Senator Lisa Murkowski today expressed disappointment at Democrats in the United States Senate Appropriations Committee for approving an increase in the Legislative Branch budget amid nationwide budget cuts and passing the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education budget that includes funding for the now-postponed employer mandate.
"Today Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee chose to allocate billions of dollars to the Affordable Care Act -- a law leaders of their own party call a train wreck. With a $16.8 trillion debt, we simply cannot afford to fund a bad law that imposes unworkable mandates on individuals and small business. The funding in the FY14 Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill takes us one step closer to most Alaskans paying more taxes, half of Alaskans paying a new tax on their health care plans, and an estimated 45,000 Alaskans losing their employer-provided health care. I'm particularly disappointed the majority wouldn't even agree to delay funding for the employer mandate -- the part of the law the President himself has said we should delay for at least a year, when last week many of them supported a delay.
"Today's vote also marks a missed opportunity for my colleagues to lead by example. The FY14 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill increases spending by our offices by $100 million more than we'll spend this year after sequestration, while hundreds of thousands of our constituents face furloughs because of spending cuts absorbed by their federal agencies. If you want a reason why Congressional approval ratings are in the single digits and people think Capitol Hill is disconnected from reality, this is Exhibit A.
"I will continue to work on behalf of Alaska to advocate for responsible ways to trim our deficit and get our nation back on a sound fiscal path for the future."