Today, US Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02) released the following statement after Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives rolled out their budget proposal for 2012.
"Budgets are not about dollars and cents, they're about how we can keep our economy moving to grow jobs and help middle class families.
"House Republicans need a wake up call to realize building a budget is not just for achieving some arbitrary figure in cuts; they need to factor in the seniors, students and veterans that rely on critical initiatives in the federal budget.
"Instead of laying the foundation for future economic growth, this budget proposal takes the first steps to undermine economic growth, end Medicare and halt job creation efforts.
"Although I give credit to Republicans for putting something on the table when it comes to Medicare, I can't give them credit for what they actually put on the table. This Medicare proposal gets an A for effort and an F for content.
"The Republican plan makes Medicare a voucher program for people under 55 years old when they turn 65.
"In other words, it eliminates Medicare in 10 years.
"I support the reforms we have already made to Medicare that saves taxpayer money while improving care to seniors without cutting care to seniors. The new Republican plan cuts costs and eventually Medicare.
Deficits and Debt
"The Federal government must get its fiscal house in order. Congress must bring down the $1.65 trillion deficit; yet you cannot have credibility on cutting the deficit and controlling the debt unless the economy is growing. This budget proposal jeopardizes the economic growth we need to tackle our debt and deficit problem.
A Responsible Budget
"We need a responsible budget that protects the economic progress we have made and lays a foundation for future economic growth. This year I have voted with Republicans and Democrats to cut nearly $50 billion from the President's 2011 budget and I will continue to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to identify further areas we can responsibly cut as we build our budget for 2012.
"It is critical that we protect the initiatives that help our long-term economic recovery: Pell Grants that help students afford college tuition and vital infrastructure projects that keep our economy moving and fuel private sector job growth. If we make many of the cuts proposed in this budget, we harm our ability to grow the economy and create private sector jobs and make it more difficult -- if not impossible -- to cut the debt and deficit.
"Slashing tuition help for students, extending the 2001 Tax Cuts for the top two percent of income earners and eliminating the guaranteed benefit of Medicare for seniors is not how we're going to get our economy back on track and get people back to work.
"Earlier this year I set a goal for myself to implement a forward thinking plan for long term economic growth that works for us in the Pacific Northwest through investments in skills and knowledge of people, support for innovation, and infrastructure all in order to maintain U.S. economic leadership in the world. I will keep working to achieve this goal by pushing for a responsible budget that will grow our economy and fuel private sector job growth by making these key investments."