Fiscal year 2012 budget

To the Editor:
The American people are looking for a plan that offers realistic solutions to the challenges facing our country, and I support a federal budget that reduces the deficit in a responsible way. Unfortunately, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has offered a proposal for Fiscal Year 2012 that undermines American values and hinders our nation’s recovery. The Ryan Budget drastically reduces healthcare for seniors, cuts access to education, and limits housing assistance.
Not only does it slash vital funding, but it continues irrational tax breaks for big businesses and greatly reduces tax revenue from the wealthiest. Ryan’s so-called “Path to Prosperity” does not make the necessary reforms to tax policy, and it places the entire burden of reducing the deficit on working families.
Chairman Ryan’s budget unfairly targets our nation’s seniors by ending both the Medicare and Medicaid programs as we know them. This budget would gut the Medicare program under the disguise of reform by threatening to turn it into a voucher program that will shift more costs to seniors and their families. It also attacks seniors from another angle with deep cuts to Medicaid, which serves as our nation’s primary payer for long-term care. Medicaid will be starved by shifting the costs of the program from the federal government to states. Before Medicare and Medicaid, nearly one-half of America’s seniors were uninsured. Ryan’s budget drags us back to the past instead of strengthening these programs for the well being of seniors and future generations.
The Ryan Budget proposal also ignores many of the programs needed in our economic recovery, such as job training, housing assistance, and education. In fact, the proposal’s policy toward the poor paints an incoherent picture. It makes food assistance and housing aid for the poor contingent upon working or job training, but then consolidates job training programs and cuts funding for those programs. Furthermore, the budget makes reductions in housing assistance that benefits our most vulnerable populations. The budget even slashes housing assistance to veterans. The nation’s veterans cannot be asked to shoulder the burden of the tough fiscal decisions that must be made.
Under the proposed budget resolution, education funding would be cut to below Fiscal Year 2008 levels and then frozen for five years. Additionally, the proposed budget resolution would reduce the maximum Pell Grant award, so many students would be deemed ineligible for this assistance. Congress should be making sure that all students, instead of a small handful of students, are given the opportunity to receive the best education possible.
We need a budget that reduces our deficit, focuses on economic growth by continuing investments in education, health care, and jobs, while raising revenue by eliminating tax breaks for Big Oil and rejecting new tax cuts for the wealthy. Hardworking Americans should not be forced to pay for these unfair policies that benefit special interests and allow needed jobs to be shipped overseas.

Member of Congress

© 2000, Newspaper Media Group