Responding to the Republican Budget
With their extreme budget proposal, my Republican colleagues have once again turned their backs on seniors, working families, veterans, immigrants, students, federal workers, and the 16 million Americans who have gotten health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, selling all of these folks out in order to protect tax breaks for the very wealthy and for corporations. In fact, nearly two-thirds of the proposed “savings” in the Republican budget target programs that help the poor and middle-class families.
That means cutting $1.9 billion from the VA, money that could be used to reform the agency; setting seniors up for deep Medicare and Social Security cuts; gutting investments in job-creating programs like basic research and Manufacturing Extension Partnerships; repealing coverage under the Affordable Care Act; and slashing $1.2 billion in Title I funding, putting at risk the jobs of 17,000 teachers and the education of 1.9 million students.
There are many things to hate in this package, but I want to give special attention to transportation funding, which falls under my purview as Ranking Member of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee. The Republican proposal cuts $187 billion in transportation funding, ensuring that the Department of Transportation don’t have the resources needed to put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling bridges and roads.
Transportation cuts are unfortunately only one piece of this horribly ill-advised package. We can do better, and, in fact, we have – Democrats have proposed a complete alternative budget that would invest in the future, grow the economy, and protect the livelihoods of seniors and the middle class while reducing our debt as a share of GDP to manageable levels within ten years. As the budget debate continues, I hope the Republicans will take our proposals seriously.