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Public Statements

Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. LEE of California. Mr. Chairman, let me thank our ranking member for your tremendous leadership and for yielding. And I also thank Chairman Ryan for a very spirited markup.

I rise in strong opposition to the Ryan budget. And let me just say as a new member of the Budget Committee, I've had the opportunity now to really get into the weeds of the budget, which really is full of choices, but those choices would undermine our Nation's future for the continued benefit of special interests and the wealthy.

The bottom line: that's what this budget does. It would dismantle government, it would increase inequality and leave the most vulnerable people on their own.

We should reject this warped vision of America, and we should call this budget for what it is. Republicans call it a ``path to prosperity,'' but it really is a path to poverty for the middle class, for working families, for children and for our seniors.

The fact of the matter is, you cannot pretend to fight poverty while you make brutal cuts to the very programs that lift millions of Americans out of poverty.

The Republican budget would make devastating cuts that will increase child hunger, cut off millions of seniors from access to health care, and throw struggling families off TANF during the middle of a jobs crisis. The Republican budget proposes yet another $6 trillion tax cut for the top 1 percent in our country while focusing 66 percent of their cuts on shredding our Nation's critical safety net for our children, our seniors, our disabled, and the poor. This budget would also cost 2 million jobs, and it would slash nutrition and food assistance programs for 8 million to 9 million people.

Mr. Chairman, block-granting Medicaid, turning Medicare into a voucher program, and gutting food assistance to our children and our seniors will not reduce poverty; it will make it much, much worse. Our Democratic budget will close special interest tax loopholes in order to raise the critical revenues that we need to invest in the American people.

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Ms. LEE of California. Thank you very much.

Let me just conclude by saying that fully supporting our safety net programs, like Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, and Social Security, will reduce poverty, grow the middle class, and renew economic prosperity for all Americans.

Unlike Republicans, Democrats simply do not believe that gutting the very programs that support poor and low-income families would reduce poverty, programs such as the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit. The Van Hollen Democratic alternative budget creates 1.2 million jobs this year; it reduces the deficit by 2.4 percent; and it makes huge key investments in our future.

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Ms. LEE of California. Mr. Chairman, first, let me just say that I appreciate the chairman, Mr. Ryan, saying that he knows my heart is in the right place. But I also want him to know that the facts speak for themselves.

We have this chart right here, and it demonstrates very clearly that 18 million more people would be living in poverty had it not been for those initiatives in this budget that you completely cut out: SNAP, the refundable tax credits, and the broad selection of other programs. Eighteen million more people would be in poverty.

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Ms. LEE of California. I thank the gentleman.

Why would we want to impose 66 percent of the cuts in your budget on low-income individuals and the poor? That does not make any sense. That is just morally wrong.

Finally, I just have to say that the ranks of the poor began to grow under the Bush administration.

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Ms. LEE of California. In 2005, I formed the Out of Poverty Caucus because I saw the Bush economic policies and what, in fact, they were beginning to do. We had probably 42 or 43 Members who joined that caucus. And so I just have to say to you, Mr. Chairman, that this didn't just begin. The ranks of the poor began to grow as a direct result of the economic policies that this budget wants to return to.

Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, Federal spending rises each and every year by 3.4 percent under this budget instead of 5 percent.

With that, I would like to yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from Missouri (Mrs. Hartzler), a member of the Budget Committee.

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