached, the cloture vote will be tomorrow morning.

    The Ryan Budget Mr. President, yesterday Americans got their first look at this year's Ryan Republican budget. It turns out it looks like last year's Ryan Republican budget. I wasn't the only one who said: Gee whiz, not again.

    Here is the headline from Bloomberg News: Ryan Budget Replays Republican Hits.

    One Washington Post reporter compared the release of the not-so-new and certainly not improved Ryan Republican budget to the movie ``Groundhog Day,'' where Bill Murray relives his least favorite holiday over and over and over. Remember, this is the third Ryan Republican budget.

    This is what the Washington Post also wrote: The unrepentant reprisal of the same fiscal vision that was decisively repudiated last fall is bound to attract notice.

    Indeed, this is the same budget plan we saw from Congressman Ryan last year and the year before that. Even the name is the same. If anything, this new version is even more extreme than the last two Ryan Republican budget proposals--proposals that sought to end the Medicare guarantee and raise taxes on middle-class families, all the while handing out more tax breaks to the wealthy.

    The Ryan Republican budget is anything but balanced, and it reflects the same backward values Americans rejected in November. Instead of asking the wealthiest to contribute their fair share, the Ryan Republican budget demands that middle-class families pay more in taxes. Instead of ending wasteful corporate tax loopholes, it basically ends Medicare. In fact, the Ryan Republican budget takes special aim at health care. It would eliminate free preventive health services for 34 million Americans. The Ryan Republican budget would increase prescription drug prices for seniors by $2.5 billion in 1 year. It would end the coverage guarantees for 3.1 million young men and women who are on their parents' health plans. The budget would end coverage for mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and contraception for more than 47 million women and allow insurance companies to deny care for 17 million children simply because they were born with a heart defect or some other illness. These drastic cuts will literally cost lives and also jobs.

    Instead of a balanced approach that protects the American economy, the Ryan Republican budget guts education, medical research, infrastructure, and even public safety. The Ryan Republican budget would actually jeopardize the economic recovery; it wouldn't help it. And in case you are thinking such huge and painful cuts can buy an awful lot of deficit reduction, think again. Instead, Congressman Ryan's cuts will buy more tax breaks for the wealthiest among us. This budget isn't a serious attempt to [[Page S1718]] reduce the deficit. Meaningful deficit reduction will require shared sacrifice, including contributions from those who can best afford to contribute to it.

    Today, Budget Committee chairman Patty Murray will introduce a budget that reflects the principle of balance. Senator Murray's plan, the Democratic plan, will cut wasteful spending, reduce the deficit, and close tax loopholes that benefit the rich, and it will invest in the things that help our economy grow: education, preventive health care, worker training, and roads and bridges. It will invest in a strong middle class. And unlike the Ryan Republican plan, it won't leave you wondering if it is Groundhog Day all over again.

    As things now stand, we are in the midst, as I indicated, of a filibuster to even try to get on the bill. If we get on the bill tomorrow morning, then there will be 30 hours of waiting around, staring at each other. I just alert everyone that we have an Easter recess coming a week from Friday, and we are not going to be able to do that. The budget has a locked-in amount of time, 50 hours, plus the vote-athon. So everyone should be prepared to change their plans for the first few days--we hope it is the first few days--of the Easter recess.

    We are not even on this bill, and that is such a sad thing. I thought it was such a good atmosphere here. We had a bill at a decent time from the House. As I indicated yesterday, I didn't like everything in that bill, but we had Senator Mikulski and Senator Shelby working together. They checked in with me and Senator McConnell to let us know how they were doing, and they did well on their own. They didn't need our help. They came up with a plan that was fair and as balanced as could be under the sequester situation, and it was bipartisan. The amendment that is being filibustered is sponsored by Mikulski and Shelby. So this is a real shame.

    I said last week when we were going on this bill that we would have opportunities for amendments. I hope we can get on the bill and have some amendments offered, but each day that goes by--and we have wasted 2 so far--we are unable to have the amendment process. We had yesterday waiting all day for Harkin and Cruz because that is the first Democratic amendment and the first Republican amendment. They are still on deck, waiting to come whenever the umpire says we can go forward-- the umpire being one Senator.


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