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Sheila J.
Democrat TX 18

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  • The Republican Budget

    by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

    Posted on 2013-03-13

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    JACKSON LEE. Let me thank my friend from New York, Congresswoman Maloney, for her leadership on economic issues particularly impacting women, for the persistence of her introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment, long overdue, that we all join in to ensure the rights of women. And let me thank the gentlemen that are on the floor that joined us this evening.

    I want to follow up, as I listened to the discussion that you just had, I met with Dr. Brinkley in the hallway, who is one of the leading researchers in biomolecular research from Baylor University, in my Congressional region, if you will. I consider representation because it is such a massive institution. And he brought with him two of his researchers. In fact, the headline on one of my papers was the standstill work of one of our important researchers because of the sequester, and certainly because of this budget. All of that points to women who are most vulnerable as relates to the needs of research in chronic illnesses.

    Let me cite for my colleagues about this question of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security what is drastically cut and reordered under the Ryan Republican budget. I'm really saddened that misinformation comes that the Medicare's predominance, in terms of its help, goes to those who are fat cats.

    Let me share some numbers with you. Many of these are women. We do know that women live longer, and so the needs that they have for Medicare and Social Security may be extended.

    And may I take something out of our vocabulary, though it is in the dictionary. Medicare and Social Security are earned. I don't know where we got the word ``entitlement,'' because entitlement suggests you're entitled with no basis of responsibility. But they earned this. Women earned this.

    And women started before the fight that we had, Congresswoman, for pay equity over the last decade or two. They were making the lower wages, and so their Social Security input had to be much lower as they continued to work years in.

    But let me just share with you on the Medicare beneficiaries: Annual income less than $22,500: 50 percent of the Medicare beneficiaries include in that number women; Chronic conditions: of those who receive Medicare, 40 percent include in that number women; Fair and poor health: 27 percent, women in that population; Cognitive mental impairment: 23 percent, women in that population; Functional limitations: 15 percent, women in that calculation.

    So, as I look at this budget, 60 percent of it is taking away health care from the poor and middle class, which would include women.

    The idea that the bill slants itself toward protecting the interests of the wealthy by not listing any deduction that you're willing to take. Now, I know if we get into a discussion about deductions, we put ourselves in that circle; but let me just say, middle class [[Page H1390]] Americans need mortgage deductions. I know, however, that that is one that is under discussion.

    But why did our friends writing this budget not list the deductions that they would be willing to put on the table? Some of us realize that mortgage deductions help young families. It helps single women. It helps women who are maintaining or getting their first house. So here we have a special emphasis.

    I'm glad my colleague mentioned breast cancer. I have introduced legislation on triple negative. It happens to have a far-reaching impact on women from all ethnic groups, whether they are Caucasian, whether they are Hispanic, or whether they are African American or Asian, but it is a deadly form of the disease, a more deadly form of the disease. And so that kind of research which many of us are arguing for is now limited because of this budget.

    The budget does not--well, let me just say this. The budget takes for its own what was accomplished with the savings in the Affordable Care Act. It takes for its own the cuts that we made, were willing to make in 2012, over a trillion in cuts and spending. And it totally ignores economists who have indicated that the austerity format that was taken in Europe was the completely wrong direction, and that, then, impacts our families more negatively.

    {time} 1850 Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. Will the gentlelady yield? Ms. JACKSON LEE. I would be happy to yield.

    Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. I want to point out and make sure that our colleagues and the listening public know that the Ryan plan assumes the $85 billion in sequester cuts. So these cuts are on top of that. And according to the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office, the sequester could cause the U.S. economy to lose 750,000 jobs. And the Ryan plan compounds these job losses.

    The Economic Policy Institute has initial estimates that the House Republican budget would cost 2 million jobs in 2014 alone, relative to current policy. So why in the world would we want to take these steps that are going to result in job loss? I yield back to the lady.

    Ms. JACKSON LEE. I thank the gentlelady for that astute assessment. When I give these various points, women are disproportionately placed. Many of them are heads of households, many of them are senior women. Many are going back into the workforce because they have resource shortages, if you will. And the Ryan budget takes in all of these; i.e., the $85 billion in sequester cuts. By the way, again, I introduced legislation to eliminate the sequester provision out of the Budget Reconciliation Act. I happen to think that it is meritorious because we need to start from a fair point of view, not what I call nickel and diming, ending people's research, closing doors in the Capitol, and a number of other things that are not good for America.

    But let me just finish on this. If we're interested in R&D, as we indicated, or clean energy--slashed. Obviously, it will have an impact on the quality of life of families who are raising their children. What about nutrition assistance, the SNAP program? What an obliterating cut to the SNAP program, which is now serving 48 million people. Let me remind my colleagues that these are military persons, women who are in the military. These are young families. These are individuals who are in school. And so women are disproportionately impacted.

    And this, I think, is clearly one of the largest conflicts of reason, and that is to underfund or take away the funding for the Affordable Care Act, which has been reaffirmed by the United States Supreme Court and has been documented as having a health care savings and providing for a healthier America. And here we are taking away coverage from 27 million Americans.

    Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. They take away the good aspects of it, all the preventive and the health care. They propose to eliminate that, but then they keep the tax savings from it to balance their budget. It is a hoax. It's not realistic. It's not true. And I really appreciate your words here today on the floor.

    Ms. JACKSON LEE. They take all the good things that, might I say, the Democrats have worked on and can really be defined as balanced and fair and utilize it in a budget that is absolutely lopsided. And I thank you for having us on the floor to explain to the women of America why this budget will not be good for them, their children, or their expanded families, and that we're committed to standing against this kind of approach that is really not the American way.

    Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. I thank the gentlelady.

    In conclusion, Americans can't afford more fuzzy math and budget gimmicks. We need real solutions that help grow our economy, create jobs, support the health and economic security of our seniors, and one that will address the arbitrary sequester cuts. Chairman Ryan's budget fails to address any of these.

    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. The reality is that the majority's Ryan budget harms those who need help and doles out tax breaks and benefits to those who do not. So let me be as clear as I possibly can: the Ryan budget, if it were passed by the House, would risk our recovery.

    I want to thank all the participants tonight. I thank the like-minded men who came to the floor to support us and the women that have spoken out tonight on how the budget affects women, children, and their expanded families.

    I yield back the balance of my time.


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