Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in opposition to Republicans' budget reconciliation bill that places the entire burden of deficit reduction on the most vulnerable without asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute. Below are his remarks and a link to the video.
Click here to watch the video.
“Mr. Speaker, the challenging times we live in force us to make difficult choices about our priorities. The reconciliation bill before us today is an example of choosing the wrong priorities.
“While we must address our deficits and emergency sequestration, the Republican reconciliation bill does it absolutely the wrong way. It places the entire burden of deficit reduction on the most vulnerable while asking nothing of the best off. Indeed, it asks for more from those who have less and less from those who have more. It harms seniors and children by eliminating Social Services Block Grants, which provide for programs for our communities like Child Protection Services and Meals on Wheels. They say they are getting rid of waste, fraud, and abuse; I have heard that for 31 years, while they added $6.4 trillion to the deficit. It slashes food stamp funding by $33.2 billion. They say that's waste, fraud, and abuse. CBO does not agree. It's real assistance to families in need.
“Furthermore, it cuts the pay of middle class workers who serve the public, the only workers it adversely affects. These are the priorities we have seen throughout the Republican budget: ending the Medicare guarantee, slashing jobs while cutting taxes for the wealthiest at the expense of seniors. The Chairman says this bill doesn't do that. He's correct. His budget did that. Middle-class families and those who are the most vulnerable pay the price.
“Democrats have our own proposal. Unfortunately it wasn't made in order. As the Gentleman from Maryland, my colleague said, you only had to waive one rule, as opposed to three for your budget, but you wouldn't do it because you didn't want the American public to see the real alternatives out there. I regret that. To that extent you closed down this rule which you railed so much against.
“Unlike today's Republican bill, our proposal reduces deficits in a balanced way, prevents sequestration through a balanced combination of spending cuts and revenues. Let me say something, nobody's asked to make a sacrifice in the richest country on the Earth. What we have to do is make appropriate contributions. Nobody's asked to make a sacrifice – and certainly not the most vulnerable in our country, as does this reconciliation bill.
“Mr. Speaker, I urge opposition to this bill. We can and should do better.”