Mr. Chair, I rise today in strong support of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Alternative Budget for Fiscal Year 2013. The budget plan outlined by the CPC takes a calculated and balanced approach to restoring America's promise, and investing in our future.
Unlike the House GOP Budget Resolution, the CPC Alternative Budget protects Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, Unemployment Insurance and other programs that are vital to the most vulnerable populations in our society.
In my district, we suffer from rates of unemployment and home foreclosure that are significantly higher than the rest of the country. Although our nation's economy is showing positive signs of growth, we must continue to make critical investments in our communities to accelerate our recovery.
To that end, the CPC Alternative Budget makes smart investments in education, job creation measures, 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 21st Century. Without these investments, the United States will lose its competitive edge.
A $556 billion surface transportation bill would help meet the overwhelming need for repair and construction of our roadways and aging infrastructure. Lastly, the Budget for All outlines a plan for nearly $1.7 trillion in widespread domestic investment, getting badly needed funds to valuable programs that are scheduled for starvation under current law.
This budget outlines a plan to put over 2 million individuals back to work over the next 2 years by hiring them for work in areas critical to our quality of life. This would create the School Improvement Corps for public school rehabilitation projects, the Park Improvement Corps made of youth ages 16 to 25 for restoration on public lands, the Student Jobs Corps of college students for part-time work study positions, among others. Priority hiring is given to the unemployed and veterans.
Domestic investments create jobs and lay the foundation for exceptional American industries competing in the global economy. The creation of an infrastructure bank would attract private investment toward critical infrastructure projects and facilitate private-public partnerships with our states and localities. Some projections estimate that the iBank could mobilize up to $625 billion in funding for infrastructure.
The revenue raised from tax reform measures in the CPC budget 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, and fill up their gas tanks.
Mr. Chair, the CPC Budget will do all of this while managing to be able to reduce the deficit by $6.8 trillion.
Instead of working to strengthen Medicare, the Ryan budget would end Medicare as we know it, turning the guarantee of retirement security into a voucher that will shift higher and higher costs over time to over 45 million seniors.
In California alone, 5,252,371 seniors would be forced onto vouchers when they retire.
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 essential programs like Medicaid and SNAP.
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 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 CPC has a better way. We understand that our current economic situation calls for a balanced 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 CPC Alternative Budget.
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