Mr. Chair, I rise today in strong support of the Congressional Black Caucus Alternative Budget for Fiscal Year 2013. The budget plan outlined by the CBC takes a direct and balanced approach to restoring America's promise, achieves fiscal responsibility and sets a priority to invest in our future.
The CBC Alternative Budget protects Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, Unemployment Insurance and other programs that are vital to the most vulnerable populations, which are in districts throughout this country. Although our nation's economy is showing positive signs of growth, this Congress must continue to make critical investments in communities to accelerate--not stagger--our recovery.
To that end, the CBC Alternative Budget makes smart investments in education, workforce training, and transportation and infrastructure projects. These investments are necessary to ensure that America has a skilled and educated workforce that is prepared to tackle the challenges of the 2ist Century and compete with attempts to take American jobs overseas.
Specifically, the CBC Budget will:
invest an additional $25 billion above the President's budget in Education and Job Training in FY 2013 alone;
provide an additional $5 billion above the President's Budget request for housing programs, foreclosure assistance, and other important programs for community development;
invest an additional $50 billion in job creating transportation and infrastructure projects in FY 2013 alone and provide $155 billion above the President's budget over the next decade; and
increase the maximum Pell Grant award by nearly $1,000 over the President's Fiscal Year 2013 budget request.
The CBC Budget acknowledges the deficit and pays for domestic priorities by enacting tax reform measures to raise nearly $4 trillion in new revenue over the next decade through the Buffet Rule to ensure that millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share in taxes, and closes corporate tax loopholes and preferences for corporations that ship American jobs overseas.
The $4 trillion in revenue raised from millionaires paying their fair share will allow us to pay for an extension of tax cuts for hard working, middle class Americans--providing them with more money to feed their families, pay their bills, send their kids to school and fill up their gas tanks. The budget would open an enormous hole in our country's social safety net by largely shifting healthcare costs to seniors on Medicare, while at the same time giving millionaires and billionaires a free pass by giving the rich an average tax cut of $150,000.
In California alone, 5,252,371 seniors would be forced onto vouchers when they retire--a system that has been shown to be a sub-standard version of Medicare.
The GOP budget will force seniors to pay higher premiums in order to access the same benefits they would receive under the current system. For a typical 67 year-old senior, the Ryan budget could increase out-of-pocket health care costs by $5,900.
The GOP budget would decimate our primary assistance to the poor by cutting $3.3 trillion from needed programs like Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
In fact, a report conducted by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that 62 percent of proposed cuts in the Ryan budget plan come from programs that assist low-income individuals. This is the Republican vision: to balance the budget on the backs of the seniors and the poor.
The Ryan budget once again fails the test of balance, fairness, and shared responsibility. It takes a slash and burn approach to the budget, rather than going line by line to carefully examine where cuts and new sources of revenue should be implemented.
The Ryan budget plan would weaken job growth. The Economic Policy Institute found that if we were to follow Chairman Ryan's proposal, 1.3 million jobs would be lost in 2013 and 2.8 million jobs would be lost in 2014.
Mr. Chair, the CBC Alternative Budget has a better way. We understand that our current economic situation calls for a balanced and responsible approach that protects our fragile recovery and invests in our future.
For these reasons, Mr. Chair, I urge my colleagues to join me in voting for the CBC Alternative Budget.
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