Rep. Steny Hoyer
U.S. Representative, Maryland's 5th congressional district
Posted: 03/30/2012 9:41 am
This week the House voted on budget proposals for Fiscal Year 2013. The Republican budget, put forward by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, was presented as "a choice between two futures" that would show a stark contrast between their priorities and those of Democrats.
They were absolutely right: the choice could not be more clear. The Republican budget presents the American people with a vivid picture of the direction its authors want to take this country. Its vision consists of ending the Medicare guarantee and cutting taxes for the wealthiest among us, while putting jobs and our economic recovery at risk.
By ending the Medicare guarantee, the Republican budget shifts increasing costs to seniors and the disabled over the next several years. It reopens the Medicare Part D "donut hole" -- that is now closing, thanks to the Affordable Care Act -- which will lead to $44 billion in increased drug costs for seniors by 2020. Furthermore, their budget turns Medicaid into a block grant program and slashes its funding by one-third over the next decade, jeopardizing access to health care and nursing home care for seniors, the disabled, and low-income Americans. And it repeals the patient protections and the cost containment policies of the Affordable Care Act.
At the same time, the Republican budget cuts jobs and puts our economic recovery at risk by slashing critical investments in programs that are key to our economic strength and that protect the most vulnerable among us. It cuts highway funding, which will impede our ability to support commerce and all the jobs that depend on goods moving quickly from manufacturer to market. It decimates investments in education and in building an educated workforce through reductions in financial aid to millions of students -- including cuts to Pell grants -- and it will widen the achievement gap by kicking more than 200,000 low-income preschoolers out of Head Start. Instead of providing a boost to innovation, a driver for economic competitiveness, the Republican budget cuts $11 billion in scientific, medical, and technological research just next year alone. Their budget also guts programs aimed at deploying domestic renewable energy and advanced vehicle technologies -- areas where investments could grow countless middle-class jobs for years to come, and are critical to pursuing an "all of the above" energy strategy.