This week, the House passed legislation to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. While I do not agree with everything in the bill, I commend President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House John Boehner for forging an agreement to keep the government running. Although it did not reflect my priorities, I voted in favor of the bill so that we could avoid a government shutdown, create certainty in the economy and move on to other pressing business, such as job creation and the budget for next year.
Today, House Republicans passed their budget for fiscal year 2012. Democrats agree that we should reduce the deficit, but the Republican budget makes the wrong choices and doesn’t reflect American priorities and values. Their budget ends Medicare as we know it, shifting the ever-increasing cost of health care onto seniors. According to non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, seniors’ Medicare costs could double or even triple under the Republican plan. It will also cause seniors to pay more for prescription drugs. The Republican budget also dismantles Medicaid, threatening the coverage and quality of health care for seniors in nursing homes and putting care for the disabled at risk. It also cuts critical investments to our ability to out-educate, out-innovate and out-build our competitors, harming American competitiveness and job creation. The Republican plan won’t balance the budget for decades and does not offer a balanced approach for reducing the deficit. Instead, it hurts working families and seniors, while rewarding the wealthiest Americans with trillions in tax cuts.
President Obama put forward a plan this week that stands in stark contrast to the Republican budget. While Republicans want to give tax breaks to the wealthy at the expense of working families and seniors, Democrats have a different set of priorities. We are ready to address the deficit, while protecting investments in our future. The President outlined a plan to get our debt under control, keep entitlement programs strong and make investments that will grow the economy and create jobs. It is a serious plan that puts all options on the table and reduces the deficit in a balanced way. In order to move forward on a deficit reduction plan, we will need bipartisan support. I hope going forward Republicans will abandon their ideological plan that hurts working families and seniors, and will work with us to restore fiscal responsibility.
STENY H. HOYER