Yesterday the U.S. House approved a fiscal year 2014 budget prepared by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. The bill also sets budget levels for fiscal years 2015 through 2023. Bleeding Heartland covered Iowa reaction to the latest Ryan budget here. After the jump I have details on yesterday’s vote and statements released by members of the Iowa delegation.
Despite the spin from some Congressional Republicans and Governor Terry Branstad, it’s important to remember that Ryan’s budget is not balanced and will not be balanced even 10 years from now. Both the non-partisan Tax Policy Center and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities have noted that Ryan does not say how he would offset trillions in lost revenue from income tax cuts he proposes. In addition, the Ryan budget “understates defense spending by $100 billion over the next ten years” and assumes that the 2010 health care reform law will be repealed, which obviously won’t happen. The Ryan plan isn’t about eliminating the federal deficit, it’s a plan to end Medicare as a single-payer program and change the role of the federal government in the lives of low-income Americans.
Not a single House Democrat supported the Ryan budget yesterday. All 197 Democrats who were present voted no, joined by 10 Republicans. It appears that some of the Republicans opposed the budget because in their opinion, it doesn’t cut spending enough.
However, 221 House Republicans, including Iowa’s Tom Latham (IA-03) and Steve King (IA-04), voted yes on the Ryan budget.
Before the final vote on passage, House members rejected five substitute amendments yesterday, offering different visions for the federal budget. The House Progressive Caucus alternative, which you can read about here, only drew 84 votes in favor. I noticed that neither Braley nor Loebsack voted for the Progressive budget.
The vote on the House Republican Study Committee’s budget was the most interesting. Most of the Democratic caucus voted “present” rather than no, as a way of forcing House Republicans to vote down the proposal, which is even more radical than the Ryan budget.
The budget plan would cut discretionary spending to 2008 levels, and then freeze them there until the budget balances in 2017. It also seeks to simplify the tax code and would move Medicare to a premium-support system.
Steve King was one of the 104 Republicans who supported the House Republican Study Committee’s budget. Tom Latham was among the 118 Republicans to vote against it. Braley and Loebsack were among the 14 Democrats who went on record voting “no” on this amendment; the rest of the Democrats voted “present.”
Statement released by Representative Bruce Braley (emphasis in original):
Braley Statement on Vote against Ryan Budget
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today released the following statement after he voted against Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget bill:
“The Ryan Budget balances the federal budget on the backs of seniors and working Americans, and that’s why I voted against it.
“By changing Medicare as we know it, the Ryan Budget puts the promise of Medicare at risk for future generations of retirees who have paid into the program their whole lives. This budget also does nothing to address the damaging across-the-board budget cuts that went into effect March 1st.
“Finally, I’m disappointed by the hypocrisy of this budget. It abolishes Obamacare, yet continues to rely on $716 billion in Medicare savings created by Obamacare. And it includes revenues created by a small tax increase on the wealthiest Americans that started January 1st, even though Paul Ryan and his political allies fought that every step of the way. If House Republicans had been willing to even consider these new revenues a year ago, we wouldn’t be facing the problems caused by ‘sequestration’ and its damaging cuts to vital federal programs.
“The American people want a balanced approach to deficit reduction, and they’re sick of these political games. It’s time that Republicans and Democrats came together to do the hard work of reducing the debt.”
Statement released by Representative Dave Loebsack:
Loebsack Statement on the FY2014 Republican Budget
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement after the House of Representatives voted on the Republican budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2014.
“A budget is a set of priorities, a vision of the direction you believe the country should be moving towards. Unfortunately, the Republican budget that passed the House today would balance the budget on the backs of seniors and middle class families, those who did not get us into this fiscal mess. We’ve got to grow the economy, create jobs and substantially reduce the unsustainable deficit over the long-term, but it must be done in a balanced way. In order to do that, Republicans and Democrats have to sit down with one another and truly make the difficult decisions that are necessary to get our economy moving again. We must lay our political differences aside and pass a commonsense budget.”
