WASHINGTON, D.C. – House and Senate Republicans are taking advantage of the alphabet soup of hurricanes from Katrina to Wilma to slash federal spending on programs for the poor and elderly, food stamps and student loans. Although a vote was expected today on a House resolution that would bump spending cuts from a projected $35 billion to over $50 billion, Republicans put a hold on today’s vote. Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called on House Republicans to end the budget reconciliation shell game.

“Last March, the Republicans decided to cut $35 billion in programs to protect the most vulnerable while shoveling $106 billion out the door to the richest fat cats in the form of massive tax cuts.

That was before Katrina hit.

Since then, the Republicans have learned that 100,000 people in New Orleans did not have cars to escape the floods and that 50% of all children in Louisiana live in poverty.

So what have the Republicans decided to do?

Make more cuts!

Now they want a $50 Billion cut from Medicaid, Food Stamps and Student Loans!

The Republicans are building levees around their threatened tax breaks, while steering the flood waters towards the programs that matter to the rest of America.

Today, we were supposed to have a vote on this budget resolution, but with Hurricane Wilma headed for Florida –Republicans see an opportunity to make these cuts even deeper.

As Hurricane Wilma races towards the shores of the U.S., House Republicans budget-slashers see a new opportunity to use the devastation of a natural disaster to impose a manmade budget disaster on those Americans most in need. Republicans see this hurricane as a 145 mph free pass to further an agenda that is out of synch with the American people.

These hurricanes are the best friend that Republicans have to further their conservative social agenda – to cut Medicaid, food stamps, and student loans while protecting the wealthy against further budget storm damage,” said Rep. Markey.

For more information on Representative Markey’s work to protect the most vulnerable Americans from dangerous budget cuts check out Representative Markey’s website at http://www.house.gov/markey/

October 20, 2005
 CONTACT: Tara McGuinness