Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) today voted in support of a Democratic budget plan focused on job creation, economic growth, and a balanced approach to deficit reduction. The Democratic Budget was offered as an alternative to the Ryan Budget which would end the guarantee of Medicare and undermine job creation initiatives.
"Our nation's budget is a statement of our priorities and values," said Congresswoman Baldwin. "My test for a budget proposal is whether it is good for middle class Wisconsin families. The Ryan Budget fails that test. In these challenging economic times, our highest priority must be job creation and economic growth. I support a balanced approach to meet our nation's fiscal challenges. We must preserve the Medicare guarantee, provide tax relief for working families, and make the investments necessary to keep our country moving forward," Baldwin said.
Baldwin blasted the Ryan proposal which was adopted on a largely party line vote (228-191). The Ryan Budget ends the guarantee of Medicare and replaces it with a plan that would provide vouchers for the purchase of insurance that would not keep pace with rising medical costs.
"Medicare is a great American success story. It guarantees that seniors are not bankrupted by medical bills or denied coverage when they most need it. We should ensure that guarantee for future generations, not deny it," Baldwin said.
The Ryan Budget would also make deep cuts to non-defense spending. His plan calls for cuts of $879 billion, but does not specify where those cuts would be made. If made across the board, it would require deep cuts in student loans and slash investments in scientific and medical research.
The Ryan plan also includes the elimination of unspecified tax deductions which could extend to many deductions relied upon by middle class families, including those for mortgage interest and charitable contributions. By not specifying these cuts, the Ryan Budget hides its true impact on Wisconsin's middle class families. Yet, it would extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest and provide an additional tax break to those earning the most.
The Democratic Budget alternative included investments in infrastructure, tax credits for job creation, and initiatives to promote the hiring of teachers, first responders, and veterans that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs. It would have invested in expanding life-saving medical research, strengthening innovative manufacturing, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
The Democratic Budget would have instituted the "Buffett Rule" to require millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share in taxes. Small businesses would also have gained increased access to Small Business Administration loans under the Democratic plan.
It also would have prevented an increase in the interest rate for some student loans. The Ryan Budget will allow the Stafford Loan interest rate to double, from 3.4 to 6.8 percent on July 1, 2012. Congresswoman Baldwin had offered an amendment to the Ryan Budget to keep the loan rate as it is, but her amendment was blocked.
Baldwin said, "I supported a budget that cuts government spending without hurting Wisconsin's middle class. Today we are spending $2 billion a day in Afghanistan. Our Democratic Budget would end our involvement there and redirect those resources to bring down our nation's deficit."