A picture of Representative Elijah E. Cummings
Elijah C.
Democrat MD 7

About Rep. Elijah
  • The Republican Budget

    by Representative Elijah E. Cummings

    Posted on 2013-03-13

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    CUMMINGS. It's my honor. I want to, first of all, thank the gentlelady for yielding, and I thank you for calling this Special Order.

    As I was listening to you talk, particularly when you talked about Pell Grants and women, I could not help but think about something that you and I hear over and over and over again as we serve together on the Joint Economic Committee. We hear that the less education a person has the more recessionary periods affect them negatively. In other words, if you have a little education, less than a high school education, your chances of being put out of a job or of not having a job are great. If you have a college education, you have a better chance of retaining a job.

    You talked a moment ago about women, and women with regard to Pell Grants. Just the other night, I was at Howard University's annual dinner where they were trying to raise money for students to get scholarships. The president of the university got up and said something that was very interesting. He said, We are now having to let young people go who have averages above 3.2 because they don't have the money. I can guarantee you most of those folks were women. He said, when they did the research and looked at young people who had left school years ago and when they just kind of tracked them, they noticed that only about 25 percent ever even returned to school.

    What you're talking about is the quality of life for women. So, when you look at the Ryan budget cutting Pell Grants and cutting those things that women are so concerned about--their children and how they're going to be able to raise them, to nurture them, to give them a head start--those things are being cut as if somebody is just going through a forest, cutting down trees with a hatchet. I think that we have to stand up for women. We have to make sure that we let the Nation know what is being done in this budget and make it clear that we're not going to stand for it.

    I just want to thank the gentlelady for her presentation tonight and for bringing us together with regard to this very, very important issue.

    Keep in mind that he is talking about doing away with the Affordable Care Act. So much of the Affordable Care Act goes to keeping people well--keeping women well, keeping their children well, keeping their families well. It allows them to have affordable and accessible insurance, which is something that women are most concerned about, [[Page H1388]] and being able to pay comparable rates that men would be paying. I mean, he comes in, and he wants to just do away with the Affordable Care Act and create and give us this budget that really makes no sense.

    Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. I want to thank the gentleman for his insight on how this budget is affecting his constituents, and to hear from him that women and men may have an almost perfect score in college and have to leave because they can't afford it, their Pell Grants have been cut--it's just unconscionable that the wealthiest country in the world is not there to invest in the next generation, in the next leaders, the next teachers and engineers that our country needs.

    It's not just education. It's not just housing. We're talking about food on the table. Once again, as they did last year, House Republicans are proposing to slash the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This is commonly called the ``food stamps.'' For people who don't have enough money for their food, this helps them, but they are calling for taking the food stamps and turning it into a block grant. Now, we who have worked in city, State, and Federal Governments know that ``block grant'' is another way of saying cut--permanently cut--and, in some cases, sliding it out of existence.

    SNAP currently helps, roughly, 47 million low-income Americans afford the food they put on the tables every day, and during these past few years of the Great Recession, SNAP has been a lifeline to those in need, making sure that in the wealthiest country in the world American families don't have to go hungry. People who apply for food stamps need food. Now women make up, roughly, 60 percent of SNAP's adult beneficiaries, and more than half of SNAP households with children are headed by a single adult, the vast majority of whom--over 90 percent-- are women. That means that single moms on SNAP are already struggling to make ends meet and to take care of their kids.

    They will be losing these benefits because the Ryan Republican budget refuses to close the $1.1 trillion in tax loopholes. Now, I for one say let's close those tax loopholes and keep the food on the tables of America's families who need it. I find that outrageous.

    I am really thrilled that a new Member of Congress, Lois Frankel--a woman with a great record of distinction in the State of Florida--has joined us. I want to thank her for coming and providing the perspective of her State. When it's cold, I know all my constituents want to be in Florida, but I'm pleased that she is here with us now.

    Thank you for being here.

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