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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H. Con. Res. 25, Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2014; Providing for Consideration of H. Res. 115, Providing for the Expenses of Certain Committees of the House of Representatives in the 113th Congress; and for Other Purposes

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. KAPTUR. I thank Ranking Member Slaughter for yielding me this time and rise in strong opposition to the rule and the underlying bill that essentially is the Ryan budget.

I want to say to the prior speaker that the way you balance budgets is to put people back to work. This budget, the Ryan budget, will actually cause 750,000 more people to be added to the ranks of the unemployed. When you have 12 million people in our country who've been out of work for a long time or they can't find a decent-paying job, you can't balance budgets with that level of unemployment. This is an anti-growth budget.

I want to focus my remarks, however, mainly on senior citizens and the impact of this budget on seniors. The Ryan budget turns a very cold heart to America's senior citizens. It ends the Medicare guarantee. It throws nearly 50 million Americans receiving earned health care benefits through Medicare to the cruel marketplace and rising health care prices. And it takes away the 10-year guarantee of Medicare's solvency that we passed in the Affordable Care Act. Forty-one million Americans over the age of 65 will be affected, as will 9 million disabled Americans receiving Social Security benefits. That's evidence of a cold heart.

Now the poorest citizens in America are senior women over the age of 80 years. Over half of Medicare's beneficiaries earn annual incomes of less than $23,000. The Republican Ryan budget doesn't even see them.

The Ryan budget hurts the poorest seniors by putting senior farmer's market nutrition coupons, for example, on the chopping block. To qualify for $50 to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, a senior has to earn less than $15,000 a year. Now, under that budget, 863,000 more seniors will be cut off of a fragile lifeline of coupons for better nutrition. Fifty dollars.

The Ryan budget already cut a million meals for fragile seniors across this country. Now, the Ryan budget piles more harm on them.

Meanwhile, Wall Street titans, who took our Nation to the brink, have earned record bonuses, millions and millions and millions of dollars. So it's $50 for seniors, or multibillions for those who have so much already. That's not even on the scale of justice.

The Ryan budget will cause more illness among our seniors. Seniors will be forced to pay thousands of dollars for medicines they can't afford. It will eliminate free preventive screenings for seniors for cancer and diabetes. So America will yield more illness. The Ryan budget will eliminate free annual checkups for seniors who can't afford to pay for a checkup, and it'll stop free mammograms and prostate screenings for them. It's a cold-hearted budget for seniors.

The Ryan budget will hurt them. It is bad for Medicare. It is bad for seniors. It's bad for our country.

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Ms. KAPTUR. I urge my colleagues to join me in voting against this rule and the underlying budget. Stand up for America's seniors. You know, if you go to any food bank in this country, senior citizens are coming in at an increasing rate of 37 percent. Just look at the lines.

I ask every one of my Republican colleagues this weekend, when you go home, go to your food banks. Look who's in line. Ask yourself what you're going to do to fix the budget for our senior citizens across this country.

Stand up against the coldhearted Republican budget. It's really the forces of darkness at work in here. Open your eyes to what is happening across this country. Vote against this rule and vote against the underlying budget.

Stand up for the seniors of America. In every family in this country, they've earned the right to have a worry-free existence. This budget hurts them.

I urge my colleagues to vote against the Ryan budget and vote against this rule.

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Ms. KAPTUR. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding me time.

I would say to the gentleman, what you said was very, very important, because we do have choices in a budget. And you know, sir, at the food banks around this country, there isn't enough food being provided. They're absolutely at the edge. There isn't enough to go around. That's where the Government of the United States has to come in.

We can't ask our seniors to have any less meals. We can't ask our seniors to take any other nutrition cuts. There simply isn't any slack there.

Now, maybe you live in a community that's more affluent, I'm not sure. I represent three of the lowest income communities, urban areas in this country, and I see what's happening there. And you know, if you look at the amount of subsidy going out to the producers in our country, we could nick that just a little bit, and we could find the funds to help our seniors.

I would invite you to Ohio. I would invite you to see a State that still has 7 percent unemployment and what happens at these food banks. It's vitally important that we not cut help for senior citizens. There isn't any loving child or grandchild in this country that wants to hurt their grandmother or their mother or father.

I think that your budget is misguided, and I would commend the gentleman, please look at those lines. Restore the funds I'm asking for. And I invite you to Ohio.

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Ms. KAPTUR.--Just to say that the first obligation is to feed the hungry, feed the hungry. And I don't think the gentleman would want to have on his conscience any harm to the senior citizens of this country, so I'd ask you to rereview your budget and fix it.

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