The Committee resumed its sitting.
The Acting CHAIR. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Maryland.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished ranking member of the Education and Workforce Committee, the gentleman from California (Mr. Miller).
(Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Chairman, we've been hearing for days about how the House Republican budget is courageous and bold. But this budget is neither courageous nor bold. It's not courageous to throw poor kids out of their Head Start classrooms but continue subsidies to Big Oil and their record profits.
It's not bold to slash Pell Grant scholarships to millions of students and to keep the incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas.
It's not bold nor smart to slash funds for new clean energy research and make future generations of Americans more dependent, not less, on dictators and dangerous fossil fuels.
And it's neither bold nor courageous to end Medicare for seniors, shifting thousands of dollars of costs onto the backs of the elderly to pay for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.
For 45 years, seniors have relied on Medicare to provide health care during their retirement years. The Republican budget would end that guarantee. Seniors would no longer be guaranteed the coverage for basic health services like diabetes and cancer screenings. Instead, seniors would have to scrounge to find higher cost private health policies. What insurance company is going to write an individual policy for a 70-year-old that is even remotely affordable?
Because of these high costs, more and more seniors will go into debt under this plan. They will be forced to sell their homes and rely on their children to pay for basic medical costs. That is not a dignified retirement. That is not America.
Yes, we need to ensure that Medicare is sustainable for seniors and sustainable for the taxpayers. But one thing is certain--the Republican budget does not save Medicare; it ends it.
Mr. Chairman, this budget is not bold, and it's not courageous. It might be easy for the Republicans to make cuts on the backs of those who can't afford high-priced lobbyists. But it is not easy for the middle class working people and seniors on whose back the burden is being placed.
The Democratic budget is a fair and balanced approach, and it asks all Americans to share in the burdens in reducing the deficit and the debt and strengthening our economy.
I urge my colleagues to vote down the Republican budget to end Medicare and to vote for the Democratic budget that is fair and balanced.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the senior Member from Indiana (Mr. Pence).
(Mr. PENCE asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. PENCE. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
This country's in a lot of trouble. We're facing a fiscal crisis of unprecedented proportions. They say the first step toward ending an addiction is recognizing you're an addict. After spending 10 years here in Washington, D.C., after witnessing runaway Federal spending by both political parties, one thing is clear: Washington, D.C., is addicted to spending.
It's high time for Congress to own up to its spending addiction and institute long-term, sustainable budget and spending reforms that will permanently limit the size and scope of the Federal Government.
Happily, the budget resolution today offered by the distinguished Chairman Paul Ryan of the committee puts our Nation back on a pathway toward fiscal solvency and prosperity. This Republican budget represents a bold step toward fiscal responsibility and limited government. It cuts $6.2 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, reins in government spending below 20 percent, includes tax reforms to increase competitiveness for American companies, and ensures that Medicare will be solvent for future retirees.
It even ends the one-size-fits-all approach to Medicaid, giving States more flexibility.
It also stands in stark contrast to the President's budget, which includes a $1.6 trillion tax increase on families, small businesses, and family farms, and adds $13 trillion to the national debt. This budget resolution renews our commitment to finally forcing Congress to live within our means. We must succeed in this cause. Because if we fail, the American Dream will fail.
We will burden our children and our grandchildren with a mountain range of debt, robbing opportunities and prosperity, and leaving, for the first time in American history, the next American generation worse off than the generation that went before.
This we must not do. I urge my colleagues to offer strong support for the Ryan budget resolution. Let's put our Nation on a pathway toward fiscal solvency and prosperity.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Chairman, we do need to reduce the deficit in a predictable, responsible way. That will require spending cuts, and it will also require shared sacrifice. The reason that the fiscal commission said that the Republican plan was unbalanced is they try and do it all one way. History has shown that doesn't work.
I yield 2 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Ryan).
Mr. RYAN of Ohio. Mr. Chairman, we've heard this afternoon our debt is unsustainable, it's a warning, it's a fiscal crisis of unprecedented proportions. But heaven forbid to try to solve those great problems that our country has right now, the problem that we have, we ask the wealthiest in the country to just pay a few more thousand dollars, those people who have seen tremendous gains. You know, cry me a river.
Here we have David Stockman, former head of the OMB under Ronald Reagan, talking about the budget being presented by the Republicans: ``It's simply unrealistic to say that raising revenue isn't part of the solution. It's a measure of how far off the deep end Republicans have gone with this religious catechism about taxes.''
We're asking for shared sacrifice. You're getting into Medicaid, you're getting into Medicare, you're getting into Pell Grants, but the wealthiest are going to walk away not sacrificing one thing. Three wars we're in, and we can't ask the wealthiest to pay a few bucks.
This ends Medicare, Mr. Chairman. Let's be honest. It ends Medicare. These people 55 and under, whose wages have been stagnant for 30 years, now when they get into the Medicare program, they're going to have a voucher or premium support that increases by 2.2 percent indexed to CPI, or 2.5 percent, and the GDP in health care will grow between 4 and 5 percent. So every single year that this person that's 55 is in Medicare, they will lose 2 to 3 percent ground in being able to pay for their own health care.
We need to go back and remember why Medicare started in the first place. It is not a good business proposition to provide health insurance to older people in the United States of America. You can't make money off it. So we're going to give these folks a voucher that doesn't keep up with health care inflation and send them into the private market and somehow think we're doing them a favor? No shared sacrifice.
Again, we're putting the burden on the middle class person who has paid into Medicare, depends on Medicare, has been getting wages that have been stagnant, probably doesn't have health insurance between 55 and 65. So you want to talk about driving up Medicare costs, now we add someone who doesn't have health insurance into a market that they won't be able to afford when they do turn 65.
This budget is wrong. We need balance. We need shared sacrifice. And we need investments in the United States. This budget comes up short, and David Stockman says the same thing.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 minute to simply say there is a new definition, and I want to explain it. Here is what a tax cut now means. If you're not in favor of the forthcoming tax increases, you're cutting taxes. That's the new math around here. What we don't do is we don't sign up for all these new tax increases that are being proposed by the President in his budget that are coming in the future. And so by not supporting new taxes, we're all of a sudden for tax cuts.
Mr. RYAN of Ohio. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. No, I will not yield.
What we are saying is keep the revenues where they are and fix the Tax Code, clear out the loopholes and the deductions so we can lower the rates to create jobs and economic growth.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to a member of the Budget Committee, the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Lankford).
Mr. LANKFORD. Mr. Chairman, I would like to also continue on this same conversation. The central question that we have to answer is do we have a debt and deficit problem in America or do we have a spending problem in America? Words like balanced approach, investment in America's future, and the often quoted ``shared sacrifice'' confuse the real issue. The focus of the House of Representatives is not about just reducing the deficit; it is about reducing spending so we can pay off the debt that we have.
Raising taxes on Americans now would be like the man who ran up a huge credit card bill and then went to his boss to tell him that he needed a raise to pay off his bills. His boss would most likely respond, You don't need a raise. You need to get your family on a budget and cut your spending to what is essential.
For the past 50 years, the Federal Government has taxed Americans at around 18.5 percent of GDP, no matter what the rate is. The current proposal from the President suggests a tax requirement closer to 22 percent of GDP. To close the deficit gap, all income taxes will have to double or corporate taxes will have to increase five fold. A tax increase on the wealthy may make some people feel better that they're sticking it to the man; but, historically, tax increases only lead to more government spending. And, ultimately, it will not solve the debt crisis.
Washington likes handing out other people's money for noble causes. Here is a novel idea: How about dealing with our existential problem? We spend too much. In 2009, 140,000 new Federal employees were hired. During the previous 10 years there was no change in employment in the Federal Government. The number of Federal contractors has increased 25 percent since 2006. In 4 years, discretionary spending has increased 25 percent. In that same 4 years, Medicare and Medicaid spending has increased by 50 percent. None of that includes the special TARP or stimulus funding, which would make the cost to the taxpayers even higher.
We cannot spend our way to prosperity. We have to get back to getting a handle on our debt and deficit and our basic spending. The reason the House budget has gained so much traction is that it does what Americans know in their gut must be done. It cuts spending.
Finally, someone is saying what many have felt. We cannot solve the budget problems quickly without significant spending changes.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Chairman, this is simple mathematics. When you went from the Clinton rates for the folks at the very top and you dropped the tax rate, we ended up losing a lot of jobs because of the economy. You also lose revenue. And when you do that, you shift the burden onto other people, whether you do it by cutting Medicaid, whether you do it by terminating the Medicare guarantee, or whether you do it by cutting education. That's just mathematics.
I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Ryan).
Mr. RYAN of Ohio. Mr. Chairman, I would just like to ask a question of the chairman. Where in this budget is the sacrifice that is being made by the top 1 percent of the people? On the wealthiest 1 percent.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. RYAN of Ohio. I yield to the gentleman from Wisconsin.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. First of all, we think we should go after corporate welfare. Let's stop subsidizing wealthy individuals and corporations with taxpayer dollars.
Mr. RYAN of Ohio. Reclaiming my time, you are lowering the corporate income tax. What sacrifice is being made?
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Like the fiscal commission, we believe that it's better for economic growth to broaden the tax base and lower the tax rate.
If I can continue on the gentleman's time.
The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, there are two parts to the Tax Code. There is the corporate Tax Code. We need to clean up the corporate Tax Code. We agree with the fiscal commission. You've got to get out a lot of clutter, a lot of the tax breaks. In fact, we don't think you need a study to decide to get rid of the tax breaks that reward corporations for shipping American jobs overseas. We don't think you need to study the question about whether we get rid of big taxpayer subsidies for the oil companies.
