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Pascrell Cites Hypocrisy Between State of the Union Rhetoric and Cuts to Health and Education Programs

Location: Washington, DC




WASHINGTON--Stressing the importance of returning to fiscal sanity and restoring social programs for the neediest among us, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08), author of the "Medicaid Preservation Act," today voted against a budget bill that included cuts to vital services for disadvantaged Americans and college students. The budget cuts passed along party lines by a vote of 216-214. Pascrell's legislation aimed to put a moratorium on the nearly $7 billion in Medicaid that was slashed from the budget.

"Last night the President's rhetoric included the importance of affordable healthcare and education, but today he supports budget cuts to critical health and education programs. It is time for this President and Congress to pull their heads out of the sand and get back in touch with the needs of American families. Millions of hard pressed Americans will be pressed even harder once these reductions in social programs go into effect."

Pascrell's "Medicaid Preservation Act," would establish a Bipartisan Commission on Medicaid to review the Medicaid program and ensure that recipients receive quality healthcare. The legislation would put a moratorium on cuts in federal funding to Medicaid until full consideration is given to the recommendations of the Commission. The draconian cuts that passed today will affect the 982,676 New Jerseyans and the 51.5 million Americans who rely on Medicaid for health care costs. A recent report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) revealed that over 6 million children will be adversely affected by the changes.

Among the programs that Congress reduced in today's legislation are Medicaid, Medicare, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the elderly and disabled, Foster Care, student aid programs, pension insurance and child support enforcement.

"Less than twenty-four hours after the President used the State of the Union Address to pronounce the importance of educating our young students, this Congress approved a budget with the largest student aid cut in history, a cut the President is prepared to sign the into law. The irony and hypocrisy of today's action is unconscionable."

Though the budget cuts are being touted as a way to reduce the budget by $38.8 billion dollars, the reduction is part of a larger package that includes a $56.1 billion package of tax cuts that will actually increase the deficit by $17 over the next five years.

"These budget cuts are not only immoral, they're also a sham. The reduction to the deficit will be wiped out by a House approved $56.1 billion tax giveaway to the wealthiest few. It is a moral outrage and a complete farce that this Congress, in the name of fiscal austerity, is taking money from programs that our most vulnerable families need, while at the same time indulging in massive tax cuts for the wealthiest few."

"Despite what we heard in last night's State of the Union Address about controlling spending, the President and Congress continue to recklessly run up the budget on the backs of our children and grandchildren who will one day be forced to foot a bill imposed on them by their very own parents and grandparents."

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