BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. DINGELL. Mr. Chair, I rise in opposition to H. Con. Res. 25, the fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget resolution. Once again, this body is considering another misguided budget that asks seniors and middle class Americans to make great sacrifices so the wealthiest among us can get a tax cut. While supporters of this budget claim they deserve credit for producing a budget that balances, this is not a balanced plan, nor a serious one.
The Republican budget is a slippery, dishonest collection of old, failed ideas that the American people roundly rejected in the last election. Some say that this budget plan represents a serious attempt to reform Medicare; in fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. It ends Medicare as we know it by creating a voucher program which would shift costs to our seniors. It also repeals the Affordable Care Act which is already providing critical benefits to those in need across our country and that has been affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court as constitutional. By reopening the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap, beneficiaries would see their costs increase by over $13,000 from now through 2022. This is not the treatment our seniors deserve, and I know we can do better for them.
Instead of making critical investments in our economy to promote growth and create jobs, vital domestic programs would face drastic cuts. The entire mandatory Pell grant program would be cut by $98 billion over 10 years, virtually eliminating the program. Student loan rates would rise from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent in July, which would have a negative impact on college students across the nation. The budget also doubles down on the disastrous sequester and goes even further than that by cutting an extra $55 billion from domestic discretionary spending in FY 2014 alone. To top it off, the top tax rate would be lowered to 25 percent, costing our nation nearly $6 trillion over 10 years. In order to pay for these disastrous proposals, critical tax deductions for middle class families would be eliminated, leaving the average family with an increase of $3,000 in their tax bill. The priorities of this budget are completely backwards.
I commend the gentleman from Maryland, Mr. VAN HOLLEN, for offering a balanced approach in the Democratic substitute budget. This budget replaces the sequester, makes investments which are critical for economic growth, and puts our nation on a sustainable fiscal path. It gives critical support to transportation, education, and small businesses programs which will have a real impact on middle class families and help maintain the upward trajectory of our economy. The Democratic budget also includes $50 billion for immediate surface transportation projects which will create jobs today, in addition to vital tax incentives for the manufacturing sector which has been so critical to our economic recovery. All of these important goals are achieved while continuing the Medicare guarantee for our seniors and generating enough deficit reduction to eliminate the sequester, thereby avoiding losing 750,000 jobs which would occur if sequestration is allowed to continue.
If my Republican colleagues are serious about producing a balanced budget then let us set aside this partisan rhetoric and recycled ideas and come to the table willing and ready to make tough decisions for the benefit of our country. American families across the country make tough decisions about their family's budget on a daily budget. Whether it is postponing that new car purchase, refinancing their homes, or cutting back on the types of groceries they buy, American families do not have the luxury to return to past bad ideas. They have to make the tough decisions now or face losing their home, missing a tuition payment, or having their heat turned off. Instead of debating political documents such as this one, Congress must put aside the political games and come together to find common ground to put our nation on a sustainable fiscal path in the long term while making much needed investments in the short term. I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing the Republican budget.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT