While debate concluded on the Continuing Resolution for the FY 2011 budget, the House took up H.Con.Res. 34: Establishing the budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2012 and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2013 through 2021.
This is the Republican budget blueprint released last week by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan. H.Con.Res. 34 is more troubling than the CR we just completed because of the path it sets our country on. First, it doesn't reduce the deficit at all in fact, it adds over $8 trillion to the deficit over ten years. The proposal makes permanent the Bush tax cuts that were extended last year. That alone will add $1 trillion to our deficit over ten years. It repeals health care reform and reduces the top individual tax rate from 35% to 25% another break for the wealthiest Americans.
The proposal also changes the Medicare program for everyone currently under 55, providing $8,000 a year for health care expenses and sending them into the private market to purchase insurance. A typical plan for a senior couple with a pre-existing condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes could cost more than $20,000, leaving seniors with $12,000 in out of pocket expenses. This is double what the average senior pays today in out of pocket costs. In addition, Medicaid funding would turn into a block grant for states to spend as they choose which could result in the dollars being spent elsewhere.
On Wednesday President Obama presented his vision for reducing the deficit, which is certainly better than the Republican budget plan. The President emphasized his commitment to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. He also definitively stated that the country cannot afford to renew tax cuts for the wealthy that are due to expire at the end of next year. Of course, details matter, and I look forward to receiving more information about the President's proposals.
I voted NO on H.Con.Res. 34, which passed today and the entire vote is recorded below:
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