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Public Statements

Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LANGEVIN. Mr. Speaker, the most important action we can take to provide for the long term health and prosperity of our nation is getting people back to work, and ensuring that those who are employed, stay employed. This can only be done by enacting a budget that achieves fiscal balance without imperiling economic progress. Unfortunately, the Republican budget fails this most basic principle. It will cost nearly 2 million jobs next year alone, and that's on top of the 750,000 jobs that will be lost due to sequestration this year. In Rhode Island, we have finally started to recover from the Great Recession that began in 2008, and our unemployment rate has dropped below 10 percent for the first time since 2009. For five years, Rhode Islanders have held on by their teeth, and the Republican budget would undermine the important gains we have made.

The prosperity of our nation is predicated on a healthy middle class--both parties can at least agree on that. Yet the Republican budget would put our middle class families, the drivers of our economy, further in debt by shifting the burden of paying for tax breaks for the wealthy onto working Americans and their kids.

We have seen this budget before. It's the same plan Governor Romney ran and lost on in November; it's the same budget Chairman RYAN brought before us in 2012. It is a budget that works for the most privileged, at the expense of every day Americans. It raises taxes on working families by as much as $3,000, shifts costs to future seniors by turning Medicare into a ``premium support'' program, cuts state Medicaid funding for low income and disabled individuals, and doubles the cuts to programs that help our veterans find work, keep my constituent's homes heated, and save children from going hungry.

There's been no shortage of posturing on the budget, and a surplus of half-truths floating around. What's been in short supply, it seems to me, are the facts.

It is a fact that federal spending over the past three years has grown at its slowest pace since the Eisenhower administration. It is a fact that we have already cut $2.4 trillion from the budget over the next ten years--and the Democratic alternative budget would increase that reduction to over $4 trillion. It is a fact that we have cut nearly three dollars in spending for every dollar of revenue, greater than the ratio of cuts-to-revenue proposed in Simpson-Bowles. And according to the Congressional Budget Office, it is a fact that half of the projected budget deficit for 2013 is a result of automatic stabilizers, like unemployment insurance.

There's another important fact here that my Republican colleagues appear to be ignoring. They seem to think that if you reduce budgets for our schools, housing agencies, workforce training programs, veterans services, the Social Security Administration, and the FBI, the services these agencies provide to our communities won't diminish. Their workload certainly won't--in many cases it's on the rise--yet they will have fewer staff and fewer resources to serve our constituents and communities.

This is not a budget I can support in good conscience, and it is not a path that will lead to economic stability. Democrats have offered a fair and balanced approach that keeps the promises made to our seniors, preserves our social safety net, and asks all Americans to pay their fair share in reducing the deficit. Rhode Islanders understand these choices, Americans understand these choices, and they responded loud and clear last November as to which direction they wanted our nation follow. The Republican budget is not what the American people voted for, this is not what Rhode Islanders want, and it is not what our children, our business owners, and our communities deserve.


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