So, yes, we should take a look at the corporate Tax Code. But in the other part of the Tax Code, the individual Tax Code, what the Republican plan does is actually give the folks at the very top another 30 percent break. We have been talking about going back to the Clinton rates. The Republican plan gives you another 30 percent break. You know what? They say we are going to do this in a revenue-neutral way. Well, the result is middle income taxpayers are going to pay more to give the folks at the top another big break.
With that, I yield 2 1/2 minutes to somebody who knows a lot about this subject, the ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Levin).
(Mr. LEVIN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. LEVIN. We do not need to tear up what America has built in the past in order to build for the future. We should not confront present and future problems, including the Nation's deficit, as we must, by repealing America's past. The Republican budget tries to tear up and repeal 75 years of American experience, and the supreme example is Medicare. It tears it up. It repeals it. And contrary to what we've heard today, they would not save Medicare, but end it. They would not change it, but they would end it. Our Nation would be a different Nation without it. Millions today would be less healthy without Medicare.
One of my constituents wrote to me recently to say Medicare saved her life and her life savings when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and there are tens of thousands of people like her in this country.
What the Republicans want to do is to give seniors a voucher for health care, an underfunded voucher, for 10 years. It would double health care costs for seniors, a voucher that in 20 years would pay only a third of senior health care costs.
There is no place to hide for anyone who votes for the Republican budget.
And what happens with the savings? Tax cuts for the wealthy. The average income of the bottom 90 percent of the families in America have fallen in the last decade.
The opposite is true for the wealthy. The top 1 percent have seen their incomes climb by more than a quarter of a million dollars.
In my district alone, extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans means giving 182 households that earn more than $1 million annual tax cuts averaging $103,000. At the same time, future seniors would be paying $6,000 more in health costs.
If what we have built in our Nation needs to be adjusted, fix it, don't destroy it. We must address the deficit without deepening deficits in the availability for our citizens of jobs, health care, and education.
The choice today could not be more decisive. A vote against the Republican budget is a vote for basic American values. Vote ``no.''
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to a member of the Budget and Ways and Means Committees, the gentlelady from Tennessee (Mrs. Black).
Mrs. BLACK. Mr. Chairman, I stand here today as a proud member of the Budget Committee supporting our Path to Prosperity budget that was introduced on time and takes real steps to get the country's finances back on track focusing on real economic growth and job creation.
Lately we have heard a lot of demagogy and scare tactics about this budget. First it came from the other side of the aisle, and yesterday we heard those same remarks by the President.
But my constituents don't want to hear the same old partisan attacks and rhetoric. They want Washington to tell them the truth. The truth is this about our budget:
Number one, it's a jobs budget, and in the first year this budget creates 1 million new jobs.
Number 2, it cuts $6.2 trillion in government spending.
Number 3, it eliminates duplicative government programs.
Number 4, it preserves Medicare for the next generation.
Number 5, it puts caps on spending for the coming year and the next decade.
And, number 6, it takes us on a path to pay down our debt.
House Republicans are working to get this country back on track on a sound financial footing, and I am proud to be here today as part of the Republican majority that will lead where the President has failed and restore America's future growth and prosperity.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished ranking member of the Small Business Committee, the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Velázquez).
(Ms. VELÁZQUEZ asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)
Ms. VELÁZQUEZ. I rise in strong opposition to this ill-conceived, mean-spirited Republican budget.
Mr. Chairman, all of us recognize the need to reduce the deficit, but it must be done responsibly. This budget fails that test, cutting services we need in favor of tax breaks for the wealthy.
For New Yorkers, these cuts will be particularly unfair. Ten billion dollars will be taken from low-income housing programs. Rental assistance will be reduced, making it harder for New Yorkers to find affordable apartments. This at a time when we are facing the worst housing crisis ever.
Housing is just one area where this budget fails our country. With Medicaid spending reduced by $735 billion, millions of Americans will find it harder to afford health care. Instead of tackling rising health care costs, this budget ends Medicare as we know it. Medicare is a promise to America's seniors. Whether we honor that promise defines us as a Nation.
Just as seniors will face tough times, this budget will visit hardship on young people. Head Start, child care and nutritional assistance for low-income families will be squeezed, and 26,000 college students from New York's 12th Congressional District will see tuition assistance reduced, putting college education out of reach.
Beyond slashing social services, this budget undermines our economic recovery. Small business lending would drop by $3 billion, depriving 5,000 firms of capital they need to create jobs. Is this the way we are going to create jobs in this country? Twelve thousand entrepreneurs and 9,000 veterans, those coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq, will lose business counseling services to help them launch or expand their businesses.
Mr. Chairman, we need a serious, thoughtful discussion about how to cut spending. Vote ``no'' against this bill.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to a member of the Ways and Means Committee and former member of the Budget Committee, the gentleman from California (Mr. Nunes).
Mr. NUNES. Mr. Chairman, this budget stops in its tracks the efforts of Democrat leaders to trap the American people on a high-speed train trip with the false promise of green jobs. This is a trip, a one-way ticket to bankruptcy.
However, if you support the Ryan budget, you will help this government recover from a debilitating and life-threatening illness that started when our leaders threw out the American way of life in favor of a left-wing agenda. Let's be clear. We have two choices: we can look forward and pave a path to economic prosperity, or we can become the world's most heavily taxed Nation in a dangerous, dangerous zone of bankruptcy.
Mr. Chairman, throughout modern history, socialists have been searching for the last exit to Utopia, of Big Government collectivism. Unfortunately, for the socialist utopians in this town that support President Obama's spending plan, this last exit to Utopia will remain a mystery, a relic of 1960s radicals.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Chairman, Republicans originally fought the creation of Medicare on the grounds that it was socialism. Apparently, they haven't changed their minds about that as they try and terminate it and put seniors into the private insurance market.
I yield 2 minutes to the gentlelady from Wisconsin (Ms. Moore).
Ms. MOORE. Mr. Chair, health care costs are a crisis in every American family. Every family is one surgery, one heart attack, one cancer diagnosis, one aging spouse away from financial ruin. But health care costs are also a crisis for business, both small and large.
General Motors pays more for health care than for steel. That is why the Affordable Care Act is needed, to bend the health care cost curve downward for all American health care consumers.
Americans, including those who are consumers of Medicare and Medicaid, simply cannot afford the insurance and drug companies' runaway profits.
These companies are reaping record-breaking profits. In 2009, while we were debating the bill, the Nation's five largest for-profit health insurance companies saw a combined profit of $12.2 billion, and that's just for five companies.
Their executives did well, too. The top execs at these companies pulled in almost $200 million in compensation. At the same time, there were double-digit premium increases.
So no matter where you get your health care, through Medicare, Medicaid, your employers's policy, wherever you get it, you can't afford that kind of rate increase year after year.
These rates are going up faster than any other part of the family budget. For many people, these costs are crowding out housing and other basic needs.
In 2009, the top 10 pharmaceutical companies made over $60 billion in profits, and the profit margin in this industry is out of control. In 2007, profits ranged as high as 36 percent.
The health care reform law also curbed some of these outrageous profits of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Yes, Medicare and Medicaid are large portions of our Federal budget, but we can only rein in their costs if we fully implement the Affordable Care Act and tackle outrageous profiteering in health care--something the Republican budget refuses to do.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to a member of the Budget Committee, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Young).
Mr. YOUNG of Indiana. Mr. Chairman, the good people of Indiana want jobs. And we know how to create them. In Indiana, under Governor Mitch Daniels, we've seen a government that spends less and taxes modestly. We've seen that that leads to job growth. That's why Indiana, during these tough economic times, is a national leader in private sector job growth.
The Budget Committee crafted a budget for our Federal Government that, like Indiana, spends less and keeps a lid on taxes. The result is a plan that will help create 2 1/2 million private sector jobs by the end of this decade.
Recent economic history isn't good to the big spenders. It shows that borrowing and spending trillions of dollars that we don't have doesn't create jobs. And jobs won't be created if we go along with the President's plan and, seemingly, the plan of sorts from the other side of the aisle to increase taxes.
It's no great secret that the job creators in this country aren't hiring because unchecked spending, of course, leads to fears. It leads to fears that we're going to have to raise taxes in the future. It leads to fears of future inflation. And we know, of course, that it leads to fears that interest rates are going to go up.
By calling for a measure of spending discipline as we do, we replace that fear with hope--hope that we can restore conditions where private sector job creators can go out and put Americans back to work. That's what the people of southern Indiana want.
Now, I mentioned Indiana a minute ago and the success we've had in creating those private sector jobs. We didn't do it all through our policies with respect to spending. Instead, we also looked at tax policy. We understood that it just didn't make sense to jack up taxes during a down economy. Instead, we kept them steady and we made our tax code more efficient, just as some of our neighboring States were doing the opposite. As a result, many businesses chose to move back to Indiana or to move to Indiana for the first time.
We see the reverse trend nationally. Unfortunately, many businesses are leaving this great country or just not getting off the ground because of our job-destroying Tax Code and because of our punitive corporate tax rates.
Mr. Chairman, we improve upon those previous policies. We learn from the errors of the past. I urge my colleagues to help us create jobs by voting ``yes'' on the Republican budget.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Gonzalez).
(Mr. GONZALEZ asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. GONZALEZ. Mr. Chairman, at the heart of the Republicans' budget proposal is the thought, ``the number of makers diminishes and the number of takers grows.'' As a result, our government, economy and country will collapse. Forget about the impoverished view that this offers us, a vision of an America that can't be bothered or is unable to care for anyone who needs help.
