Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chair, as a proud member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, CPC, I rise in strong support of the CPC's alternative to H. Con. Res. 25. This alternative budget, more appropriately known as the ``Budget for All'' Substitute invests in America, reforms corporate and individual taxes in a balanced manner, and adopts sensible, modern defense spending. Simply put: the CPC is an egalitarian and effective budget for all of America.
The CPC's ``Budget for All'' wisely invests the hard earned peace dividend resulting from the successful end to the war in Iraq and the winding down of the war in Afghanistan to promote economic growth and a healthier and cleaner environment.
In addition, this budget puts Americans back to work, charts a path to responsible deficit reduction, enhances our economic competitiveness, rebuilds the middle class and invests in our future. The CPC budget makes no cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits, and asks those who have benefited most from our economy to pay a sensible share. It is only fair.
The CPC budget addresses America's persistently high unemployment levels with more than $2.9 trillion in additional job-creating investments, which frankly will help depressed economies in inner-city communities across America, including those in my hometown of Houston, Texas. This plan utilizes every tool at the government's disposal to get our economy moving again, including:
Direct hire programs that create a School Improvement Corps, a Park Improvement Corps, and a Student Jobs Corps, among others.
Targeted tax incentives that spur clean energy, manufacturing, and cutting-edge technological investments in the private sector.
Widespread domestic investments including an infrastructure bank, a $556 billion surface transportation bill, and approximately $2.1 trillion in widespread domestic investment.
The Budget for All achieves $6.8 trillion in deficit reduction, hits the same debt to GDP ratio as the Republican budget with lower deficits in the last five years; and does so in a responsible way that does not eviscerate vital services Americans want preserved.
These benchmarks are achieved by focusing on the true drivers of our deficit: unsustainable tax policies, the wars overseas, and policies that helped cause the recent recession--rather than irresponsibly putting the middle class's social safety net on the chopping block.
The budget also taxes fairly, because it:
Ends tax cuts for the top 2% of Americans on schedule at year's end.
Extends tax relief for middle class households and the vast majority of Americans.
Creates new tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires.
Eliminates the tax code's preferential treatment of capital gains and dividends.
Abolishes corporate welfare for oil, gas, and coal companies.
Eliminates loopholes that allow businesses to dodge their true tax liability.
Calls for the adoption of the ``Buffett Rule''.
Creates a publicly funded federal election system that gets corporate money out of politics for good.
The CPC budget demonstrates that we have been listening to the American people because we responsibly and sensibly end our military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving America more secure at home and abroad; and modernizes our military to address 21st century threats and stop contributing to our deficit problems. This is the peace dividend. With this dividend, the CPC budget:
Provides a Making Work Pay tax credit for families struggling with high gas and food cost's 2013-2015.
Extends Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child and Dependent Care Credit.
Invests in programs to stave off further foreclosures to keep families in their homes.
Invests in our children's education by increasing Education, Training, and Social Services.
Mr. Chair, the federal budget is a moral document, with meaning, fiber, and a unique texture. Sometimes we lose sight of this fact given the preoccupation by many with, I could wax on and on today on the Floor about the ``baselines,'' ``benchmarks,'' and ``extrapolations and projections of future budget conditions,'' based on the assumptions that may or may not turn out to be accurate.
But real people living, struggling with real problems in the real world are not interested in such esoteric discussion. They want us to focus on their lives and their problems. They want to know that we understand the necessity of making taxes fairer, simpler, and economically reasonable.
Most economists agree, Mr. Speaker, that entitlement policy must be evaluated and progressively modified to achieve sustainability. Unlike discretionary spending, mandatory spending grew rapidly from 5% of GDP in 1962 to a range of 9% to 10.5% of GDP from 1975 to 2007, peaking in recession years because of automatic stabilizers.
Let me be clear: I am unalterably opposed to any entitlement reform that deprives seniors, like the ones that reside in the 18th Congressional District of Texas, of benefits they have labored long and hard to earn. To do otherwise would break a promise to prior generations who faithfully paid into the current system. These are not entitlements; they are earned benefits. And they must not be taken away.
And speaking of Texas; recently my hometown of Houston was forced to lay off nearly one thousand municipal employees. When these employees are put on the unemployment line, libraries close, schools cut back on essential after-school programs, community centers lose personnel, police hours are trimmed, and the truly destitute become an afterthought.
Those tough budget decisions had a human cost and I hear from my constituents every day about them. Frankly, I do not want tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of jobs for working and middle class families in Texas.
The CPC fiscal year 2014 budget alternative stands in clear contrast to the budget that our Republican colleagues have put forward. This budget will reduce the deficit in a balanced and credible way, making difficult choices while providing investments that help create jobs now and build an even stronger economy for the future.
But unlike the Republican budget--which ends the Medicare guarantee while providing enormous tax breaks to millionaires--we ask the very wealthy and special interests to share responsibility for reducing the deficit. We must embark on a truly shared sacrifice.
I ask my colleagues to support the CPC Budget for All Substitute.