Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon against the extreme Republican budget proposal for fiscal year 2015, where he noted that the Republican budget “is a blueprint for economic decline, for vulnerable Americans being left to fend for themselves and for an America less equipped to protect its citizens.” Below are his remarks and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
“I thank the Ranking Member for yielding. I would first observe, Mr. Speaker, that the American people ought to lament another opportunity missed. An opportunity to come together and adopt a big, balanced plan for investment and balance in our fiscal system in America.
“Mr. Speaker, last year we adopted a budget, and during the course of its implementation with the consideration of appropriation bills, the Republican Chairman of the Committee called the sequester numbers adopted in the 2014 Ryan plan ‘unrealistic and ill conceived.’ And for 2016 through 2024, Mr. Speaker, this budget has numbers below sequester levels that the Chairman said were ‘unrealistic and ill conceived.’ Chairman Rogers has called the numbers in this budget ‘draconian.’ Chairman Rogers, responsible for funding the operations of government and assisting and building our economy and its people.
“Mr. Speaker, I believe it's all that and a call to disinvestment -- this budget is a call to disinvestment in America's growth and success. We have heard a lot of claims of course about what the Republican budget will do for our country. I've heard those claims from previous Republican chairmen. Frankly, they did not pan out. Let me clear that fog away and get down to the raw numbers which reveal the magnitude of the damage the Republican budget will inflict. As a matter of fact, with all due respect, I call it a retreat, an alliterative retreat, of course. The Chairman's retreat.
“First the Republican budget would repeal the patient protections and other benefits of the Affordable Care Act, leaving millions without health insurance coverage. Of course, it keeps the money. It just doesn't give the benefits. It would turn Medicaid into a capped block grant program and cut its funding by $732 billion over the next decade. That's from seniors who need long-term care, that's from people with disabilities who need medical services – 2/3 of Medicaid spending goes to low income seniors, and the Republican budget cuts it by a quarter. It would also end the Medicare guarantee and reopen the donut hole for prescription drugs, shifting costs back to seniors.
“Secondly the Republican budget disinvests, as I said, from many of the very important initiatives Congress has made a priority for the future growth and competitiveness of our economy. It cuts over $120 billion from middle class college affordability programs like Pell Grants and will leave a college undergraduate taking out a student loan as much as $3,800 deeper in debt. By eliminating funding for applied research, their budget will reduce federal research grants by half. Disinvestment. It could result in 2,400 fewer National Science Foundation research awards and 1,400 fewer National Institutes of Health awards. The reality is, Mr. Speaker, the Republican budget would decimate pediatric research. We've heard a little bit about that. It would decimate pediatric research and decimate all other research as well, and other medical research into life-saving diseases by billions of dollars. Not just pediatric research – cancer, heart, lung, blood, Alzheimer’s, and others.
“$173 billion would be cut from highway spending over the next 10 years – disinvestment – even though infrastructure investments are critical to the growth of our manufacturing sector and job creation. Overall, the Republican budget reduces our long-term investment in education, research, infrastructure and job training by over 15% over the next decade, compared to the deal the Republican Chairman negotiated just four months ago.
“I will tell you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Ranking Member, and Mr. Speaker: our competitors around the world are not retreating in terms of investments.
“Perhaps the most egregious mark against this budget, though, is that it does not achieve the fiscal balance its authors give as the reason for these cuts in the first place. Instead, it relies on ‘dynamic scoring.’ That's pretend something will happen. Now, if it happens we'd have a bonus and we could use that bonus, but if it doesn't happen this budget will guarantee that we will be further in the hole. It has an asterisk for $966 billion. It doesn't say what that $966 billion is about. At least 2/3 of it, but you guess. Pretend. Hope. If it doesn't happen you're in the hole.
“This budget, Mr. Speaker, is a blueprint for economic decline, for vulnerable Americans being left to fend for themselves and for an America less equipped to protect its citizens. I urge my colleagues to defeat this resolution and send a message that our country will continue to invest in its priorities: opportunity, security, and growth. Let us not retreat. Let us serve this country and serve its greatness. Defeat this budget.”