Campaign 2010

Apr 06, 2006

Rubber Stamp Countdown: Will Congressional Republicans Support the Latest Failed Budget Priorities?

DCCC Press

Apr 6, 2006

Rubber Stamp Countdown: Will Congressional Republicans Support the Latest Failed Budget Priorities?

The Rubber Stamp Republican Congress has Dusted off Their Inkpads and Prepared Themselves for yet Another Round of Special Interest Favors and Middle Class Cuts

Last Year’s Republican Priorities…

$22 billion given away to HMOs...
$14.6 billion preserved in energy company giveaways...
$12.7 billion cut from student aid...
$6.4 billion cut from Medicare...
$1.6 billion cut from child support enforcement...

Now…
1 day until Republicans in Congress take their rubber stamps out again…

(Washington, D.C.) -- Today, as Congress takes up the latest special interest favored budget, the countdown begins until the Republican caucus takes out their trusty rubber stamps. The latest Republican budget adds trillions of dollars to the already record deficit over the next 10 years and cuts critical middle class priorities like healthcare, education and tax relief. The budget also cuts billions from homeland security and veterans’ healthcare. Republicans in Congress have a history of blindly supporting budget bills that put the special interests first and American interests last. For example, last year, Congress rubberstamped budget priorities that sent billions in giveaways to such interests as HMOs and slashed middle class necessities like college tuition assistance.

"Only hours remain until the Republican Congress brandishes their rubber stamp voting cards once again and support the latest budget that puts the special interests first and American families last," said Bill Burton, communications director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "This latest special interest budget is bad for families because it adds more burden to our growing deficit without providing enough funding for healthcare, education or even middle class tax relief. In November, voters will choose new priorities over the Republican status quo because Americans deserve better from their Congress than rubber stamp approval of a budget that puts the special interests ahead of American interests."

The Latest Special Interest Budget:

Five Years of Consecutive Deficits, Balanced Budget Not In Sight. The Republican budget makes the already record deficits worse. The budget proposal passed out of the House Budget Committee includes a projected deficit for 2006 of $372 billion, and a deficit for 2007 of $348 billion. With these current Republican budget priorities, we will see five consecutive years of budget deficits and by 2011, the deficit could total $1.1 trillion. The budget resolution contains no plans to balance the budget, and, in fact, the Republican policies make the deficit worse by $410 billion over five years relative to current budget policies.

Deep Cuts to Education, Training, and Social Services Funding. The House GOP budget contains a $2.2 billion cut to the Department of Education for 2007, cuts to virtually every job training program in the Department of Labor, and cuts to social services programs in the Department of Health and Human Services. Over five years, the Republican resolution cuts purchasing power for education, social services, and training programs by $45.3 billion.

Cuts Veterans’ Healthcare and Taxes Military Retirees. The budget proposal passed out of the House Budget Committee cuts veterans’ healthcare beyond 2007. Despite an initial boost in veterans’ health spending for 2007, over five years (from 2007-2011), the Republican budget resolution actually cuts funding for veterans’ appropriated programs by $6 billion below the level that CBO estimates is needed to maintain current services. Additionally, the Republican budget resolution includes significant increases in TRICARE costs for military retirees under 65. In fact, healthcare fees will triple for retired officers, double for retired senior enlisted personnel, and increase by 40 percent for junior enlisted retirees.

Could Mean Cuts to Homeland Security. The budget resolution cuts $6.1 billion below current services out of two of the main budget functions that finance homeland security activities -- Community and Regional Development, and Administration of Justice. These budget functions fund port security grants to tighten the physical security of our ports, the Container Security Initiative to identify and inspect high risk U.S.- bound cargo, procurement of radiation portal monitors to screen for nuclear material in shipping containers and law enforcement terrorism prevention grants for first responders among other functions. Additionally, the Republican budget includes cuts that could reduce the size of the Army National Guard by up to 17,000 and includes a $39 million cut to the critical Cooperative Threat Reduction program, which is a program that helps prevent terrorists from obtaining loose nuclear material.

Fails to Fully Fix the Alternative Minimum Tax. The budget resolution again fails to find a long-term solution for the AMT. The GOP budget resolution includes just a one year AMT patch, not a permanent solution. This not only makes tax planning more difficult for millions of taxpayers, but also distorts and greatly understates the costs of Republican-favored tax code changes.

Last Year’s Republican Priorities…

The Republican Congress Rubberstamped $12.7 Billion in Student Aid Cuts. Last year, the Rubber Stamp Republican Congress, led by indicted Republican Tom DeLay and John Boehner passed the largest raid on federal student aid in American history. By cutting billions from student aid, the Republican Congress made it that much tougher for students to receive higher education. The raid on student aid increased the burden on borrowers while padding the pockets of the lending companies. [S 1932, Vote #670, 12/19/05]

The Republican Congress Rubberstamped Billions in Cuts to Medicare and Preserved the HMO Slush Fund. The vote was for the conference agreement to cut mandatory spending programs by $39.7 billion over the next five years. The bill cut $6.4 billion from Medicare in part by raising premiums for some Part B beneficiaries. It did not cut a $5.4 billion HMO slush fund established by the 2003 Medicare bill to entice insurance companies to offer coverage in certain areas. [S 1932, Vote #670, 12/19/2005; Passed 212-206; R 212-9; D 0-196; I 0-1; House Budget Committee Minority Staff, "Key Provisions in the Conference Report on the Republican Spending Reconciliation Bill." 12/19/05]

The Republican Congress Rubberstamped $22 Billion in Giveaways to the HMOs. After intense lobbying from the health insurance industry, the Republican special interest budget saves HMOs $22 billion dollars. "House and Senate GOP negotiators, meeting behind closed doors last month to complete a major budget-cutting bill, agreed on a change to Senate-passed Medicare legislation that would save the health insurance industry $22 billion over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office." [Vote #4, 2/1/06, Washington Post, 1/24/2006]

The Republican Congress Rubberstamped Billions in Cuts From Child Support Enforcement in a Republican Budget That Leaves Mothers and Children Behind, Puts Special Interest First. Republicans in Congress slashed $40 from critical middle class investments. Instead of standing with American families, they cut Child Support Enforcement. The Republican proposal weakens the crackdown on ‘deadbeat dads,’ and weakens the enforcement of critical child support payments to single mothers by $1.6 billion over the next five years. The cuts mean that over $8 billion in child support could go uncollected over the next 10 years. [S 1932, Vote #670, 12/19/05]


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