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Carolyn M.
Democrat NY 12

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  • The Republican Budget

    by Representative Carolyn B. Maloney

    Posted on 2013-03-13

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    MALONEY of New York. Madam Speaker, this week, the House Budget Committee chair, Paul Ryan, laid out his budget plan. Sadly, it's just more of the same. Like a bad [[Page H1386]] record, this year's Republican proposal is virtually the same document as the one he proposed last spring. It harms the middle class. It harms low-income Americans, and it is especially bad for women and families.

    Now they have framed this budget and called it a prosperity one, a prosperity plan. But this budget should be called ``the road to austerity,'' because it is a plan that is most noteworthy for the rather harsh austerity it demands of the many and the lavish benefits it extends to the few. It clearly envisions a rising tide of selective tax cuts that would lift all yachts but leave many dinghies behind.

    Our Republican friends like to talk about making the hard choices. What they propose here would indeed make things much harder for millions of Americans, but it will also make things much easier for a fortunate few. That's their plan.

    Now, specifically under this plan, he has this new goal of balancing the budget in 10 years. To accomplish this, he slashes funding safety net programs that serve seniors, students, children, low-income families, and women. The budget slashes food stamps and cuts funding for infrastructure investments like high-speed rail. We're falling way behind the rest of the world. We need to invest in our infrastructure to stay competitive. And it does nothing for job creation or to help the unemployed.

    The Ryan plan replaces Medicare, and really ends Medicare as we know it by replacing it with a voucher system and replaces Medicaid by making it a block grant to the States. These cuts hurt tens of millions of Americans who count on these programs for their health care coverage.

    But not to just rely on what I'm saying, to quote The Washington Post: The 10-year spending plan released Tuesday by Representative Ryan is virtually identical to last year's GOP budget. It would defund President Obama's health care initiative and guaranteed Medicare coverage for future retirees and sharply restrain spending on the poor, college students and Federal workers.

    Now, what I find very hypocritical about this budget is that they say that they are going to repeal ObamaCare, or the Affordable Care Act, yet this bill passed this Congress. It was upheld by the Supreme Court. We had an election where this was the issue that people ran on, and President Obama was reelected, strongly. So they keep flip-flopping on this issue. They say they want to abolish ObamaCare, but then they rely on the savings of over $700 million in that program.

    So when Congressman Ryan was Vice Presidential candidate Ryan, he campaigned against the health care provider cuts of $716 million, the same ones he wants to keep in this budget. The Republicans opposed these cuts when they were part of the Affordable Care Act, then they passed two budgets that included these cuts. And then Congressman Ryan and Presidential candidate Romney campaigned against the cuts in the 2012 election. And now Mr. Ryan wants to keep them, once again. That's not just a 180-degree turn, it's 180 degrees times four, so it's a change of 720 degrees.

    But one thing that is completely clear in this budget is that women, in particular, will suffer because of the choices the Republican budget makes.

    {time} 1810 Instead of closing tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas, the budget kicks kids out of Head Start. Instead of getting rid of tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, for single moms struggling to put food on the table it cuts food stamps.

    It seems to me with the budget right now that we are spending at a roughly proposed 3.1 percent, but 1.1 percent is tax loopholes. If you just closed those tax loopholes, you would be able to significantly reduce the deficit and the debt. Why in the world are we giving tax loopholes for companies that move jobs overseas? If you're going to give a tax incentive, it should be to the companies that stay in America and create jobs for Americans.

    Now, instead of ensuring that women are not discriminated against by health insurance companies, this bill would repeal the rights women earned in the Affordable Care Act. The Republican budget cuts Medicare benefits, cuts Medicaid services, cuts health research funding and so much more all in the name of a new agenda that they have that will cripple our economy and cause real and lasting harm to the women of America.

    The Democratic approach is a more balanced one. Everyone agrees that we need to reduce the deficit and cut the debt, but it's a matter of how you do it, what priorities you have in it and what's your timeframe. The Democratic plan is balanced. I would call it a three- legged stool. You have cuts, you have revenues and you have investments to help grow and expand the economy and create jobs, investments in education and innovation.

    Chairman Bernanke has testified before Congress that many of the reasons why America is really digging its way out of this recession and bouncing back faster and stronger than Europe is that we have had a balanced approach, whereas Europe has had an austerity, austerity, austerity approach. As many economists say, ``You cannot cut your way to prosperity.'' Austerity needs to be balanced with revenues and also investments.

    I'm joined tonight by Dina Titus from the great State of Nevada. She was reelected in this session. She was an outstanding member of our caucus. We are so thrilled that she's come back to join us.

    I yield the gentlelady as much time as she may consume.

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