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Public Statements

Fiscal Choices

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. MOORE. Thank you for yielding, gentleman, and thank you for putting together this Special Order.

I can tell you that it has been very distressing to watch the progress of this budget being put together for the American people. And part of the distress I think is because of the sort of psychological warfare that is being committed here. I think that the Orwellian way that the budget is being presented--it's being presented as we have got to make draconian cuts in the budget in order to heal our fledgling economy, and especially, we have to so-called ``reform'' our entitlements programs in order to maintain them for the future.

There has been a call for an adult conversation about this, a call for the facts and for the truth, and no accounting gimmicks and no gimmickry in this discussion of reforming entitlement programs. Democrats are admonished not to scare seniors with entitlement reform and to demagogue the issue, and yet what we have seen from the Republicans are these fire engine red colorful charts warning us of the burden that the aging baby boomers will impose upon the hapless taxpayer unless we adopt the so-called austere ``path to prosperity,'' which ends the entitlement to Medicaid, caps those benefits, which turns Medicare into a voucher--so-called ``premium supports''--and which gives instruction to the Ways and Means Committee to privatize or to fix Social Security.

Now experts have told us, even though the Republican Budget Committee has told us that Medicare and Medicaid are driving the budget deficits and that they are the cause of this huge, tremendous debt, experts across the spectrum have told us that the real problem with health care costs is the growth of health care in the private market. We have seen health care costs double, in double digits, increase by double digits every single year. We have seen private health insurance premiums increase, double within the last 20 years. And so it doesn't matter whether you're a Medicaid recipient, whether you are a double recipient--a Medicare recipient who is also using Medicaid because you're in a nursing home. It doesn't matter if you're a large corporation, Harley Davidson or Xerox Corporation. It doesn't matter if you're a small business operator. It doesn't matter if you're someone who is on the individual market looking for insurance. Nobody can afford to fuel these profits for pharmaceutical companies, $20 million annual salaries for insurance executives, and all of the other giveaways to wealthy insurance companies.

Medicare was overpaying insurance companies by 14 percent until we enacted the Affordable Care Act. We cannot afford, in Medicare part D, the prescription drug program, we simply cannot afford to have a program where Medicare pays pharmaceutical companies for a large group--like Medicare recipients--and then not negotiate the drug prices as they would with any group. I mean, there are companies, large corporations with a much smaller pool of employees that benefit from negotiating for the group, and the law that the Republicans passed, the Medicare part D, doesn't allow those negotiations. These are easy fixes. These are easy fixes that could reap us billions of dollars in savings.

Social Security. Social Security. There is some very low-hanging fruit if people would want to come to the table and negotiate in good faith to create a solvent situation for Social Security well beyond the baby boomer years. We could raise payroll taxes beyond the $106,800 cap that is now in place.

But, of course, our Republican colleagues have an aversion, as the gentleman has pointed out, of shared sacrifice. No one who earns money and who has reaped the benefits of this great American economy should be asked to pay taxes. Who should be made to pay taxes? Those suffering working class, middle class folks.

The gentleman has shared with us earlier in his chart where they're proposing to lower the top tax rate by 10 points, down from 35 percent to 25 percent. Yet they claim that this is a budget-neutral act.

Well, come on now. You know, I don't have a degree from the Wharton School of Economics, but I can tell you that if it's budget neutral and we're still going to receive those revenues, then that must mean that somebody else is going to pay the taxes. Am I wrong about that?

I would like to ask the gentleman.

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Ms. MOORE. I think that budgeting is not just about numbers and figures; it's about values.

I think that the Republicans have made it very, very clear that they want limited government. They particularly don't want government enriching the lives of individuals. You would think that they would want to protect some things that are not individual things, like clean air, clean water, food safety protection, but they are eviscerating all of these programs as well: research for cancer, the creation of green energy jobs, the Community Development Block Grant programs.

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