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CBC Hour: The People's Budget

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HORSFORD. Good evening, Mr. Speaker. It's my privilege to join with my colleague, Mr. Jeffries, the gentleman from New York, to coanchor this hour along with the Congressional Black Caucus and my colleagues from the CBC to talk about something very important right now to the American people, and that is the budget and who we will balance the budget on as far as how we move forward for the American people.

Less than 1 month after the sequester, Republicans have presented a carbon copy budget of their austerity plans of the past. The American people spoke loud and clear last November. They believe in investing in our recovery, turning our economy around, and getting people back to work. They reject balancing the budget on the backs of our children, seniors, and the middle class. Yet the Ryan budget starts with the premise that the sequester is good policy, that the ultrawealthy deserve another tax break, and that we don't really need to invest in our children or their future.

So tonight, Mr. Speaker, my colleagues, the Congressional Black Caucus and I will lay out why the Ryan budget is a failed proposal for the American people and why we need to support an alternative offered by the Congressional Black Caucus and those who have worked hard to craft it.


Mr. HORSFORD. Continuing on, as the chairwoman of the CBC just talked about, the Congressional Black Caucus budget is an alternative budget for fiscal year 2014. It puts forth a plan that both reduces the deficit by $2.8 trillion over the next decade and creates millions of jobs through significant investments towards job creation that will accelerate our economic recovery and ensure that it's felt in every community across America.

The CBC budget also cancels the economically disastrous sequester that is currently costing between 750,000 to 1 million jobs. So the CBC budget creates jobs, while the sequester and the Republican budget, which adopts the sequester and makes it permanent, cut jobs, and the CBC budget pays for it.


Mr. HORSFORD. Thank you, Mr. Vice Chairman.

As you indicate, 70 percent of the American people agree with the CBC plan to have a balanced approach, one that helps to preserve and protect the very programs that you just mentioned and that gets our economy on the focus of what we should be dealing with, which is the jobs deficit in this country, not the so-called ``budget deficit.''


Mr. HORSFORD. Thank you.

Over the weekend, Speaker Boehner said:

We do not have an immediate debt crisis. We have one looming. It's not an immediate problem.

Well, what we do have right now is an immediate jobs deficit, and we should be focused on getting the American people back to work. That's what the Congressional Black Caucus alternative budget does.

And to talk about the focus on jobs and investing in our future, the woman who fights for the people of Florida, the gentlelady from Florida (Ms. Brown).


Mr. HORSFORD. Thank you, Congresswoman.

As you indicated, in addition to the CBC alternative budget, which focuses on the jobs--maintaining the jobs we have and creating new jobs--the CBC budget also preserves and protects Social Security and Medicare. It rejects the idea of voucherizing care for those who have paid into these programs their entire lives. Instead, it strengthens these programs to guarantee a safe and secure retirement for our parents and our grandparents as well as for the generation to come, which is something that you and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus have fought for for many years in this body.


Mr. HORSFORD. These are vital safety programs that save millions of families, many of whom we serve on the Congressional Black Caucus. These programs save them from poverty, like SNAP and TANF--they are enhanced, so that those who are struggling to get by are given not a handout but a hand up in meeting their needs, so that they and their families can survive for themselves, and we will continue to fight to preserve and protect these programs.


Mr. HORSFORD. Mr. Speaker, I would now like to turn to the physician who is in the House. We have one of the experts in health care, someone who knows how important the Affordable Care Act is and the preservation of the Affordable Care Act.

I find it interesting that the House Republican budget calls for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but still they take the money and use it to balance their budget. So how can they balance their budget and repeal the Affordable Care Act at the same time?

I yield to the gentlelady from the Virgin Islands, Representative Christensen.


Mr. HORSFORD. Congresswoman Christensen, let me thank you again for your hard work in fighting for quality health care for all Americans.

My grandmother suffered a stroke when I was only 9 weeks old, and she went into a coma. When she came out of that coma, she was paralyzed on the left side of her body. For the next 27 years, she lived in a nursing home, and it was that nursing home that allowed her to have the quality of life that she did have until she passed away in 2000.

Now as a young boy, I visited my grandmother virtually every week in that nursing home. I didn't know whether it was Medicaid or her disability that was providing for her care, but that's the reason she was able to live as long as she did. I know now that there are parents and grandparents depending on those programs more now than ever before, and that's why the CBC budget works to preserve and protect these programs. It's the people's budget, as you refer to it, and our values are the values that protect those who are not able to always protect themselves, versus an austerity budget that looks out more for special interests and corporate interests than it does the people's interests. And so I want to thank you again because it is my grandmother's legacy, and so many other parents and grandparents who are in her situation, that remind me every day what it is we are supposed to be doing here in the people's House. So thank you.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to now turn to Representative Barbara Lee from California, someone who I know this week, particularly as we talk about ending the war in Iraq, she is someone who stood early on saying we didn't need to go into war, and the deficit spending that occurred in the previous administration is the reason that we have the deficits that we do. And now they want to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class and the poor and not take responsibility for the decisions that were made in the previous administration, so thank you for standing up and standing tall.


Mr. HORSFORD. Thank you, Congresswoman Bass.

Mr. Speaker, to focus on jobs and investing in our future, the fact that this is pro-growth, pro-people, and that 70 percent of the American people support this type of an approach is why the CBC is offering this as an alternative to the House Republican majority. And to speak further on the pro-growth needs of this budget, my colleague in the new freshman class, it has been a delight to get to know her, the gentlelady from Ohio, Representative Beatty.


Mr. HORSFORD. Thank you, Congressman Scott. Again, thank you for your very hard work and that of your staff in bringing this forward.

To close this out, to lay out the two options and approaches that are before us, we have what I would like to coin as the Compassionate People's Budget, offered by the Congressional Black Caucus, and we have the Austerity Budget. Now, the Compassionate Budget is focused on the people and the Austerity Budget continues to protect special interest and corporate interest. And to talk more about that, the gentleman from New York, Representative Jeffries.


Mr. HORSFORD. The CBC budget refocuses the priorities where it should be, on the middle class. The CBC budget will save up to 2 million public and private sector jobs just from the cancellation of the sequester alone.

Bottom line, Mr. Speaker: job creation is our number one priority with this budget. We put Americans back to work, we protect the vital social programs they rely on, and we call on everyone to contribute to growing our economy and strengthening our recovery. This is a balanced approach that the American people are calling for.

We're urging our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to work with us to craft a commonsense budget proposal that creates jobs, that moves our country forward, and that protects the middle class and the poor.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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