So let's have a discussion about who truly would be the ``taker'' and who truly would be the ``maker.''
People who manipulate an unfair tax system at the expense of millions of others, makers, when you look at the Republican proposal. Corporations that don't invest in their own country, paying a lower tax rate on their profits than their employees would pay on a $40,000 salary, those are makers under the Republican plan. Wall Street firms that ruined our financial system, then asked working families to bail them out while they pay billions in bonuses, those are also makers under the Republican plan.
Yes, that's who the Republicans have identified as the makers, and it rewards them quite handsomely in their proposal. Their budget would perpetuate a taxation and employment system that has resulted in stagnant wages for workers and allows 5 percent of the wealthiest among us to enjoy 66 percent of all the wealth while 80 percent of Americans share only less than 13 percent.
Now, who would be the takers under this Republican plan? The 9.4 million students working towards a college degree so they can get a good job and contribute to this economy, whose Pell Grants would be slashed; 218,000 low-income kids and families who will be removed from Head Start, depriving them of a decent education, again, takers under the Republican plan; 2,400 schools that serve 1 million low-income students across the country that would have to shut their doors, takers under the Republican plan; countless seniors who would no longer be able to remain in nursing homes because of cuts in Medicaid funding. Those are the takers.
You decide, America, who are the takers and who are the makers? This is not a Pathway to Prosperity. It's a dead end.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Indiana, a member of the Budget Committee, Mr. Rokita.
Mr. ROKITA. Mr. Chairman, where the President has failed to lead and be honest with us, we've had the courage to tell the truth about America's debt crisis. And we've proposed honest solutions required to fix it.
As a new Member of Congress, I have already learned that the rules in Washington are stacked in favor of people who want to spend more money. In contrast, in Indiana, we have a balanced budget, we have a AAA bond rating, and we have not raised taxes because we know taxes are not the problem.
The problem is, Mr. Chair, our colleagues who continue to push for more government spending knowing that our debt is over $14 trillion and growing. And they haven't offered one alternative except to confiscate more of the people's money.
They have tried to scare a lot of people. But this time, Mr. Chairman, I don't think the people are buying it. As you can see from this chart, our reliance on foreign countries to supply our reckless spending is growing dramatically over the past decades to where nearly half of the debt we owe as a country we owe to foreign countries, China being the best.
In fact, Mr. Chairman, China can buy three Joint Strike Fighters every week for the money we pay them in interest for the money they loan us and still have $50 million left over. Eventually, they and other countries are going to stop loaning us money or make us pay more to borrow. And as Treasury rates increase, rates on mortgages, credit cards and car loans are soon going to follow. We are no longer kicking the can down the road; we're kicking it off a cliff.
This budget addresses the real drivers of our debt: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. In 1970, these kinds of entitlements consumed 31 percent of our budget. Today they are nearly 60 percent, and they continue to grow. In just a few decades when our kids are raising their children, literally every single dollar this government takes in revenue will go towards paying these entitlement programs. This budget makes the changes necessary to save these programs so that they're around for my kids and your grandchildren.
I know a little about government agencies--I used to run one. One that had no more employees in 2010 than it did in the early '80s. But, since the President took office, he has added 155,000 new bureaucrats. Spending on government agencies has increased 84 percent in just the last few years.
This budget stops us from spending money we do not have. It brings spending back to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels and shrinks the federal bureaucrats by 10 percent over the next three years. It also takes the ideas of the Fiscal Commission and the Government Accountability Office and eliminates over $100 billion in wasteful spending on dozens of duplicative federal programs. Money we don't take from the American people, they will spend much wiser and create jobs along the way. Americans are finally getting an honest and fact-based budget that has eluded them for years.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE ACTING CHAIR
The Acting CHAIR. Members will refrain from engaging in personalities toward the President.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Chairman, one of the other things that China is doing is they're investing an awful lot of their resources in clean energy like solar power and like wind power. The United States should be winning that battle and not our international competitors. Someone who knows a whole lot about that is the next speaker, the ranking member on Natural Resources, Mr. Markey of Massachusetts. I yield the gentleman 2 minutes.
Mr. MARKEY. I thank the gentleman.
The Republicans are allowing nostalgia for a time before Medicare and Medicaid were ever on the books to replace the idealism that we need to have in order to deal with the real challenges of the future. But for the poor, the sick, the elderly and the disabled, the past is just a memory and the future is their hard reality. And that's what this budget will be for those people, a hard reality.
It takes no courage for the Republicans to stand here on the House floor and to call for an evisceration of the Medicare budget, of the Medicaid budget and all the other programs for the poor, the sick, the elderly and the disabled in our country that they opposed ever having been put on the books in the first place. If you kicked this budget in the heart, you'd break your toe. GOP used to stand for ``Grand Old Party.'' Now it stands for ``Get Old People.'' And that's what this budget is. It is a targeting of the poor, the sick and the elderly in our country.
Do they ask sacrifice from the defense budget? Do they ask for the defense budget to go down? No, it just keeps going up year after year. Do they ask for sacrifice from the wealthy? No, they say tax breaks for the wealthy year after year after year. Who do they target? They target Grandma. They don't even have the ability--the courage--to stand up and say to the oil companies, who at $100 a barrel are making $100 billion in profits a year, ``We're going to take away your tax breaks.'' No. Tax breaks for oil companies stay on the books.
What do they do? They say to the clean energy industry, We're cutting your tax breaks by 70 percent, but we're leaving the tax breaks for the oil industry on the books and we are slashing the programs for wind, for solar and for all those energy technologies that are now the future.
The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. I yield the gentleman an additional 30 seconds.
Mr. MARKEY. I thank the gentleman.
That's your formula. It's a formula of the past. It's a formula for the nostalgic amongst the Republicans who wish we could go back to a time before Medicare and Medicaid and wind and solar and new energy technologies and their taking us on to a future.
Let me tell you something.
Fifty percent of the people who are in nursing homes in our country have Alzheimer's, and they are on Medicaid. That's how we pay for the bills. You people slash the budget for those people with Alzheimer's who are in nursing homes. That's 50 percent. That's grandma, ladies and gentlemen. You don't touch the wealthy. You don't touch the Defense Department. This budget is so cruel that, if you kicked it in the heart, you'd break your toe.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I yield myself 1 minute to respond to the warm, even-handed comments of my friend from Massachusetts.
Do you know what's really cruel, Mr. Chairman? It's if we give our children a lower living standard.
Do you know what's really cruel? It's if we give our children a debt-ridden Nation. It's if we give our children a debt that they can't afford.
Do you know what's really cruel? It's if we don't save Medicare. It's if we don't keep the promises to our current seniors, like we do in this budget, so that all of these programs they've organized their lives around, which are going bankrupt, are preserved. Medicare goes bankrupt in 9 years. We're preserving it for current seniors.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from New Hampshire (Mr. Guinta).
Mr. GUINTA. Mr. Chairman, I rise today to speak in favor of The Path to Prosperity.
Our budget offers more than a spending blueprint for the next fiscal year and beyond. It is truly a job creator. The Path to Prosperity provides a framework for creating nearly 1 million new private sector jobs next year alone. How does it do this?
It doesn't involve advanced economic theory--just basic math. When you lower taxes, you put more money into people's hands. They spend it and it circulates, making businesses prosper and allowing them to hire new employees. It's just that simple. When I think of the opportunities that The Path to Prosperity will create, I think of countless small business owners who will benefit from this plan in my State. Small businesses are the backbone of New Hampshire's economy, much like they are across our great Nation.
I think of people like Craig Leonard, who owns Bonsai Craftsmen in Londonderry, New Hampshire. He remodels houses and kitchens. With the ongoing fiscal uncertainty, people are keeping their wallets closed because nobody knows what the next fiscal year will bring. Craig recently had to lay off three employees, and barely has enough work to keep himself busy. Without the confidence that can come from passing The Path to Prosperity, there is no telling when his business will return to prosperity, itself, and when he can dare to hire again.
I think of people like Charlie and Laura Morgan. They own a storage company in Manchester, New Hampshire. They've lost tenants in this down economy, causing them to reduce the rents they charge. This is simply keeping them from hiring additional employees and creating greater opportunities for our fellow Granite Staters.
The examples of hard-pressed small business owners I've cited are located not just in New Hampshire but all over the country. The Path to Prosperity provides confidence by charting a responsible course so that creditors can loan with confidence and so that people can borrow money knowing they'll be able to repay it.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Clarke).
Mr. CLARKE of Michigan. Mr. Chairman, I want to talk on behalf of the people I represent in Michigan.
Many of them have lost their jobs, and when they become seniors, they're likely going to have to survive on fixed incomes. If they get Medicare on vouchers, which won't fully cover the costs of their health services, they're going to have to pay for that out-of-pocket. Do you know what? Folks on fixed incomes, they don't have the money to pay for these services out-of-pocket. They will likely end up bankrupt.
The other issue is that a lot of the folks I represent have got multiple health conditions: heart disease, diabetes, arthritis. They all go to different doctors, and very few of the providers actually talk to each other. They also don't coordinate with hospitals or with other long-term health care providers. All of these services by the Medicare providers will be coordinated under our new Affordable Care Act. That's why we need those provisions in place--to better coordinate health care.
I urge my colleagues to table putting Medicare on the voucher. Let's keep our Affordable Care Act. That's the best way our seniors on fixed incomes can get the best health care possible.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Gingrey).
Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. I thank the chairman of the Budget Committee for yielding to me.