Statement from Representative Tom Latham:
US HOUSE PASSES BALANCED BUDGET PLAN THAT WOULD GROW ECONOMY, SAVE AND STRENGTHEN RETIREMENT PROGRAMS
House GOP Plan Is Stark Contrast with Senate & House Democrats’ Lack of Concern over Deficits
Washington, Mar 21 – Iowa Congressman Tom Latham voted today for a House budget resolution that would balance the budget in ten years, help encourage economic and job growth for a nation still struggling, and save and strengthen the important retirement program promises and personal health care choices of seniors. Latham noted that the plan helps make government sustainable and more accountable to Americans in the long term, ensuring that Washington does not continue spending beyond its means.
“Hardworking, responsible Iowans prioritize and balance their own finances every month, and they deserve nothing less from their elected officials,” Congressman Latham said. “The budget plan approved today balances the budget while saving and strengthening Medicare, protecting the health care choices of seniors, fixing our broken tax system, and setting us on a course to responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars and job growth. It achieves the basic goals of accountability and fiscal soundness that are necessary to get our economy moving again.”
The House budget stands in stark contrast to the Senate Democrats’ proposal, which allows an increased level of spending that results in endless budget deficits, and hikes taxes by as much as $1.5 trillion. House Democrats also offered a budget that never balances but does smother American families with over $1.2 trillion in taxes, all while increasing federal spending by $5 trillion more than the GOP plan over the next decade. House and Senate Democrats clearly and publically rejected the idea of putting forward a plan that puts the federal budget on a path to balance. Both the House and Senate Democrat plans also ignore the need to address the impending crisis in the Medicare program — instead allowing the safety net to unravel, jeopardizing the retirement security of America’s seniors. Latham added that this presents Americans with two clear visions for the future of the country.
“Government has its limits, and the potential of the American people has none. While the Senate and House Democrats’ tax-and-spend blueprints reject this truth, the House-passed budget embraces it, giving us a clear view of who is on the side of the Iowa taxpayer and who isn’t.”
Additionally, the House budget guarantees the solvency of Medicare for future generations while also protecting the personal health care choices of seniors from decisions by Washington bureaucrats. In addition to preserving the program, the budget offers future enrollees a voluntary option to choose an insurance plan from a menu of choices, similar to the health plan that is available to members of Congress. Among the options offered is traditional Medicare.
The statement from Representative Steve King (emphasis in original) does not mention having voted for the House Republican Study Committee alternative.
King Votes to Balance the Budget
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Steve King released the following statement after voting in favor of the House Republican budget (H.Con.Res.25). The budget would achieve balance in the next 10 years by fully repealing ObamaCare and slowing the growth of government spending from 5% a year to 3.4% a year. The House Republican budget saves and strengthens Medicare and applies the lessons of the successful welfare reform efforts of the 1990’s to other means-tested programs. The budget would also fix our broken tax code, getting rid of special interest breaks and loopholes while lowering rates for families and businesses in a revenue-neutral fashion.
“When I first came to Congress, I went to the Chairman of the Budget Committee and asked ‘Where’s our balanced budget?’ The answer I received was, ‘A balanced budget is impossible.’ Despite years of overspending since then by President Obama and Congressional Democrats,” said King, “this House Republican budget we passed today does what a budget should do: it gets to balance.
This is a pro-growth budget that begins the process of returning the federal government to its proper role. By repealing ObamaCare, this budget sets the stage for real, common-sense reforms to reduce health care costs for American families and businesses. By scrapping our current tax code and replacing it with a simpler, fairer, and more competitive one, this budget will put people back to work, increase Americans’ take-home pay, and get our economy growing in ways we haven’t seen for far too long. Finally, by stopping Washington’s practice of spending money we don’t have, this budget will get to balance and begin the process of warding off the debt crisis and austerity measures we’re now seeing in Europe.
Republicans continue to make the hard choices necessary to govern. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats haven’t passed a budget in four years because they have been unwilling to put their plans on paper and show the American people just how much taxing and spending is needed to sustain their vision of government. Now that Senate Democrats have been forced by the House of Representatives and by the American people to put a budget forward, we can see with our eyes what we’ve known all along: their budgets will never balance, would revive discredited stimulus spending, would allow our nation’s entitlement programs to go broke, and would raise taxes a trillion dollars. That’s unacceptable. The American people deserve better, and today’s House Republican budget delivers that better choice.”