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Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman for yielding.

I want to call to the attention of all of our colleagues and those who follow the work of Congress the extraordinary contribution that Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen has made to this debate. He has led our Democratic members on the Budget Committee in a way that reflects the values of our country: how we can meet the needs of our children, their health, their education, and the economic security of their families.

When people ask me what are the three most important issues facing the Congress, I always say the same thing: our children, our children, our children. And the issues that are addressed in the budget address the needs of our children directly and the families in which they live.

I watched with great pride the debate and the strong distinction that has been made between a values-based budget, put forth by the Democrats, that supports a thriving middle class, and the Ryan Republican Tea Party budget that upholds millionaires over the middle class.

We are here today because the Republicans in the House have decided over and over again to walk away from a bipartisan, bicameral agreement that we reached to avert economic crisis and to reduce our deficit and to honor the full faith and credit of the United States of America. They are walking away and punishing the middle class, because they refuse to close even one special interest tax loophole to reduce our deficit. They are putting Big Oil and millionaires ahead of America's middle-income families.

In recent weeks, House Republicans have voted twice--not once, but twice; here we go again, in the words of a great Republican President--have voted twice to pass a budget that gives massive tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans while ending the Medicare guarantee and increasing cost for seniors in the meantime. That is an absolute fact. Today Republicans are voting to begin implementing their out-of-touch budget, and middle class people, seniors, women, and children will pay the price.

Consider these few things. I know that members of the committee have made the case, but I just want to focus on a few things that affect people very directly in their lives.

This Republican-Ryan-Tea Party budget will assault women's health by eliminating the Prevention Fund: 326,000 women would not get the breast cancer screening they're slated to receive next year; 248,000 women would not get the cervical cancer screening they're slated to receive next year. Those are big numbers, but every individual case is important to the families that those women live in.

So the numbers are staggering, but the specific cases are what is important, and this is hundreds of thousands.

This budget would harm children and seniors, literally taking food out of the mouths of babies, as nearly 300,000 children would lose free or reduced-cost school meals--300,000 kids. Wait a minute. We're going to give a $400,000 tax cut to people making over $1 million a year, and we're going to take food from 300,000 children to do that.

1.7 million seniors would lose Meals on Wheels--people are familiar with that in their neighborhoods, in their communities--and other services.

It would put Wall Street ahead of middle class and working families by weakening the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In the Wall Street reform bill, we not only had the biggest changes in regulations so that the recklessness on Wall Street would no longer cause joblessness on Main Street--the recklessness of some. I don't paint everyone with the same brush. The recklessness of some on Wall Street would not create, again, massive joblessness on Main Street.

In that same legislation--and they were the biggest regulation changes in a long time, decades--the biggest change in history was in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This budget weakens consumer protection. That's just not right.

So, here we are again with the Republican budget, to name a few.

In contrast to this draconian Republican bill, Democrats are fighting for a balanced approach that creates jobs, expands opportunity, reduces the deficit, protects the health and economic security of America's families, and honors the entrepreneurial spirit of America.

Republicans are focused on obstruction rather than solutions. Americans have rejected Republican obstructionism and made it clear over and over again: We must work together to find solutions.

Because this legislation will have a devastating impact, it's opposed by numerous organizations, from Easter Seals, to the National Women's Law Center, to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Voices for America's Children.

As the Obama administration wrote in expressing their strong opposition to this bill, the bill's unbalanced provisions fail the test of fairness and shared responsibility. At the same time the House is advancing tax cuts that benefit the most fortunate Americans, this legislation would impose deep budget cuts that cost jobs and hurt the middle class and vulnerable Americans, especially seniors, veterans, and children.

Mr. Speaker, instead of the slash-and-burn approach, let's come together in a bipartisan way, in a balanced way, to cut our deficit by growing the economy, creating growth, creating jobs, bringing in revenue to reduce the deficit, to make the priority choices that reflect the values of our country, the values of fairness and opportunity, of sustaining a thriving middle class for the middle class and all who aspire to it. It is the backbone of our democracy. For that reason, I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this devastating bill.

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