Mr. Chairman, I was listening to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. The ranking member of the Budget Committee, our friend from Maryland, talked about the fact that, according to his poster, the Bush tax cuts in the years 2000 to 2006 caused the loss of an untold number of jobs. I have my own statistics which basically show, during that period of time and despite those tax cuts, we had an increased revenue of something like $700 billion.
Now, I'll check my facts with his facts later on, Mr. Chairman, but how in the world could you produce $700 billion of additional revenue when you lose jobs? It's not possible. The fact is that those tax cuts created a broader base, albeit at a lower rate, and they generated more revenue. That's exactly what the chairman of the Budget Committee is talking about in his Path to Prosperity.
Another one of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle stood up and said, according to this budget plan--at least, thank God, we have one. The Democrats couldn't produce one last year because of their fear of the political consequences--Medicare as we know it, by the year 2022, will disappear. How is that possible when, by that time, there will probably be 75 million people on Medicare as we know it before we will go to this premium support plan that Chairman Ryan has proposed?
Our friends on the other side keep saying, You keep giving tax breaks to the rich. Well, according to this plan, the people who are in the top 2 percent of income will only get 30 percent of the premium support, an average of $8,000 a year. The people in the top 8 percent would get 50 percent. So you keep wanting to beat on the producers in society that create the jobs.
Support this plan. It's a great budget.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Chairman, I would remind my friend Mr. Gingrey that, when Mr. Bush became President, he inherited a $5.6 trillion surplus. By the end of the 8 years, it was gone.
Now, with respect to tax rates and jobs, what this chart shows is that, when the highest income earners in the country were paying the lower rates during the Bush administration, you actually lost jobs versus during the Clinton administration when, at the higher rates, 20 million jobs were created.
The point is not that higher tax rates increase jobs. The point is that small differences in the top tax rates are not the main drivers of our economy. They are not the main engines of job growth. The figures tell the story. Trying to tell another story is just anti-historical. The reality is that the numbers show, during the Clinton administration, we had very strong growth. During the Bush years, we ended up losing over 600,000 jobs. So let's at least get our history straight.
With that, I yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentlelady from California (Mrs. Capps).
Mrs. CAPPS. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to the Republicans' misguided budget and attack on Medicare. The issue is not whether we reduce the deficit, but how we do it. Simply put, the Republican plan uses our deficit as an excuse to end Medicare as we know it.
Medicare is a cornerstone of the American Dream, a promise that health care will always be there for our seniors and permanently disabled citizens. But the Republican budget takes away that guarantee, and what does it give our future seniors in return? No guarantee of coverage; a real chance of being denied insurance due to preexisting conditions; and around $6,000 a year in additional out-of-pocket costs, as well as the knowledge that the insurance companies will be well taken care of while they are struggling to get by on their fixed income. And not one aspect of the plan will do anything to reduce the costs of care--it just passes the buck.
This is not a plan for our future. It is a recipe for disaster for our seniors. Forty-five years ago, when seniors were the most uninsured group in our country, we made a promise that health care for seniors would be guaranteed. The Republican voucher proposal breaks that promise.
I urge a ``no'' vote on the Republican budget proposal.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 2 minutes.
I have heard a lot of debate today about how we're slashing taxes, slashing revenues for the rich and for everybody else, and bad oil companies and things like that. Let me just show you a little chart.
Under our budget, revenues rise. Revenues go up over $12 trillion. So revenues still increase. Even keeping the Tax Code where we are today, revenues increase.
Now, the President's plan says he wants to raise them another $1.5 trillion. The gentleman from Maryland's plan wants to raise them another $1.7 trillion. But let's not kid ourselves: Revenues, even under our plan, continue to increase.
Now, we don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. The green line is the revenue line. The red line is the spending line. Revenues are stable, increasing; spending is on a tear, Mr. Chairman. Spending is growing at an unsustainable rate. We can't keep spending money we don't have. If we keep doing this, we're going to have a debt crisis. People are going to get hurt. Interest rates will go up. We will have to cut indiscriminately across the board at the time it happens. We want to avoid that.
The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I yield myself 1 more minute, Mr. Chairman.
Let's talk about the Bush tax cuts, or what happened. Let's talk about the distribution of the tax burden. In 2001, the top 1 percent of earners paid 34 percent of the tax burden. Now they pay 38 percent; a higher tax burden. The top 5 percent in 2001 paid 53 percent of the taxes. Today, the top 5 percent pay 59 percent of the taxes. So on and so forth.
We don't have a revenue problem, a tax problem; we have a spending problem. But here's the real problem. If we don't get our situation under control, we really go in the hole. In 2009, the Government Accountability Office is telling us our fiscal gap, the unfunded promises we are making to current Americans, was $62.9 trillion.
The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has again expired.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I yield myself 1 more minute to explain, Mr. Chairman.
That means we would have to take $62.9 trillion, set it aside, invest it at Treasury rates, just so government can keep the promises that it is now making to everybody in America. In 2009, we owed more than we were worth as total households in America. Last year, 2010, that fiscal gap grew to $76.4 trillion. Now, $99.4 trillion.
We are digging our hole more than $10 trillion a year by kicking the can down the road. Every year we fail to fix this problem, we are submitting our children to a worse future, a diminished country. So the sooner we get our act together, the sooner we fix this problem, the better off we're going to be. If we keep ignoring this, if we keep spending on the path we are on, this fiscal gap, the pile of empty promises that politicians from both parties have been making to Americans gets that much higher.
We have about $100 trillion of empty promises Washington is making to Americans. It is time we tell people the truth. It is time we get government to live within its means, and it is time we get Washington to honor its promises, fix these programs, get spending under control, and give our children a debt-free Nation.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
The gentleman is absolutely right. We need to come up with a plan that puts the country on a predictable, steady course of deficit reduction, and we need to do it in a balanced way.
The chart the chairman showed about revenues presumed we wouldn't have certain changes in the revenue. For example, that we wouldn't say to the wealthiest, we want you to pay the same rates you were paying during the Clinton administration when the economy was roaring and jobs were being created.
There is a reason the bipartisan fiscal commission called the Republican plan unbalanced. And this is what it is. Under the commission plan, they have a balance of spending cuts and revenue increases. For example, they say the folks at the top, they should be paying a little more. In fact, $2.5 trillion more over the next 10 years than the Republican plan. Because they don't do what the commission recommended, they have to cut into Medicaid, which will hurt seniors in nursing homes, disabled individuals, poor kids, everybody who depends on that already stretched program. They have to terminate Medicare. So those are choices they are making. They have made a one-sided, lopsided choice.
I yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Ellison).
Mr. ELLISON. Mr. Chairman, we are in a debate of generational proportions. The promises that were made during the 1960s and before that, and even after that, about expanding our country, making it a greater country, widening its embrace, are now being abdicated. We are seeing a budget, offered by our Budget Committee chairman, that says to our seniors who have cut a path for all of us younger people, You know what? We can't be there for you any more.
We are seeing a budget where we say to our students, who are the intellectual drivers of our economy, we cannot be there for you any more. As a matter of fact, two-thirds of this budget, two-thirds of this budget, two-thirds of the cuts are from low-income programs that serve people who are making it, hardworking Americans who are trying to make it every single day. But that's where the cuts come from.
The question on the table is: What's the proper role of government? We believe the proper role of government is to look after our seniors. They believe grandma has to figure out what she is going to do. We believe that young people have to have an opportunity, and things like the Pell Grant are going to help them and help us. They believe if you are smart enough to go to college, you should pay for it by yourself, or maybe get a high-cost loan to do that.
We have a different vision of America. As a matter of fact, we have a vision that the people who are well to do and the corporations who have done so well should help out more. We believe in equity and a shared burden.
The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. I yield the gentleman an additional 15 seconds.
Mr. ELLISON. We believe in equity and a shared burden. In fact, the big five oil companies have received profits that are enormous when you look at them on this chart.
The gentleman keeps talking about tax reform. I would love to know, what corporate loopholes are you going to close? Are you going to close these Big Oil subsidies, or not?
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Kingston), a
senior member of the Appropriations Committee.
Mr. KINGSTON. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and let me say that I want to be the first one to say we do want to close the tax loopholes for Big Oil. In fact, for the 4 years the Democrats were in charge, we're not sure why they didn't take it on. We are ready to take it on after this 4-year negligence on it.
Think about this, Mr. Chairman: For every dollar we spend, 40 cents is borrowed. Now, if that was happening in your family, you would bring everybody to the kitchen table and you would say, Look, we have got to make some changes here. We can't continue to spend money the way we are doing.
Today, the national debt is 90 percent of the GDP. Spending is approaching 24 percent of the GDP. That's a historic high. We can't get to a balanced budget with a spending gap that high above revenues, and yet that is what we are doing. That is why the Republican budget, the Ryan budget, not just reduces spending by $4 trillion, but changes the trajectory of spending. Because unless we change the pattern and we make some choices for the next generation, important programs like Social Security, like Medicaid, like Medicare, will not be there.
Too often we hear from the liberals in Washington, D.C., the scare tactics: Well, Republicans hate seniors, they hate clean air, they hate education. And that's what we're seeing here tonight. In fact, yesterday the President tried to claim a mulligan on his budget. He actually introduced a budget in February and did not bring in one recommendation of his own deficit reduction commission. Even though I've seen a chart on the floor tonight about it. It sounds great, but it's not in the President's budget because it wasn't presented.
