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CBC Hour: The People's Budget

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. JEFFRIES. I thank my good friend, the distinguished gentleman from the Silver State, for his leadership in co-anchoring the CBC Special Order and for giving me the opportunity to lay out as best I can the contrasting visions as represented by the CBC budget--and we're thankful for the leadership of Representative Bobby Scott in that regard--and the GOP budget.

We're at a crossroads in America, a fork in the road, and we can go in one of two different directions. And one direction is a compassionate path, as set forth by the Congressional Black Caucus. The other direction is a more regressive, mean-spirited path, as set forth by the GOP budget.

The CBC budget is designed to create progress for the greatest number of people possible here in America. The GOP budget endorses the view of prosperity for the few. The CBC budget takes a balanced approach to dealing with the economic situation that we find ourselves in here in America. The GOP budget balances the budget on the

backs of the most vulnerable in our society. The CBC budget will create jobs for Americans. The GOP budget
will cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs. These are two very different visions for where we need to go here in America.

A balanced approach has four different elements. First, invest in the American economy. Second, raise revenue by closing corporate loopholes that are unfair, unjust, and in many instances, unconscionable--tax breaks for corporate jets, tax subsidies for big oil companies that are making record profits, tax incentives for American companies to ship our jobs overseas. The CBC budget will close these wasteful corporate loopholes.

Third, we look for savings by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse; and we take this approach because of the sensitive nature of our fragile economic recovery. You can't just cut the budget with a meat cleaver without hurting the American people. And, lastly, the CBC balanced approach stands up for important programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid that have nothing to do with the economic mess that we find ourselves in right now.

We don't have a short-term deficit crisis in America. That's what the independent objective economists have concluded. The Speaker of the House of Representatives has acknowledged we don't have a short-term deficit crisis. The chairman of the Budget Committee just yesterday acknowledged that we don't have a short-term deficit crisis.

We've gained 6 million jobs over the last 4-plus years, but we still have a long way to go. We've got a jobs crisis.

Now, corporate profits are way up, the stock market is way up, the productivity of the American worker is way up, but the reality is consumer demand remains stagnant. That's why we have to invest in the American economy, invest in transportation and infrastructure, research and development, invest in technology and innovation, education and job training, as the CBC budget compassionately does.

Now, the other budget balances itself on the backs of the poor, children, senior citizens, working families, and the middle class. Now, they'll say we're trying to put forth misinformation to scare the American people. That's a cute observation, but it has no factual basis.

The GOP budget cuts Medicaid by $810 billion. That's not a scare tactic; that's reality.

The GOP budget voucherizes Medicare so that in the future the health care costs wouldn't be covered by this voucher program in the manner that it is right now. That's not a scare tactic; that's reality.

The GOP budget cuts spending on higher education by $168 billion. That's not a scare tactic; that's reality.

That's why we are putting forth a compassionate budget to put the American people back to work.


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