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Congressman Capuano's
E-UPDATE
An update from the office of U.S. Representative Michael E. Capuano
7th Congressional District of Massachusetts


8,321 subscribers

March 22, 2013

Fiscal Year 2014 Budget

If you’d like to read the text of any of the legislation covered below, you may find it here: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.uscongress/legislation.113hconres25

This week the House considered Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget resolution for FY 2014 (H. Con. Res. 25). It closely resembles the FY 2013 budget Rep. Ryan proposed last year. H. Con. Res. 25 drastically cuts nondefense discretionary spending but protects defense spending. A few points I’d like to emphasize:

  • Not only does this proposal protect defense spending for FY 2014, it even protects it from sequestration.
  • It cuts nondefense spending by more than $1 trillion below what was agreed to in the Budget Control Act (known as the BCA — the law that extended all these cuts and brought us sequestration).
  • Spending under the BCA already brought federal expenditures to their lowest level since 1962.
  • The Ryan budget cuts an additional trillion dollars on top of the BCA cuts.

Just like last year, this budget dismantles the existing Medicare program and replaces it with a voucher program — the voucher amounts would not pay for the level of Medicare coverage that currently exists.

  • The Ryan budget targets Medicaid by cutting $810 billion in funding over ten years and turning it into a block grant program.
  • It also repeals the Affordable Care Act, even though the Supreme Court has upheld it and the House has voted more than 30 times to repeal it without success.

H. Con. Res. also reduces the top tax rate for corporations from 35% to 25% and from 39.6% to 25% for individuals, which will reduce existing revenue by more than $5 trillion. This budget proposal contains vague references to eliminating certain tax preferences, but doesn’t provide any details. There is no new revenue in this budget proposal.

We simply cannot reduce the deficit by spending cuts alone. Cuts at this level will also hurt private enterprise (researchers, road builders, home builders, defense contractors, and more), decimate social programs and hurt our economy in both the short and the long term. We must have a balanced approach and this budget resolution could not be further from balanced. I voted NO. The Ryan budget passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

221

10

0

1

DEMOCRAT

0

197

0

3

TOTAL

221

207

0

4

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

Before the Ryan budget passed, the House voted on some alternative proposals. The Republican Study Committee (RSC) budget was even worse than the Ryan budget. It cuts $2 trillion more than the Ryan budget proposal and repeals the tax increases that were part of the package approved on New Year’s Day. This alone will cost $685 billion. It too repeals the Affordable Care Act. The Republican Study Committee budget also turns Medicare into a voucher program, but makes that transition earlier, in 2019. It increases the Medicare and Social Security eligibility age to 70.

The RSC budget proposal also turns the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) into a block grant program, taking FY 2014 spending for this and for Medicare, and combining the resources. This represents a $1.5 trillion cut for each program. It doesn’t cut defense but cuts nondefense spending by $1.7 trillion over three years. There is no new revenue in this proposal.

In an unusual procedural maneuver, almost all Democrats voted Present. This was done to deny the extreme right wing the chance to vote for this radical budget primarily to mollify their most extreme supporters who continue to demand even larger and more drastic budget cuts. Sometimes, political “leaders” must stand up for what they believe to be right — not just what is most politically expedient.

I voted PRESENT. The proposal failed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

104

118

0

9

DEMOCRAT

0

14

171

15

TOTAL

104

132

171

24

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

0

9

0

The Democratic Caucus also proposed a budget, one that eliminates sequestration and instead takes a balanced approach to addressing our fiscal challenges. It preserves Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. It creates 1.2 million more jobs than Rep. Ryan’s budget, dedicates $60 billion for transportation and infrastructure needs, and keeps student loan interest rates from doubling. The Democratic proposal reduces the deficit by more than $4 trillion with a plan that includes 40% new revenue and 60% spending reductions. I voted YES. The proposal failed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

0

225

0

6

DEMOCRAT

165

28

0

7

TOTAL

165

253

0

13

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

0

0

0

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), of which I am a member, also offered an alternative budget proposal. It too includes a combination of new revenue and spending reductions, representing a balanced approach to addressing the deficit. It protects Social Security and Medicare and invests in jobs creation. The CPC budget reduces the deficit by $4.4 trillion over a ten year period. I voted YES. The proposal failed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

0

225

0

6

DEMOCRAT

84

102

1

13

TOTAL

84

327

1

19

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

5

4

0

0

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) also offered a balanced budget proposal. It reduces the deficit while maintaining the social safety net and making investments in the economy. The CBC proposal includes resources for education, housing, veterans, science research and infrastructure, which will help stabilize the economy and create jobs. I voted YES. The proposal failed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

0

225

0

6

DEMOCRAT

105

80

1

14

TOTAL

105

305

1

20

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

8

1

0

0

Finally, the House considered the Senate budget proposal. This too is a vast improvement over the Ryan budget. It reduces the deficit in a responsible way by combining new revenue with targeted spending cuts. It exceeds the bipartisan goal of reducing the deficit by $4 trillion over ten years. I voted YES. The proposal failed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

0

226

0

5

DEMOCRAT

154

35

0

11

TOTAL

154

261

0

16

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

0

0

0

Continuing Resolution

Yesterday the House completed action on a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government by approving the Senate Amendment to H.R. 933. This measure combines all of the required appropriations bills into one bill. Although this is an improvement over the House passed CR, it still leaves sequestration in place for the rest of the fiscal year. It does provide some flexibility in terms of targeting the cuts, but it does not extend that flexibility to all of the programs impacted by sequestration. Furthermore, passing a CR is just another way of delaying debate on the budget. I voted NO. The CR passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

203

27

0

1

DEMOCRAT

115

82

0

3

TOTAL

318

109

0

4

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

1

8

0

0

What’s Up Next Week

A two week District Work period has been scheduled. Next votes will occur on Tuesday, April 9th.

Mike


Congressman Mike Capuano
7th District, Massachusetts
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee on Financial Services

P.S. I welcome your feedback on our e-Updates. Please let me and my staff know what you think of this service by e-mailing our office.


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and
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