Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), a leading progressive voice in Congress, today strongly criticized the Republicans' destructive budget proposals, including both the deal cut for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011 funding, and the Republican budget for Fiscal Year 2012. As Congress voted on multiple budgets over the last two days, the Congresswoman made it clear she does not support any plan that takes money away from programs and services to help the least fortunate Americans, while giving away money to ultra-rich individuals and corporations.
Yesterday, Congress voted on a deal to keep the government operating through September 30th. "Though no one, including myself, wanted the government to shutdown, I could not in good conscience vote for a deal that took money away from community health clinics, which help low-income people in both urban and rural areas; Community Development Block Grants, which fund infrastructure development in underserved areas; and public housing funds that provide safe, decent and affordable housing to low-income families, seniors and the disabled.
The House then voted today on five different budget alternatives, two of which the Congresswoman strongly supported. On the House floor speaking out in support of the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget alternative, known as the "People's Budget," Congresswoman Waters said, "During the last Administration, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle maxed out the nation's credit card for wars and [tax cuts for] the rich, all the while saying "deficits don't matter'. Now they're using our deficit crisis as the rationale to undermine programs that they never supported, and push a divisive, social agenda that is a side-show to our budget debate."
"The People's Budget would put us on the path to a budget surplus by bringing our brave men and women home from war; ending tax breaks for people and companies that don't need them; making key investments in jobs and education; and strengthening the social safety net for our nation's most vulnerable."
Congresswoman Waters also strongly supports the Congressional Black Caucus budget alternative, which lays out a plan to achieve fiscal responsibility by setting aside over $1 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade while at the same time preserving support for programs that assist women, children, low-income people, seniors, and the disabled, and making critical investments in job training, expanded educational opportunities, and transportation infrastructure.
"Time and again, you hear people say that a budget should be a reflection of our priorities as a people and as a nation. The People's Budget and the CBC Budget alternatives are strong reflections of the priorities I believe in. That's why I'm extremely disappointed by the Republican FY 2012 budget plan that guts Medicaid by giving the states block grants; ends Medicare as we know it and replaces it with a healthcare coupon for seniors; does nothing to reign in growing and unsustainable military spending; and actually lowers tax rates for top-earning individuals and corporations that move money and jobs overseas.
"No one disagrees about the need to reduce the deficit. However, Democrats must continue to draw sharp distinctions for their constituents about how each party would go about it: end war, make the wealthy pay their fair share, and uphold the nation's safety net? Or end Medicare and Medicaid, allow defense spending to balloon, and repeal health care reform for millions of Americans?
"These are the choices being presented to the American people, and I believe that the majority of Americans, while serious about spending restraints, do not want to balance budgets on the backs of children, the poor, the disabled, and the elderly. So I encourage my colleagues to convene their constituents in meetings and town halls, to inform them of the impact of budget cuts on their communities, and implore them to make their voices heard."