House Republican Budget Cuts Blocked for Now

By:  Brad Sherman
Date: Nov. 10, 2005
Location: Washington, DC

House Republican Budget Cuts Blocked for Now
Leaders Fail to Find Votes to Slash Services for California Families

WASHINGTON - In an embarrassing rebuff, House Republican leaders Thursday were forced to scrub a scheduled vote on a budget that would slash spending on student loans and cut health care for seniors, the disabled and the poor.

"This budget was so bad that some of Speaker Hastert's usually loyal band of lockstep yes-men said ‘No'," Congressman Brad Sherman said.

At a time when college tuition is skyrocketing, the Republican budget proposed taking more than $14 billion from student loans - increasing the costs for the 496,822 student borrowers in California. The plan would raise student loan interest rate caps and drive up interest rates and fees on student borrowers who consolidate their loans.

When the number of families with no health insurance is growing, the proposed budget would cut Medicaid by $10 billion. That reduction would have a severe negative impact on the more than 9.3 million California children, seniors and others who rely on Med Cal for their health care. Among the proposed cuts, the budget would for the first time allow states to charge premiums and co-payments on children's health care. It would inevitably deprive many children from poor families of health care services.

The budget also would severely reduce federal funding for child support enforcement, which would result in a reduction of more than $4.8 billion in child support collections in California over the next 10 years - paring child support payments to single parents who are struggling to provide for their children.

In order to pay for their additional tax breaks for the wealthy, Republicans also called for cutting, after adjusting for inflation, a wide range of other vital services ranging from education to child care to housing to environmental protection.

The $50 billion in proposed budget cuts even failed to offset more than $70 billion in proposed new tax cuts for the wealthy, forcing the overall budget even deeper into deficit territory.

"Clearly, Californians simply can't afford this Republican budget, which would give tax breaks to millionaires while harming the college students, children, mothers, and working families of our state," Sherman said.

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