FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
CONTACT: MARA LEE
Rep. Matsui Votes Against Efforts to Undermine Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security
“Cut, Cap, and End Medicare” Bill Would Make Draconian Cuts, Force America to Default on Loans
WASHINGTON, D. C. – Today, Congresswoman Doris O. Matsui (D-Sacramento) voted against H.R. 2560, the so-called “Cut, Cap, and Balance” Act, or more appropriately the “Cut, Cap, and End Medicare” Act. This legislation incorporates the Republican budget proposal introduced by Paul Ryan (R-WI) that the House passed in April; meaning that today’s vote marks the third time this year that House Republicans have voted to end Medicare.
“H.R. 2560 bill is even more extreme than the Republican Budget passed in April, calling for deeper cuts and more hardship for the middle class and older Americans,” Congresswoman Matsui stated during debate on the House floor. “In fact, this bill does nothing to create jobs, nor invest in the roads, bridges, clean energy technology, job training and education that would get our economy moving. In short, H.R. 2560 will stifle growth, hurt middle class families, and undercut America’s seniors.”
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the measure, “…stands out as one of the most ideologically extreme pieces of major budget legislation to come before Congress in years, if not decades.” H.R. 2560 is extreme in several ways. First and foremost, it would require that both the House and Senate pass a radical Constitutional amendment and send it to the states for ratification before the debt limit can be raised, in effect ensuring that the debt ceiling is not raised by the August 2nd deadline, at which point the federal government is expected to default on its obligations.
Moreover, the level to which the bill would limit government spending would force cuts so severe that it would pave the way for the privatization of Medicare, the strangling of Medicaid, and the gutting of Social Security. Unfortunately, instead of negotiating in good faith with Democrats and the President to find a deal to avoid default, House Republicans have made their priorities clear: they will hold this country hostage until they eliminate not only our nation’s basic safety net, but also eliminate the guaranteed benefits under Medicare, and the earned benefits under Social Security. And they are doing so, while at the same time maintaining tax subsidies to Big Oil, and making it much more difficult to close tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas.
The draconian Republican proposal would reverse decades of precedent that exempt cuts to basic services for the most vulnerable Americans. H.R. 2560 specifically subjects all such programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to across-the-board cuts if its spending caps are exceeded. This would mark the first time such action would be called for since the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law of 1985.
Over the last 45 years, Medicare has succeeded in providing health care security for American families. In fact, today, 47 million Americans receive comprehensive health care coverage through Medicare, including 85,000 in California’s Fifth Congressional District. For many of these enrollees, these programs are the difference between making ends meet and living in poverty.
In fact, the average senior citizen in America lives on a fixed income of slightly more than $19,000 a year; and two-thirds of retirees rely on Social Security for more than half of their income – one-third for 90 percent or more. With the cost of daily basic necessities such as groceries, gas, and medical care on the rise, many senior citizens would simply not be able to afford the proposed cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
“Each of these programs are an important part of our ability to keep Sacramento families healthy – both physically and financially,” Matsui added. “I will continue to fight to ensure that they are protected.”
As co-chair of the Congressional Seniors Task Force, Congresswoman Matsui has been an outspoken critic of proposals to put Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security on the chopping block. Last week, the Congresswoman wrote a letter to President Obama, in which 34 of her colleagues joined her in asking that he protect these programs as he continues to work on a deal to avoid government default. For more information about Congresswoman Matsui’s work in Congress, please visit www.matsui.house.gov. To see video footage of her speech today on the House floor, click here.
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