We think it might be a good idea to use some of the recommendations of the deficit reduction commission, and that's what the Ryan budget does. But more importantly, it doesn't do anything to the important entitlement programs for anybody over the age of 55. Medicare will be there for them as it is today. But for younger people, it is not going to be there because it is going broke. That's why we need to make some changes. And giving them a subsidy to help them have more choices in Medicare is the way to save the program.
That's just one of the many aspects of the Ryan budget, and it's well worth supporting.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Chairman, I was pleased to hear my friend is interested in getting rid of the subsidies for Big Oil. We can do it tonight or tomorrow. All you've got to do is vote for the Democratic alternative. And, by the way, you can, at the same time, get rid of the tax breaks that reward companies for shipping American jobs overseas. We don't have to study about it. We don't have to send it to the Ways and Means Committee. We can instruct them tomorrow, tonight, and we will get it done if you vote for the Democratic alternative.
With that, I yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Engel).
Mr. ENGEL. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Chairman, as Ronald Reagan used to say, ``There you go again.''
My Republican friends want to repeal the 20th century. They want to use the budget deficit to kill and destroy every program they have hated all these years, including Medicare and Medicaid.
This budget would roll back 50 years of progress on Medicare and Medicaid and destroy these two programs, which are two of the most important social programs of the past century. It's unconscionable that we would take an ax to these programs to pay for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.
This budget shifts the burden from the wealthiest Americans and puts the burden on the poor and middle class. I understand that my Republican colleagues want to protect their rich friends, but on the Democratic side of the aisle, we care about working people, the middle class, poor people, seniors, and children.
The Republicans last year promised they'd focus on two things if they got the majority: jobs and spending. But all we have seen are repeated attacks on the middle class and lower-income people. We haven't seen a single jobs bill, and their idea of cutting spending is to kill Medicare and Medicaid. Instead of passing this budget, we would be more likely to create jobs by waving a magic wand and saying ``abracadabra.''
In this time of divided government, the American people want us to come together and compromise. But all the legislation we're seeing from the other side is extreme. We need to come together. We do have difficulty. We don't want our children to have a diminished standard of living. But this is not the way to do it, to try to balance the budget on the backs of poor people, on seniors, on children. We need to have a fair and balanced budget.
I urge a ``no'' vote.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to a distinguished member of the Rules and Budget Committees, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Woodall).
Mr. WOODALL. I thank the chairman for yielding.
I tell you we see a lot of shrill things here on the House floor. I want to have a slightly different voice. I just want to tell you how proud I am to be here--how proud I am to be here because, as the gentleman who previously said very accurately, I ran on two things: I ran on cutting spending and I ran on creating jobs. And tonight, because of the hard work of my chairman on the Budget Committee, my colleagues on the Budget Committee, I get to vote tomorrow to do just that--just that. I have been here a hundred days, and I get a vote to change the direction of this country, from driving us off the edge of the cliff to restoring the freedom and economic success that we're known for the world around. A hundred days and I get to make that choice.
Now, I'm thrilled, in the spirit of openness, that we have some alternatives. If you want to raise taxes, you're going to have budgets to get to do that. But if you want to close $2.9 trillion in tax expenditures, in loopholes, in lobbyist-funded giveaways, you've got one budget to choose from, and that's the Ryan budget.
We go after those items that, for whatever reason, folks hadn't gone after in years past. We do those things that, for whatever reason, people couldn't find the courage to do in years past. Vote after vote after vote I presume people had to vote on things they didn't like to vote on. They didn't want to run up spending. They didn't want to increase the debt limit. They didn't want to do those things. But they had to do it.
Folks, tonight I'm here to talk about something I want to do. I cannot wait to come to this floor tomorrow and cast a vote for my children, for America's grandchildren, for the future of this land. And that's a vote in favor of the Ryan budget. I am grateful to my colleagues for giving me that opportunity.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Chairman, I welcome our friend from Georgia, and I would just say that we agree on one thing: that this budget does pose a fundamental choice. And that's what we're here to debate about. And we believe that it's just wrong to be providing another round of big tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans when you're ending the Medicare guarantee, when you're cutting investments in kids' education. Those are choices that we shouldn't be making.
We are going to present, and have presented, a Democratic alternative that we think provides a balanced approach.
With that, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from New York (Mr. Rangel).
Mr. RANGEL. I am so glad you picked me at this time because I want to join the previous speaker in saying that the atmosphere and the attitude here is just too shrill. If we're dealing with the lives and the futures of the generations to follow, it should be in a different way. We should not just be fighting with each other.
So I make an appeal to ministers and priests and rabbis and imams to try to figure out, as we go into these holy holidays, whether or not the screaming is going to help or whether or not we're going to find ourselves with the lesser among us.
I don't know the whole story, but it runs something like: I was hungry, and you didn't give me anything to eat; I was thirsty, and you didn't give me anything to drink; I was sick, and you didn't visit.
Well, it sounds like the answer that's going to be given is: Well, I told the State to take care of you. I'm sorry they didn't. Or, Don't you remember? I'm the guy that gave you a voucher. Or, I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps. Why can't you do it without a scholarship?
No, I think not. This great Nation was built to believe in God we trust. And it just seems to me when you're talking about the lives of our mothers and our grandmothers and the future of our children that all of the things we hoped and dreamed about, it's not going to be shattered by political budget ventures put together by the majority. If it's not stopped here, it's going to be stopped in the Senate or stopped in the White House. But I hope those that are listening that are involved in providing spiritual care, that recognize how important health care is for our sick and our poor, why don't you just write your Congressperson and share with us whether or not you think that we have an obligation to protect the wealthy among us rather than the lesser of our brothers and sisters.
We will be going home for a couple of weeks during these Easter holidays, and I do hope that all of us try to find out which side are we on: the rich or the lesser among us.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from New Mexico (Mr. Pearce).
Mr. PEARCE. I appreciate Chairman Ryan for bringing this issue to the floor.
Mr. Chairman, basically the entire discussion that we're having in Washington right now centers around two figures: We spend 3.5 T, trillion, and we bring in 2.2 T, trillion, in revenues to the government from taxes. Now, it's the bringing together of those numbers that's a difference of opinion here in Washington.
I read the text of the President's speech yesterday--I did not get a chance to listen--and he says that we can close that gap by taxing the millionaires and billionaires. And it sounds so fluid. It comes off so easy. But I will tell you, it's a process that many nations have followed before: tax the millionaires.
I don't know what Bill Sweat in Artesia is worth, but he tells me to create a job it costs $340,000 to buy a new bulldozer and he needs a new pickup truck. So he needs $400,000 in the bank to create a job.
Now our friends on the other side of the aisle--and the President's speech--said we need to be taxing that money away from him. Nancy Pelosi said a couple of years ago we need to tax the profits of the corporations and spend them. But what you do is you take away Mr. Sweat's $400,000 and he doesn't get a new bulldozer, and we don't get a job.
So what we have here is this differential, $1.3 trillion in deficit on these top line figures. That's what we're accruing. Then that goes into our debt barrel, $15 trillion. That's what we have over the life of our country, from George Washington until today, approximately $15 trillion, and we're bringing in 2.2.
Now if we begin to give the tax increases that the President says, we're actually going to squeeze down to 2.2 because companies will not be hiring people. For instance, off the shore of Louisiana, we are now choking off those jobs. And so every job off Louisiana that the government kills takes one person from paying taxes and puts them up here receiving welfare, unemployment and food stamps.
Economic growth is the only thing that can cure this Nation's economic problems. The Ryan budget does that. The President's budget does not do it. Let's support the Ryan budget.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Chairman, I have to show us this chart again because I just need to remind the body that during the Clinton administration, when we had the folks at the very top paying a little bit higher rate, 20 million jobs were created. When that rate was dropped for the high-income earners at the beginning of the Bush administration, not only did it contribute to deficits going up, but at the end of that period over 653,000 jobs were lost.
Now the point isn't, again, that by changing the tax rate that was the driver. The point is that small differences in tax rates are not the main engines of economic opportunity. And we need to make choices here. Again, they choose to provide tax breaks to the folks at the very top and end the Medicare guarantee.
Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Illinois (Ms. Schakowsky), who has been a champion of Medicare, Medicaid, and a whole number of other issues important to our seniors and Americans.
Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
The Republicans are trying to claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility today. It's just ridiculous. They are the party responsible for a decade of fiscal recklessness with two unpaid-for wars, two unpaid-for tax cuts, and a blind eye to Wall Street leading to a disastrous recession. And as the President said yesterday, ``There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending $1 trillion on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.''
This chart illustrates that, from 1979 to 2005, the bottom 20 percent of households saw their incomes increase by a grand total of $200. Over the same period, the top .1 percent here in the red saw income growth of nearly $6 million each year.
There is nothing courageous about a plan that would protect the wealthy and Big Oil and big corporations that ship jobs overseas at the expense of elderly and their Medicare and their Medicaid and the disabled and children.
The Republican budget resolution does not reflect the values of Americans, and I urge my colleagues to reject it soundly.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 minute.
Unshared prosperity, spending money on tax cuts. Mr. Chairman, the presumption behind that is that all the money out there made in America is the government's, and then the government decides who they spend it back to.
We do have different philosophies. The money that people make is their money. And then the question is: How much of it does the government take?
The money made in America by individuals, by businesses, is their money. It's not the government's money. So we don't spend money on tax cuts.
By the way, Mr. Chairman, we're not even cutting taxes in this bill; we're just not raising them. So the new definition of cutting taxes apparently is: If you're against raising taxes, you're cutting them.
I don't even know where to start with this, but I'm going to start by yielding 2 minutes to the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Huelskamp), a member of the Budget Committee.
