February 1, 2006- Statement on S. 1932, the Budget Reconciliation Spending Cuts Conference Report

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to this nearly $40 billion cut from programs to help poor and middle class Americans.

Last night, in the State of the Union President Bush said, “our greatness is not measured in power or luxuries, but by who we are and how we treat one another.  So we strive to be a compassionate, decent, hopeful society.”

Yet the Republican’s first act after the President uttered those words is to take hope and help away from those who need it most.

• This Republican reconciliation bill slashes $11.9 billion from student loan programs to help kids go to college.

• It cuts $6.4 billion from Medicare and makes elderly beneficiaries pay higher premiums for their health care.

• It cuts $1.5 billion from programs to make sure that dead beat dads take responsibility for their actions and pay their child support.

• And it takes away $6.9 billion from Medicaid which helps the poorest and sickest children and families in our country get healthcare.

And all of the money that is taken away from the poor and middle class will go straight into the pockets of the ultra-rich.

While the Republicans claim that this Reconciliation process will reduce the deficit, it will have the exact opposite effect.

The Republican Reconciliation package will increase the deficit by giving more and more tax cuts to the ultra-rich.

While cutting Medicaid, Medicare and student loans will do little to offset the $122 billion dollars in tax cuts that the Republicans have passed over the past year, it will have an enormous impact on the lives of average Americans.

What does this say about who we are and how we treat one another?

It says that this Republican Congress believes that it is more important to make their fat cat friends fatter, than it is to provide education, health care and child support to those who need it most. 

So much for compassion and decency.

This Republican bill does not simply rob the poor of resources. The proposed cuts rob the poor of opportunity by targeting programs that work to bridge the gap between rich and poor and even the playing field for all American families.

Our country deserves better than empty promises and recycled rhetoric from our leaders.

Vote NO on this irresponsible, short-sighted and immoral Republican Reconciliation package.