RELATING TO CONSIDERATION OF S. 1932, DEFICIT REDUCTION ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - February 01, 2006)
Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I thank the distinguished ranking member on the Rules Committee for her leadership in fighting the fight for a budget that is a reflection of the values and priorities of the American people and her leadership in opposition to what the religious community has called this immoral Republican budget.
Mr. Speaker, yesterday and later today we will continue the debate on a resolution honoring and celebrating the life and service and leadership of Coretta Scott King.
One of the stories I like best about the Kings is in the 1950s they traveled to India to learn more about nonviolence, the nonviolence practiced by Mahatma Gandhi, and they brought that back to America and it was a major part of the civil rights movement.
Why I mention it today is because in Sanskrit the name for nonviolence is also translated ``truth insistence.'' Wasn't that what the civil rights movement was about, the insistence on truth in our country? Truth insistence is exactly what is required when we talk about the Republican budget.
Last night in the State of the Union address we heard a great deal of rhetoric about investments the President was going to make in education, research and development, and you name it. But that rhetoric is a far cry from the reality of the budget that the Republicans are bringing to this floor today, which not only does not make those investments in the manner described by the President, it indeed cuts them.
Last night in the State of the Union address the President talked about the importance of educating our children to help keep America competitive. But this budget today tells a different story. The truth is the budget follows the track record of woefully underfunding No Child Left Behind. It increases the cost of student loans to America's families who are struggling to send their children to college. How can that help make America more competitive?
Every time we invest in education, we bring more revenue into the Treasury than any other initiative you can name. No tax cut, no tax credit, no anything, nothing brings more to the Treasury of the Government than investing in the education of our people. So these were not only wrong cuts in terms of competitiveness, they also increase the deficit.
Last night the President said in his State of the Union address, ``A hopeful society gives special attention to children.'' Now I would like to know what kind of attention that the President is giving to the children because the truth is this budget today slashes funding to help care for America's poorest children. It drastically cuts funding for the initiative that enforces the payment of child support. Others have talked about nutrition, and of course good nutrition has a direct impact on the education of these children.
The truth is that this budget is an exact contradiction of the rhetoric that the President presented last night.
Now let us look at the title of it. It is called the Budget Reconciliation Spending Cuts Act. Yet the truth is the policies in this budget will increase the deficit by $300 billion, heaping mountains of debt on our children, and the sad truth is all of this to pay for a tax cut for the wealthiest people in our country.
Republicans will try to say to defend these measures, as evidence of their so-called fiscal responsibility, that this is about small government. But the fact is, the truth is, that this is not about small government, this is about small-minded, petty government that does not meet the needs of the American people.
Republicans will try to defend these measures again by calling for fiscal responsibility, and I would like to talk about the $42 billion difference. It has been widely reported that this bill had a chance, there was an opportunity to reduce excessive Medicare payments that the Federal Government makes to big business HMOs because of a loophole in the law. There was bipartisan agreement that this would take place. But in a closed-door meeting the Republicans eliminated that, and they gave a $22 billion bonanza to the HMOs, and this at the expense of America's children and those in need.
We also were going to get better drug prices for Medicaid, and this relates to the children, from drug manufacturers and eliminate a Medicare slush fund for managed care. By doing those two things, we were going to save the taxpayers another $20 billion. So it was a $42 billion difference in this budget, at the expense of children and seniors to the benefit of the industries to whom the Republicans in Congress are handmaidens.
In the conference committee, without a single Democrat in the room because Democrats were not allowed in the room, this $42 billion worth of savings disappeared from the budget. The $42 billion difference, that is the difference between a closed and corrupt Congress and an open and honest Congress.
Since Democrats did not get a seat at the table in the writing of this bill, who did? America's low-income children did not get a seat at the table, and they are paying the price in their education, their health care and child support.
America's seniors did not get a seat at the table because the bill makes it harder for seniors to qualify for long-term care, and even forces some to forfeit their homes in order to pay for long-term care.
The truth is the drug manufacturers, managed care companies and HMOs clearly get a seat. They came up the big winners with the special interest driven Medicare prescription drug bill that was foisted on America's seniors, and they came up big winners in this budget bill. It would be nice if America's children and seniors had a seat at the table instead of big business.
My colleagues, the truth is that, as our friends in the religious community, almost every religious denomination in the country, has been lobbying against this legislation. They call it a budget deprived of spiritual hope and of nourishing resources. That is the truth about the Republican budget and the Democrats insist that the public know it. I am very proud that we will have 100 percent of our Democratic Members voting ``no'' on this immoral budget.