House Passes Democratic Motion on the Budget Resolution

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives today passed a Democratic motion to instruct conferees on House Concurrent Resolution 95, the Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2004.  The motion, offered by U.S. Rep. John Spratt (D-SC), was approved 399-22.  The following is a fact sheet on the motion.

Democratic Motion to Instruct Conferees on the Budget Resolution

The Democratic motion rejects House Republican cuts to education, health care, and veterans’ programs by calling on the conferees, on a deficit-neutral basis, to restore these cuts.  These cuts are included in the House Republican budget, but not in the House Democratic budget, the Senate budget resolution, or even the President’s budget.  Every dollar of these unnecessary cuts is needed to pay for the $1.35 trillion of tax cuts in the House Republican budget.  In fact, if House Republicans agreed to drop their tax cuts and spending cuts, their budget would actually be in balance by 2008, four years earlier than in its current form. 

The motion calls on the conferees to:           

  • Reject House Republicans’ Cuts to Medicaidand Medicare   — The House-passed budget resolution requires $107 billion in spending cuts from the Committee on Energy and Commerce, including an estimated $94 billion in cuts to the Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP) programs.  For the Committee on Ways and Means, the budget resolution includes instructions to cut spending by $62 billion, some or all of which could fall on the Medicare program.

These spending cuts could jeopardize access to health care for the more than 51 million seniors, adults, children and disabled individuals who rely on Medicaid and CHIP — as well as the 41 million seniors and disabled individuals who rely on Medicare.  Neither the Democratic Substitute, nor the Senate budget resolution, nor even the President’s budget requires these directed cuts. In fact, 79 Senators have gone on record expressing their opposition to Medicaid cuts.  The conference report should protect these critical health programs and reject any spending cuts for Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare.

  • Reject House Republicans’ Cuts of $9.4 Billion to Key Education Programs, Such as School Lunches and Student Loans The House Republican budget requires the Education and the Workforce Committee to cut $9.4 billion over ten years from direct spending for education — primarily school lunches and student loans.  In contrast, neither the Senate Republican budget, nor the House Democratic budget, nor even the President’s budget cuts direct spending for education.
  • Reject House Republicans’ $14.6 Billion Cuts in Veterans’ Benefits — The House-passed resolution cuts direct spending for veterans’ benefits by a total of $14.6 billion over ten years.  These cuts are not included in the Senate resolution, or the Democratic budget offered by Mr. Spratt, or even in the President’s budget.  The House resolution’s cuts are supposed to be unspecified reductions in veterans’ benefits that root out “waste, fraud, and abuse.”  The Disabled American Veterans described the House Republican approach in the following terms: “Has Congress no shame?  Is there no honor left in the hallowed halls of our government that you choose to dishonor the sacrifices of our nation’s heroes and rob our programs - health care and disability compensation - to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy?” (March 17, 2003)

 

  • Reject House Republicans' Deep Benefits Cuts to Railroad Retirees’ Pensions — House Republicans instructed the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to cut direct spending in its jurisdiction by $3.7 billion over the next ten years.  By far, the largest portion of direct spending under the Committee’s jurisdiction (about $13 billion out of $16 billion annually) goes to railroad retirement and unemployment benefits.  It would be difficult to find $3.7 billion in savings elsewhere in the Committee’s jurisdiction, suggesting that the House might have to cut railroad retirement and unemployment benefits in order to meet the reconciliation directive.  In fiscal year 2000, the Railroad Retirement Board paid retirement and survivor benefits to 673,000 recipients and unemployment and sickness benefits to nearly 37,000 recipients.

Neither the Democratic substitute, the Senate budget resolution, nor even the President's budget contains any reconciliation instructions for cuts to these direct spending programs.  Democrats wish to protect railroad retirees from the cuts in the House Republican budget and are therefore seeking to instruct the House conferees to recede to the Senate in this matter.

 

  • Reject House Republicans’ $61.5 Billion Cut in Aid for Working Families and the Disabled — TheHouse Republicans’ budget requires the Ways and Means Committee to cut $61.5 billion in direct spending over the next ten years from programs in its jurisdiction.  The major income support programs likely to be affected, in addition to Medicare, include Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the Earned Income Tax Credit, child care, Unemployment Insurance, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.   None of these cuts were in the Democratic substitute, the Senate budget resolution, or even the President’s budget - and all would hurt the disabled or low-income working families with children.

  •   Reject House Republicans’ Cuts of $18.6 Billion to Agriculture Programs Such as Food Stamps and Farm Support Payments — The House Republican budget requires the Agriculture Committee to cut $18.6 billion over ten years from direct spending programs under its jurisdiction.  The Food Stamp program accounts for over half of the direct spending under the Agriculture Committee’s control, and serves as a vital support system for America’s working families.  With the 2002 Farm Bill, Congress renewed the federal government’s commitment to our nation’s farmers and ranchers, rural communities, and environmental management.  It would be a mistake to curtail such fundamental support by adopting the harsh cuts in the House Republican budget, which are not included in the House Democratic budget, the Senate budget resolution, or even the President’s budget.