Wednesday the House Budget Committee approved Paul Ryan's latest Ayn Rand Budget, which cuts trillions in healthcare spending and repeals the Affordable Care Act. "His budget," reports Hospital CFO, "would make significant changes to Medicare, reducing program spending by $129 billion over the next 10 years. Starting in 2012, it would convert Medicare to a premium support program, under which beneficiaries would receive funds from the government with which they could purchase either traditional Medicare coverage or private health plans." A report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a nonpartisan policy organization, reports that "Some 69% of the cuts in House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s new budget would come from programs that serve people of limited means." While Ryan claims to want to strengthen Medicare, the CBPP report said $2.7 trillion of the cuts will come from Medicaid and at least 40 million Americans would become uninsured by 2024. None of the popular parts of the Affordable Care Act would survive the Republicans' meat cleaver. He's says they're too expensive and have got to go.
The committee vote to approve Ryan's drastic budget was 22-16. All the Republicans voted for it and all the Democrats voted against it. Several Republicans not on the committee said they will vote against it next week when the full House takes it up. Walter Jones (R-NC) said he will oppose any budget with foreign aid in it and is one of the few Republicans who agrees with the Democrats that Ryan's scheme to convert Medicare into a partially privatized insurance system would be a catastrophe for American seniors. Other likely Republican "no" votes next week include Jack Kingston (R-GA), Justin Amash (R-MI), Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Raúl Labrador (R-ID), Tom Massie (R-KY), and Rick Crawford (R-AR). These are the Republicans on the Budget Committee"
• Paul Ryan (WI-01), ChairmanMeanwhile, House Democrats have been furious about Ryan's slash-and-burn Austerity approach to programs that provide services and benefits to the middle class and those least able to afford the cuts. Barbara Lee (D-CA) pointed out yesterday was the 46th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, and that Ryan's Godless budget cuts are “exactly the opposite of what Dr. King stood for.” Ryan's adolescent ideas, straight from his favorite school girl Ayn Rand novel, have already failed in Europe; he wants to implement them here anyway. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who would become Budget Chairman if Nancy Pelosi removed Steve Israel as head of the DCCC and allowed the Democrats to win back the House in November, said that the Ryan cuts approved by the Republicans on the committee "tells the American public exactly what Republicans in Congress would do to the country if they have the power to impose their will."
• Tom Price (GA-06), Vice-Chairman
• Scott Garrett (NJ-05)
• John Campbell (CA-45)
• Ken Calvert (CA-42)
• Tom Cole (OK-04)
• Tom McClintock (CA-04)
• James Lankford (OK-05)
• Diane Black (TN-06)
• Reid Ribble (WI-08)
• Bill Flores (TX-17)
• Todd Rokita (IN-04)
• Rob Woodall (GA-07)
• Marsha Blackburn (TN-07)
• Alan Nunnelee (MS-01)
• Scott Rigell (VA-02)
• Vicky Hartzler (MO-04)
• Jackie Walorski (IN-02)
• Luke Messer (IN-06)
• Tom Rice (SC-07)
• Roger Williams (TX-25)
• Sean Duffy (WI-07)
"It's the budget that ransacks the future of America's children," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said during a press briefing in the Capitol. "Education is the best investment that a person, a parent, a country can make in its future... This is key to employment, to growth, to innovation and for the success of our economy.President Obama doesn't think so either. In his weekly address to the nation this morning, he contrasted his own budget with the Ryan document. "[T]he budget I sent Congress earlier this year," he said, "is built on the idea of opportunity for all. It will grow the middle class and shrink the deficits we’ve already cut in half since I took office. It’s an opportunity agenda with four goals. Number one is creating more good jobs that pay good wages. Number two is training more Americans with the skills to fill those jobs. Number three is guaranteeing every child access to a great education. And number four is making work pay-- with wages you can live on, savings you can retire on, and health care that’s there for you when you need it." He has a very different view of what Ryan presented on April Fool's Day.
"I view the Ryan budget as an ideological manifesto," she added.
Other Democrats piled on.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said the Ryan plan would cut $18 billion in early education programs, $89 billion in K-12 programs and $205 billion in higher education initiatives over the next decade, versus the levels established by December's budget deal between Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).
Rep. George Miller (D-CA), ranking member of the Education and Labor Committee, said the GOP budget would eliminate more than 170,000 spots for early education benefits-- "and it gets worse every year after that," he added.
"These are the exact children that we know, if they have an opportunity in early childhood education, they will do much better in school, they're more likely to graduate, they're more likely to get a job, they're less likely to go to jail and they're more likely to earn a higher income than children who don't get that opportunity," Miller said.
"Clearly they [Republicans] don't care about these children."
This week, the Republicans in Congress put forward a very different budget. And it does just the opposite: it shrinks opportunity and makes it harder for Americans who work hard to get ahead.Did you know Blue America has a special page set up for the sole purpose of defeating Paul Ryan. This isn't to "send him a message" by electing some Blue Dog with values not so different from his in some backward red district. This page is dedicated to defeating him and replacing him with a progressive Democrat, Rob Zerban. Rob on Ryan's budget: "Ryan and his Republican colleagues fail to honestly account for their own policies. Free trade deals that have hollowed out our manufacturing industry, giveaways to Wall Street that have let billionaires accumulate all the benefits of our economy-- these are the things that cause poverty, not food stamps or early education programs. I agree with the New York Times that Ryan's report distorts the facts and that his ideas are ‘small and tired.' As the Times says, ‘most successful programs, including the (earned income) tax credit, Medicaid and food stamps, have been those that are carefully designed, properly managed and well-financed.’ I am a shining example of how smart programs can work. My single mother raised us in poverty, and we needed federal nutrition programs to have enough to eat. I needed Pell Grants and Stafford Loans to go to college, but I used all that help to get an education, and then build two successful businesses and employ dozens of people. The truth is that many of these programs are extremely successful, but years of budget cuts, free trade deals, refusal to increase the minimum wage, and giveaways to Wall Street resulted in the Great Recession and driven more and more people into poverty.”
The Republican budget begins by handing out massive tax cuts to households making more than $1 million a year. Then, to keep from blowing a hole in the deficit, they’d have to raise taxes on middle-class families with kids. Next, their budget forces deep cuts to investments that help our economy create jobs, like education and scientific research.
Now, they won’t tell you where these cuts will fall. But compared to my budget, if they cut everything evenly, then within a few years, about 170,000 kids will be cut from early education programs. About 200,000 new mothers and kids will be cut off from programs to help them get healthy food. Schools across the country will lose funding that supports 21,000 special education teachers. And if they want to make smaller cuts to one of these areas, that means larger cuts in others.
Unsurprisingly, the Republican budget also tries to repeal the Affordable Care Act-- even though that would take away health coverage from the more than seven million Americans who’ve done the responsible thing and signed up to buy health insurance. And for good measure, their budget guts the rules we put in place to protect the middle class from another financial crisis like the one we’ve had to fight so hard to recover from.
Policies that benefit a fortunate few while making it harder for working Americans to succeed are not what we need right now. Our economy doesn’t grow best from the top-down; it grows best from the middle-out. That’s what my opportunity agenda does-- and it’s what I’ll keep fighting for.