Mr. HUELSKAMP. Mr. Chairman, we clearly have a choice here in Washington: We can maintain the same old status quo, which favors more spending, more taxes, and more Washington control, or the real American choice, making good on promises made to voters last year by cutting spending and creating jobs. The choice is ours; the opportunity is now.
The Path to Prosperity offers a long, overdue fix to Medicaid. There are many problems with the program, and the costs are out of control, hemorrhaging the budgets of State after State and our Federal Government. Clearly, the answer is not more money; instead, the solution is spending money more wisely and more efficiently.
Governors from all across America have expressed their desires for more flexibility with Medicaid, and this budget offers exactly that. In converting Federal spending on Medicaid to block grants, folks closest to the American people--Governors, legislators and local officials, not some bureaucrat sitting in Washington--will make decisions best for their citizens and design programs that work best for their States and for their people. They will have the freedom to adapt Medicaid to their own State's unique needs and priorities.
Also, because this budget defunds ObamaCare, we are preventing the Federal Government from imposing another mandate on the States. ObamaCare forces States to expand Medicaid eligibility but leaves it up to them how they will pay for it. By supporting this budget, we put a stop to this intrusion of the Federal Government and make Medicaid better for those who truly need it.
This Path to Prosperity will increase the Medicaid budget and provide much needed regulatory reform for the 50 States of this great Union. Only those committed to the status quo--including many of our colleagues across the aisle--can make the ridiculous claim that somehow spending more taxpayer money and pushing more Washington red tape is somehow a solution. By lifting the heavy hand of Washington from Medicaid, we make this program more effective and more efficient for the States to manage these programs and provide compassionate care for the Americans who truly deserve assistance.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Chairman, hardworking American people have been paying their Medicare payroll taxes day in, day out, month in, month out. The choice we have here is whether we are going to make good on that Medicare guarantee or whether we're going to say to the folks at the very top, We just can't take you back to the tax rates that were in place during the Clinton administration.
Why would we say that to people who have been putting their payroll taxes into Medicare? Why would we say we're going to end the Medicare guarantee?
With that, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlelady from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee).
Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. Mr. Chairman, unlike the gentleman from Wisconsin who just doesn't know what to do and seems to be confused on his side of the aisle as to what his budget is all about, I will say that I am getting unconfused because his budget is a destruction of the fabric and the way of life of all Americans.
Do you want to know what the Republican budget does? It cuts food assistance for struggling families; it takes away affordable health care coverage for working families; and, of course, it dismantles the health care safety net. But also, it deals with the education of our children.
As the cochair and founder of the Congressional Children's Caucus, let me show you what happens when we don't educate our children. We can see the numbers of individuals who are unemployed who have not had a high school degree. Our friends and the Republican budget are going to cut education, and they're going to wind up with increasing unemployment because you can see that less of our Americans are being able to go to college, and, therefore, without college, without a high school education, we just undermine a growing child's opportunity.
Let me tell you what else we do. We go from children to their grandparents. I remember standing on the floor of this House trying to prevent the doughnut hole from coming about, but Republicans again established a doughnut hole that millions of seniors have fallen through. In fact, the Republican budget causes seniors to pay some $12,000 on their Medicare. Listen to me clearly, seniors, you will be paying an extra $12,000 with the Republican budget plan. And of course we will open up the doughnut hole again, the very doughnut hole that has been taken care of by the Affordable Care Act.
On the other hand, the Democratic budget balances the budget, and of course it recognizes the value of a shared sacrifice. I just visited Texas soldiers, National Guard. They understand about shared sacrifice; they support each other. But this is a suicidal budget. It has no shared sacrifice, and all of the cuts come from the most vulnerable.
The Republican plan is all about turning back the clock and throwing the poor people over the bridge. That is what it's all about. It is a disgrace. Vote for the Democratic Budget.
Mr. Chair, I rise in opposition to the Republican Budget for Fiscal Year 2012 and beyond. Unlike the proposed Democratic Budget, the Republican Budget purports to reduce our nation's deficit by making disturbingly deep cuts to important programs and will have an adverse affect on our nation's families, children, and the health of women.
The Republican Budget:
Guts Food Assistance for Struggling Families. The budget resolution calls for $127 billion in cuts to SNAP (formerly called food stamps) in a six-year period (2015 through 2021). This proposal to block-grant and reduce funding represents a cut of 25 percent in food benefits for some of the most vulnerable Americans. States will be forced to cut benefits to some households or create waiting lists for needy families.
Takes Away Affordable Health Coverage for Millions of Working Families. The majority's budget resolution calls for $1.4 trillion in savings from repealing coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which Congress enacted a year ago to hold insurance companies accountable and extend health coverage to more than 30 million Americans who would otherwise be uninsured. This would mean repealing $777 billion in tax credits to help low- and middle-income families afford health insurance coverage.
Dismantles Health Care Safety Net for Vulnerable Populations. The majority's budget devastates health security for 28 million poor children, 5 million seniors, and 10 million disabled individuals who rely on Medicaid for a basic safety net of health care.
To protect tax cuts for the wealthy, the budget includes the absurd idea to dismantle the Medicaid program and to let the chips fall where they may, no matter who might get hurt. The real hard choices are left to others: state governors, who will decide which populations or health services to drop; health care providers, whose Medicaid payments might get cut so low they will have to decide whether they can afford to continue providing services to Medicaid beneficiaries; low-income families, who may have to decide between buying groceries and taking a sick child to a doctor; and adults with aging parents, who may have to decide between sending a child to college or paying for their parents' long-term care.
The Democratic Budget:
Democratic budget reduces the deficit responsibly, reaches primary balance by 2018. The Democratic budget reduces the deficit by $1.2 trillion more than the President's budget over ten years.
Includes Pell grant and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) initiatives. The Democratic budget includes two mandatory initiatives that are fully paid for with spending reductions. First, it includes the President's proposed mandatory funding to sustain the maximum Pell grant award at $5,550, in contrast to the Republican budget, which cuts Pell grant funding substantially.
The Democratic Budget protects Medicaid and the Medicare guarantee for seniors. The Democratic budget protects Medicare's guarantee of health care coverage for seniors and disabled workers. It also preserves the existing structure of Medicaid that provides a health care safety net for vulnerable children, families, seniors, and persons with disabilities. In contrast, the Republican budget dismantles Medicaid and ends Medicare by converting it into an inadequate voucher for the purchase of private insurance.
I would urge all Members of Congress to oppose the Republican Budget and instead support the Democratic Budget to responsibly cut spending and give America's families, women and children a chance.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Oklahoma, a member of the Budget Committee, Mr. Lankford.
(Mr. LANKFORD asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. LANKFORD. This is a little surreal to walk in the Chamber and be able to hear that somehow Republicans are interested in throwing old people off the bridge and that somehow old people--that we're focused on all of these things: that we hate those in poverty, and we hate our own parents, and we hate all of these other things.
In reality, as a newcomer walking into this body, I walk into a Chamber saying, We came to get things done. And the driving factor that I walked in this Chamber with is the reality that we have $14 trillion in debt. Now, that's hard to be able to wrap your head around, $14 trillion in debt. So the way I try to wrap my head around it is with an old illustration from me personally.
I remember being 9 years old watching the Voyager spacecraft take off and thinking it will take forever for the Voyager spacecraft to get all the way up to Saturn and to Jupiter. It would take all of 10 years to get out there. But I remember when those pictures were done, and they were sent back, and how significant they were.
Now, just imagine this: in 1977 when the Voyager 1 spacecraft took off, if it started dropping a dollar a mile from the time it took off, how long would it take it to drop $14 trillion? Now, remember, the Voyager spacecraft has been out 34 years. It is still operating. It has left the solar system now. It is past Pluto, headed out of the solar system. If it dropped a dollar a mile since the time it took off, it will drop $14 trillion 41,801 years from now. A spacecraft that's already flown out of our solar system will have to continue flying at the same speed another 41,801 years from now.
It is surreal for us to stand here and to be able to not take seriously the amount of spending that we do and how out of control we really are. This is not just a tax problem. This is a long-term issue that's not Republican and Democrat. We have both spent too much money. It is time for us to pull our own budget back and to take this seriously.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. I, too, remember the Voyager spacecraft and also the Apollo program and Moon launch. Great examples of things that individuals and corporations can't do by themselves, things that we have to do by coming together as a people behind a purpose.
The Republican budget, if you look at the long-term forecast provided by CBO, essentially says when you project out here, given the assumptions they were given, you eliminate all of the Federal Government except defense--and even defense is at a smaller share of GDP when you get out there than it is today. That is the kind of result that you get.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. I yield to the gentleman from Wisconsin.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. That is because GDP growth grows at a faster pace than government. So it is not as if government goes away. Government keeps spending; government keeps defense and education. It's just that the economy outgrows the size of government, and we're on a virtuous path to more prosperity, more opportunity.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Reclaiming my time, look, the issue here is what is the appropriate role and size of government. There is no doubt that we have to take what we think should be a balanced approach that involves both cuts and, as the fiscal commission, the bipartisan fiscal commission says, you've got to deal with the revenue piece if you're going to do deal with this problem in a realistic way.
With that, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Scott).
Mr. DAVID SCOTT of Georgia. Thank you very much, Mr. Van Hollen. I appreciate it. Let me commend you for the excellent leadership that you are providing in this fight.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Congress, this is America. This is the greatest country in the world. And we are great because we have certain values. Paramount among those values is the sense of fairness.
