Capitol Words a project of the Sunlight Foundation

  • and

Concurrent Resolution On The Budget For Fiscal Year 2013

Rep. Earl Blumenauer

legislator photo

Mr. Chair, the Republican budget is yet another missed opportunity to confront America's challenges in a balanced and responsible way. A budget is a statement of values. This budget makes it crystal clear that Republicans value tax cuts for the wealthy and special interests, even at the expense of America's middle class, our children, the elderly, and even our economic recovery. The values supported by several other budgets--the Democratic budget, the Progressive budget, and the Black Caucus budget--would restore fairness to our broken tax system, invest in rebuilding and renewing America, and maintain America's commitment to providing for our most vulnerable citizens. The bipartisan budget offered by Reps. Cooper and LaTourette fell short of the balanced approach required to address America's challenges that was contained in the Simpson-Bowles proposal.

The Republican budget cuts taxes by an additional $4.6 trillion over the next decade and extends the Bush tax cuts, totaling $10 trillion, the vast majority of which benefits the top one percent of Americans. Republicans are not serious about deficit reduction in their call to pay for this tax cut by eliminating tax expenditures and loopholes that they refuse to identify. Would they eliminate the mortgage interest deduction for middle class families? Or the employer-provided health care deduction? Independent analysts have determined it is necessary to cut the mortgage interest deduction, the health care deduction, and most other expenditures in order to pay for their $10 trillion tax cut.

Instead of making hard choices, Republicans choose to shift the burden even further onto low and middle-income families, seniors, and the next generation.

The Republican budget would cut Medicaid services for disabled individuals, children, and low-income families and seniors by $810 billion over the next decade. It would also cut $122.5 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP, that lifted 3.9 million Americans, including 1.7 million children, out of poverty in 2010. This would mean 1,771 fewer jobs and 189 million fewer meals for hungry families in Oregon alone.

For decades, Medicare has guaranteed quality and affordable health care to seniors. The Republican budget ends the Medicare guarantee and would force seniors to choose to either pay thousands more dollars for their existing Medicare plan, or to buy plans with meager benefits that will ultimately put their health at risk.

Independent analyses show that infrastructure investment is one of the best ways to put people to work and to strengthen the economy, while giving families transportation options and making our communities more livable. The Republican budget would cut transportation funding by a staggering 46 percent, including for projects that have already begun, putting thousands of people out of work and stifling the fragile economic recovery. This budget is another missed opportunity to put people to work, to strengthen the economy, and to rebuild and rebuild America.

In contrast, the budgets offered by Democrats, the Progressive Caucus, and the Black Caucus take a responsible and balanced approach to putting America's finances back on a sustainable path. These budgets address the infrastructure deficit and expand access to education and job training to build a stronger America and to prepare the next generation to be the innovators that will lead us through the 21st century. These budgets restore tax fairness by asking the most well off to pay a little more. Recognizing the need to bring our troops home, eliminate wasteful weapons programs, and right-size our military, these budgets will help reduce the defense budget in a responsible way that maintains the world's strongest military and supports our troops without threatening our economic security.

I am saddened that Republicans produced a political document that continues their belief that massive tax cuts for those who need them the least will move America forward, even while they slash funding for transportation and infrastructure investment, nutrition assistance, Pell grants, and health care. The American people have rejected this unbalanced and unfair approach and so do I.