Bono Places Landmark Vote to Decrease the Federal Deficit
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In a move to reform federal government entitlement spending and reduce the deficit, Congresswoman Mary Bono (CA-45) voted in favor of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. The bill works to find savings in the federal budget by cutting wasteful spending, reducing bureaucracy, encouraging responsible health choices and eliminating fraud.
"Passing this budget reconciliation was a vital step in bringing fiscal discipline and positive government solutions to the American public," said Congresswoman Bono. "This plan brings common-sense reforms to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse that have often plagued government programs and moves us closer to a sound fiscal footing for the future."
A member of the U.S House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee, Bono worked tirelessly to reform Medicaid to ensure the system would be solvent for the neediest of Americans.
"The purpose of the Medicaid program is to be the health care provider of last resort, providing for those who cannot otherwise pay for their own coverage," said Bono. "Currently, the state of California spends more than $34 billion per year in taxpayer funds on behalf of Medi-Cal members, constituting more than 14 percent of state funds. In the last decade, the state has seen an increase in state expenditures for Medi-Cal to the tune of 73.4%, or $5.4 billion. This is due in large part to the nearly 34% rise in number of persons covered by the program.
Without change, these rapidly escalating costs will soon topple the tenuous structure of the Medicaid program. It's time we ensure that those who need Medicaid most continue to receive the program's benefits and not allow the continuing abuse of legal loopholes."
Deficit Reduction Act contains provisions that trim the deficit and reform government programs including:
· Saving and strengthening Medicaid by adopting provisions offered by the bi-partisan National Governors Association;
· Lowering prescription drug costs;
· Reducing waste, fraud, and abuse;
· Strengthening and simplifying student loan programs;
· Rebuilding community first responder capabilities by freeing up vital spectrum airwaves;
· Increasing heating assistance for low-income Americans by assuming a $1 billion (50% increase) in additional funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP);
· Expanding Welfare Reform by reauthorizing the successful welfare reform policies in TANF and providing an additional $1 billion in funding;
· Restricting illegal immigrant access to food stamps and Medicaid.