Now, let me tell you what the flaw is in the Republican budget. The flaw in the Republican budget is it is not fair. Whatever polls we read, wherever we look, the American people are beginning to see it. How can you justify cutting seniors, cutting young people, cutting the low-income, cutting the middle class while at the same time giving over a trillion dollars to billionaires and millionaires in this country? That is the disconnect, Mr. Speaker.
I don't care which side you're on or where you are in this country. The American people know that we, yes, must bring down our deficit and cut this debt. It has become a national security issue.
For 8 years since I've been in Congress I have been arguing for that, standing up for paying down our debt. During the years of the Bush administration, which, let's tell the truth, was a primary cause of us being in the position that we're in now to have three wars going at the same time.
And so ladies and gentlemen, in conclusion I'm just saying that the point we have to make is it is not fair to cut this budget on the backs of the poor, the elderly, and the young while at the same time giving billionaires over a trillion dollars.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I will give myself a minute to simply say again just to clear up for the record, if you're a person who is 55 years of age or older, there's no change in Medicare for you. The Medicare you're on or that you're organizing your life and getting ready to prepare for when you retire will be there as it is forever for your life under our proposal.
Contrary to the status quo. Medicare goes bankrupt in 9 years. Status quo, the President has a new board called the Independent Payment Advisory Board; 15 people he appoints. They ration Medicare. They put price controls in Medicare. They decide what Medicare can do or what it can't do. Congress is out of the loop. Unelected bureaucrats by the President, his people, they do it. And the President just yesterday said, You know what? Go cut more. Go get more savings. That's the status quo.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlelady from North Carolina (Ms. Foxx).
Ms. FOXX. I thank my colleague from Wisconsin for the exceptional leadership he has been bringing to this House on this issue of the budget.
I want to say I agree with my colleague from Georgia. We are the greatest country in the world. We also have the smartest people in the world, and they're not going to buy this demagoguery anymore.
The President and Democratic political strategists are engaged in demagoguery of the worst sort. Yesterday the President accused us of wanting to leave sick kids to fend for themselves. But we've heard this before.
On the eve of the 1996 welfare reform, Senator Frank Lautenberg voiced his concern that the bill would transform America into a Third World nation leaving ``children hungry and homeless, begging for money, begging for food and even at 8 and 9 years old engaging in prostitution.''
Senator Carol Moseley-Braun trumped Lautenberg by wondering aloud whether the welfare reform bill would prompt the widespread auctioning of abandoned children into slavery. Jill Nelson of The Nation did them one better by predicting that ``working- and middle-class communities all over America will become scary, violent wastelands.'' Representative Jim McDermott made a more prosaic prediction that within 2 years of enactment, the bill would ``put 1.5 million to 2.5 million children into poverty.'' Even Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned that the law would ``have children sleeping on grates.''
What happened? Child poverty rates fell by 1 percent per year in the 5 years following the passage of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, and they remain below 1995 levels, even though the Nation is still emerging from a severe recession. Transforming welfare, by among other things block granting the program and giving States more control over its implementation, cut caseloads in half against a backdrop of falling poverty rates. In almost every particular, the critics were wrong.
The aim of the social safety net should be to empower individuals, putting them in stronger position to achieve. Government can play a positive role in this area with policies aimed at helping those who are down on their luck get back on their feet.
The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I yield the gentlewoman an additional 30 seconds.
Ms. FOXX. This budget strengthens the social safety net and promotes policies that help people recover from poverty and lead self-sufficient lives.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, we ask every American to read this budget, this Republican budget, and see whether or not it reflects their values and the choices that they would make. We believe when they do that they will reach the same conclusion that the bipartisan fiscal commission did, which is that it's simply unbalanced, it's simply unfair. It puts all the burden of the sacrifice on working men and women. And it does provide those folks at the very top once again--we've seen it before--with a big tax break.
When it comes to Medicare, it's a fact seniors are no longer going to be able to choose to stay in Medicare. They're going to be forced into the private insurance market with ever-increasing costs and ever-declining support. That is rationing care. That's what insurance companies do. If you don't have enough money to buy the benefits that they are offering, you don't get them. If your doctor's not on that plan, tough luck.
So those are the choices that we're making this evening. And I hope as we go forward the American people will look very closely at this proposal. I'm confident they'll reach the same conclusion the bipartisan fiscal commission did, which is it's just not balanced, and it doesn't reflect American values and priorities. Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I yield myself 2 minutes, Madam Chair.
Now, let's take a look at what our drivers of the debt are: Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare. The health care entitlements are the biggest drivers. The black line here shows our revenues. These three programs alone take up all Federal revenues. You throw interest on top, which you have to pay interest, by 2035 they consume every single penny of every Federal tax everybody pays.
Now, why are we proposing what we're proposing on Medicare? Because we have experience that this kind of thing works. Giving people more choices, having more competition works. Prescription drugs. That's a program, very successful, very popular. When that program was passed, it was projected to cost $634 billion over the budget window. It ended up costing $373 billion. It came in 41 percent below budget. Premiums are lower than were anticipated. Name me one other government program that actually came in 41 percent below cost projections. There isn't one. Why did this one do that? Choice, competition. The senior is in charge.
We are not interested, Madam Chair, in giving control over Medicare to 15 unelected people to decide where, when, how, and under what circumstances they get their Medicare. We protect Medicare for current seniors. We deny the 15 people on the board the ability to ration their care. And we want 40 million seniors to have the choices. We want them to be in control of their Medicare.
The Acting CHAIR (Ms. Foxx). The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I yield myself an additional 30 seconds.
Because what we have learned is that giving them more control, the senior, the beneficiary, the patient, not the government--competition works. We've tried so many different plans at rationing care. They don't work. One person does work to reduce prices: The consumer. That is why we are saving Medicare.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Madam Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I have to say that to say this plan saves Medicare is in my view Orwellian. It does remind me of the phrase from many years ago that you have to destroy the village in order to save it. I have to say that if you look at what we're doing here, you're saying to seniors you've got to go into the private insurance market.
Now, the chairman mentioned a couple other examples of the private market. But in this case we've already experimented, through Medicare Advantage, with that kind of private plan within Medicare. And you know what we discovered? That you had to subsidize them at 114 percent of the fee-for-service program. It cost us more for Medicare Advantage. In fact, one of the reforms that we made as part of the Affordable Care Act was to say we're not going to ask the taxpayers and folks who are on Medicare fee-for-service to subsidize those private plans that are running over cost. And you know what? In this budget our Republican colleagues kept that reform. If it was so great to have the Medicare Advantage plan, how come they took part of the savings from that plan? They did not.
So it is a big mistake to say to seniors we're going to throw you into the private insurance market with an ever-declining voucher premium. The reason this isn't premium support, it doesn't support the premium. What Federal employees and Members of Congress have is a premium support system through a fair share formula. This is not a fair share for seniors.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Madam Chair, I will just simply say we do actually put $10 billion back into Medicare Advantage to make sure the program stays alive.
I yield 2 minutes to a member of the Budget Committee, the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Huelskamp).
Mr. HUELSKAMP. Madam Chairman, as a freshman I guess I am a little confused here on the floor of the House listening to this debate about the budget. And I guess I am a little confused which party was in charge of this Chamber for the last 4 years as we ran up trillions and trillions and trillions of deficits. The concern wasn't about deficits. The concern was about spending and how much more could we do, and how much more could we throw into the economy. We look at the results today: Unemployment levels that we haven't seen for a long time, Madam Chairman.
I guess as we debate and discuss this budget, of course we might be a little bit rusty. It's my understanding it's been a couple years since we even allowed a budget debate on the floor. I welcome that debate. But one thing that was mentioned, read the Path to Prosperity. I agree. I agree with my colleagues, please read the bill. Please do. And here is what you will find.
A Path to Prosperity we believe runs not through Washington, not through this floor, certainly not through the other Chamber, but the Path to Prosperity in this country runs through the hard work of entrepreneurs, a flatter, fairer tax system, closed tax loopholes, regulatory reform, work rather than welfare.
The result is this, Madam Chairman. We expect a million new jobs potentially might be created if we get Washington out of the way, as we see in the Path to Prosperity.
Madam Chairman, ideas have consequences. And we believe, this plan believes in one thing, in the power of the American people, not Washington elites. This plan, this budget is about liberty and freedom, Madam Chairman. I hope and pray 2011 will be remembered not for what we do here, but for whether or not the end result of our actions will help us restore the American Dream in this country.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Madam Chairman, I yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Garamendi), former insurance commissioner for the State of California.
Mr. GARAMENDI. Madam Chair, for 8 years I was the insurance commissioner in California. And for 8 years I battled the health insurance industry. What we heard on the floor was that 2011, what will we remember? What it will be remembered for is the death of Medicare, the demise, the death of Medicare. The most successful insurance program, the most successful health insurance program in this Nation.
It works. It is efficient. It is effective. It is a nationwide standard policy available to every American 65 years of age and older and some of those who are younger.
I heard the author of this bill a moment ago saying competition would make it better. In fact, it does not. In fact, it does not.
The private health insurance industry is inefficient. It is ineffective, it is discriminatory and it clearly, clearly harms customers. There is a profit motive that has to be paid for. There are compensations for the sale and compensations for those who sell the insurance. All of that adds up.
It is also extremely inefficient in that there are multiple policies, multiple people that have to be paid, insurance companies that have to be paid, different deductions, different copays. All of that is out there.
The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. I yield the gentleman an additional 15 seconds.
Mr. GARAMENDI. My Republican colleagues have done everything they can to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, which had insurance reform in it. Without the insurance reform, which clearly they want to do away with, you are throwing senior citizens to the sharks, to health insurance.
