Today, Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32) returned to Washington to object to inaction by Congressional Republicans, who have taken a 7 week vacation while neglecting the people's work. Rep. Chu stood on the House floor to demand that Republicans return to Washington and come back into session. Despite the Republican Leadership turning off the microphones to block her from speaking, Congresswoman Chu spoke on the House floor in protest. She then joined a forum with Democratic colleagues on how to save Medicare for seniors, now and into the future. Afterwards, she released the following statement to the press:
"For almost two years, Congressional Republicans have pandered to millionaires instead of helping the Middle Class. They refused to pass President Obama's Jobs Act to address our economic crisis, they voted to end Medicare as we know it and saddle our seniors with the bill, and they fought for tax breaks for millionaires and companies that ship jobs overseas."
"They laid out their priorities for all to see in their Ryan Budget. This radical blueprint would change Medicare into a voucher program and increases costs on seniors by $6,400. It would reopen the donut hole and force seniors to pay more for their prescription drugs and eliminate new preventive care provided under health care reform. It goes without saying, but our seniors deserve better than over-glorified coupons that don't even cover their bills."
"I came to the House floor today to say it's time to start working on all the things that Republicans have neglected for almost 2 years. But instead of rising to the occasion, the GOP turned off the microphones. All across this country, people work hard for their livings and they expect the same from their leaders. It's time for Republicans to get back to Washington; it's time that they do the people's work; it's high time that this Do-Nothing Congress got something done!"
In one of the earliest adjournments in over 50 years, the Republican-led House left for a seven week vacation on September 21. In their rush to leave Washington, several pieces of legislation were left unfinished, including legislation to create jobs, an extension of middle class tax cuts, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, a responsible deficit reduction alternative to sequestration, a Farm Bill for American Agriculture programs and legislation to save the Postal Service.
Congress passed a total of 61 bills in 2012 -- less than one tenth as many as the infamous "Do-Nothing" Congress President Truman faced in 1948.
One of the most contentious bills passed this year was Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal. The non-partisan Congressional Budget office estimates that premiums and out-of-pocket expenditures would both be higher under the Ryan Budget, leaving most elderly people with higher expenses than under the current Medicare system. By 2030, a typical 65-year-old beneficiary will have to pay a 68 percent share of the cost, compared to 25 percent under the current Medicare system.
The Ryan proposal would repeal most of the provisions in the Affordable Care Act, including assistance to seniors in the prescription drug gap in Medicare Part D often referred as the donut hole. That would also include eliminating new preventive health care benefits provided by the Affordable Care Act.