Congressman Tim Bishop announced his strong opposition to the Republican Budget plan passed in the Budget Committee last night that doubles down on last year's proposal to expand tax breaks for special interests at the expense of seniors, who would pay thousands more for health care and lose Medicare's guarantee of coverage under the proposal. The plan is expected to come to a vote in the full House of Representatives next week.
Authored by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and championed by the Tea Party wing of the GOP under the leadership of Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the Budget plan gradually transfers health care costs from the government to retirees by privatizing Medicare, subjecting seniors to the private insurance market with a voucher that would not keep pace with inflation in medical costs.
It also proposes to reopen the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap, increasing seniors' drug costs by up to $44 billion through 2020, including $3.2 billion in 2012 alone. The Ryan-Cantor Budget forces a $1.7 trillion cut over the next decade in Medicaid, which currently spends two-thirds of its funding on nursing home care for low-income seniors and disabled Americans.
"The Ryan-Cantor budget eliminates the Medicare guarantee, which is the bedrock of retirement security. Frankly, I'm stunned that the Republican Party wants to go back to the days before Medicare when seniors could go bankrupt if they get sick," said Bishop. "A coupon to offset the cost of private insurance without comprehensive coverage is not Medicare, and this plan undermines our nation's promise to seniors of an affordable retirement."
The Ryan-Cantor plan also proposes to cut highway funding by 25% and mass transit funding by 50%, putting more construction workers out of a job and undermining the flow of goods and services. Suffolk County job engines Brookhaven National Lab and Stony Brook University would be forced to absorb the impact of cuts to investment in science, medical research, and space and technology totaling over $11 billion by 2014.
Despite its draconian cuts to every segment of the budget except Defense and reliance on accounting gimmicks, the Ryan-Cantor budget is so laden with tax cuts it cannot claim to come into balance until 2040. The plan reduces income tax rates for top earners by $1 trillion, providing Americans with incomes over $1 million per year with an average tax cut of at least $150,000. The plan also proposes a new tax break that rewards corporations for shipping American jobs overseas as well as preserving existing taxpayer giveaways to Big Oil and loopholes for Wall Street hedge fund managers.
"Incredibly, once again the GOP demands that America's seniors and middle class families scrape by with less to finance a massive reduction in tax rates and giveaways to special interests like Big Oil and corporate outsourcers," said Congressman Bishop. "This budget doesn't tackle the deficit problem, and would dramatically accelerate the decay of the middle class that has resulted from Republican policies over the last thirty years."
Bishop is a member of the "Go Big" Coalition of 100 bipartisan House members who support a plan to reduce the deficit by $4 Trillion over 10 years with a balanced mix of spending reductions and closing tax loopholes to increase revenue. The Ryan-Cantor Budget only claims to yield $3.3 trillion of deficit reduction over the next decade despite the fact that it contains $5.3 trillion in spending cuts.