I urge us not to do that.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Madam Chair, I yield myself 30 seconds.
I would simply say we have new data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on national health care expenditures. In 2009, the last year we have data available, Medicare costs grew by 7.9 percent. Private health insurance plans costs grew by 1.3 percent.
Mr. GARAMENDI. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I will not yield to the gentleman.
With that, Madam Chair, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Duffy).
Mr. DUFFY. Madam Chairwoman, as a freshman in this House, it has been unique to sit and see one of the age-old tactics that takes place, scaring seniors, not to move the ball down the field, but for political points. The gentleman was just referencing Medicare and telling the American people that it's not broken, that it's going to continue to work.
These are CBO charts. If you take a look at them, it's broken. We can't afford it.
We have to reform this program to save it, and to deny that is trying to scare seniors for your own political gain, and I think that's shameless.
Mr. GARAMENDI. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. DUFFY. No, I won't.
I think we have to be honest with the American people, come out and say you know what, this is a program that if we can reform it, we can save it for our retirees. But not only that, those who are about to retire, 55 and older, we can save the program for them as well. And we can modify the program for those of us in later generations.
But let's not try to scare our seniors tonight and tell them that this plan is going to take away their care, because it's not. This plan, and its proposal, is that those who are 55 and older are going to continue to get the same plan that exists today.
The reforms are for future generations, and with those reforms we are guaranteeing that current retirees get the benefits that we promised them. If you say you care about our seniors, you would join with us, and we would all work to resolve this issue and make sure our grandmas and our grandpas continue to get the benefits that our country has promised them.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Madam Chairman, may I inquire how much time remains?
The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Maryland has 2 1/4 minutes. The gentleman from Wisconsin has 7 3/4 minutes.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Woodall).
Mr. WOODALL. Madam Chair, I am glad I had the opportunity to speak after my freshman colleague from Wisconsin.
I was down on the floor earlier. I walked back to my office. I asked Mr. Maroney, who is answering the phones in my office, What are you hearing about? Are you hearing about the continuing resolution?
He said, No. I said, Are you hearing about the budget debate? He said, Not really. I said, What are you hearing about? He said, I am hearing from seniors who are scared. I am hearing from folks on Medicare who are scared.
Now, who does that surprise? It doesn't surprise me, and I don't know what the goal was when we went down this scare tactic path. I will say to the ranking member, I know you know better.
You've got a persuasive case to make, a persuasive case to make for why your vision is better than our vision, but you're scaring people.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. WOODALL. I will yield to have the gentleman tell me if anyone age 55 or older will be affected.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Isn't it true that the Republican budget reopens the prescription--
Mr. WOODALL. If the ranking member is not going to answer my question, I will not yield. You should be ashamed.
I reclaim my time.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. And that's because you don't like the answer you're going to hear.
The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Georgia controls the time.
Mr. WOODALL. I reclaim my time to say we have honest debates here. We have honest disagreements here. But folks are scared because you're scaring them and you know good and well you don't need to.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. WOODALL. I want to associate myself with Mr. Duffy's comments that we could get together and solve this problem, or we can just choose to scare people.
Mr. GARAMENDI. If the gentleman would yield, I will answer his question.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. WOODALL. I will yield to the gentleman to tell me if anyone age 55 years of age or over will have their benefits changed in any way.
The Acting CHAIR. Will all Members please suspend.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Yes, they will have their prescription drug benefit changed.
Mr. GARAMENDI. Point of order ma'am.
The Acting CHAIR. Will Members please suspend.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Madam Chair, the House is not in order.
Mr. GARAMENDI. Madam Chair, a point of order.
The Acting CHAIR. All Members are reminded to address their remarks to the Chair.
Mr. GARAMENDI. Thank you.
Mr. RYAN. I yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Mulvaney).
Mr. MULVANEY. Madam Chairwoman, I wanted to speak very briefly to a topic that was raised earlier tonight by my colleague, Mr. Ellison from Minnesota. It is a comment, a message that has been repeated several times tonight and was, in fact, repeated several times during the committee process, which dealt with the subsidies that we give to Big Oil, to oil and gas.
I will tell my folks, especially my colleague from Maryland (Mr. Van Hollen), that I share the frustrations that you have with those types of subsidies. I also share the frustrations that I have with other members of my conference that alternative energies receive seven times as many subsidies in the Tax Code as oil and gas. In fact, if you take the subsidy, the excise tax credit for ethanol, that number rises to 10 times.
So I do share your frustrations with the amount of tax credits that the code currently gives to oil and gas. But I am 10 times as frustrated, Madam Chairwoman, with the subsidies that we give to alternative energies.
I would invite, Madam Chairwoman, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who have that same frustration to join us and vote for the budget. It's the best chance they are going to get this year to get rid of these subsidies as part of this process of closing the loopholes, lowering the tax rates and broadening the base.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Madam Chair, I yield myself the balance of my time.
The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Maryland is recognized for 2 1/4 minutes.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. We've had a spirited debate this evening about fundamental choices that we need to make as a country. We all agree that we have to reduce our deficits in a predictable, steady way. The question is how do you do it, and we believe, as did the cochairs of the bipartisan fiscal commission, that the Republican plan is unbalanced; and it's unbalanced because it asks very little of the folks at the very top and reduces dramatically our investments in our kids' education and it does end the Medicare guarantee.
Seniors will no longer be able to stay in the Medicare program. They will be forced into the insurance program. It immediately does end the prescription drug benefit, something we worked hard to close, the doughnut hole.
It ends the effort that was put in place under the Affordable Care Act to end the doughnut hole. So I would say to the gentleman from Georgia who spoke earlier, those seniors who are calling his office, they will lose that benefit in closing the doughnut hole right away if this Republican budget passes.
For other seniors and people who have been paying in the Medicare system through their payroll taxes, we want to make sure they have the benefit of the Medicare guarantee. Throwing them into the private insurance market and giving them a deal that Members of Congress do not give ourselves is wrong. It is absolutely wrong.
We have a fair share deal, and we are asking seniors to take a raw deal. We have a true premium support system for Members of Congress where the Federal Government shares the risk of increasing costs. Under the Republican plan, they are asking seniors to do what they don't want Members of Congress to do: take all the risk of the rising costs.
Those are not choices that reflect American values and priorities. We should not be giving tax breaks to the folks at the top and ending the Medicare guarantee.
Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Madam Chair, I yield myself the remainder of the time.
First, let me say with respect to the Medicare guarantee, we keep hearing that. As you know, because we've said it over and over again, in our budget--by the way, go to budget.house.gov if you want to read the plan. I encourage people to please do that.
With the new Medicare plan with people 54 and below, it's a Medicare guarantee. The plan you will be given to select from, just like a system that works like the one we have, like the prescription drug benefit plan, they are guaranteed plans. You are guaranteed to get them if you want them, and your subsidy is guaranteed.
Now, we simply say, wealthy people shouldn't get as much of a subsidy as everyone else. Lower income people should get a bigger subsidy. And as people get sicker, they, too, should get a bigger subsidy to protect their premiums.
And I would simply say the greatest danger, enemy and threat to Medicare is the status quo. Medicare goes insolvent in 9 years.
But let me look at this from a different perspective. We've had a lot of debt before in our country. When you buy a house or a car or get a business loan, you get debt. What matters is how big is your debt relative to your ability to pay it. What also matters is: Who are you borrowing it from? Are you borrowing it from your local community bank? Are you borrowing it from your brother-in-law? Fine.
Where are we borrowing our money from? We used to lend it to ourselves. Americans would buy T bills and lend it to ourselves. In 1970, 5 percent was held by foreigners, 95 percent by Americans. In 1990, 19 percent of our debt was held by foreigners. Today, 47 percent of our debt is held by other countries. Number one is China. We are borrowing 42 cents of every dollar today, and half of that from other countries, the number one being China.
Look at where we're headed. We have a crushing burden of debt. The debt goes to double the size of the economy, then triple the size of the economy, to eight times the size of the economy. The CBO tells us the economy crashes in 2037. Their computers can't figure out how the American economy can grow past the year 2037 because of the debt burdens.
We can't keep borrowing money from other countries to cash flow our government. We are giving them our sovereignty. We are losing control of our own destiny. We are giving our children a debt prison.
Why is this happening? Because politicians from both political parties have been making promises and promises that are empty. We need to get government to live within its means. We can't keep spending money we don't have.
By the way, you don't fix this by raising taxes and raising taxes and raising taxes. You fix this by cutting spending--novel idea. I know it is in Washington.
So we're going to start. We're going to start by cutting $6.2 trillion in spending. We're going to start by putting the right policies in place to grow the economy. We're going to start by keeping the promise to people who have retired so that their Medicare and Social Security is there for them. We're going to start by saving these programs for future generations so they're not empty promises. We're going to start by preserving our social safety net and making it more adaptive, resilient and sustainable for the 21st century.
We want to repair the social safety net so it works. And we want to gear it not toward keeping people on welfare, but getting them back on their feet into lives of self-sufficiency so they, too, can flourish and reach the American Dream. We're going to start by passing this budget so that we can give our children a debt-free nation, so we can maintain the legacy of America, which every generation prior to ours upheld, which has given the next generation a more prosperous America, a better chance, a better chance at securing the American Dream.
If we don't do this, if we don't fix this, if we don't make the tough choices now to get this under control, we will be the first generation to sever that legacy. And, Madam Chair, that's a disgrace. It is within our control. We see this coming. We know what's happening. We know why it's happening. And if we don't fix this before it gets out of control, shame on us.
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