By Brad Woodhouse, DNC Communications Director
Next week on the House floor, Republicans will vote on legislation that would raise the debt ceiling with impractical and irresponsible conditions. Instead of introducing a serious approach with realistic policy goals, the GOP is turning to political grandstanding – the "plan" they've offered would undercut economic growth and hamper critical programs that benefit American families.
The Republican bill, called the “Cut, Cap and Balance Act of 2011” (H.R. 2560), should be more aptly called “dodge, duck, and dismantle.”
It’s a measure that would curb investment in economic necessities like education, clean energy, and research and development – it’s the Ryan Republican budget on steroids. More specifically, this bill could:
•Slash clean-energy investment by 70 percent;
•Cut education resources by 25 percent;
•Eliminate health coverage for 50 million people, including folks with disabilities and low-income children;
•Jack up seniors’ Medicare out-of-pocket costs by an average of $6,400 per year;
•Slash Social Security benefits by as much as $3,000 per year for an average recipient.
Additionally, the GOP plan would arbitrarily limit federal spending to 18 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Though a random spending cap may be in vogue for Republicans, the timing reeks of political opportunism and challenges the constitutionality of even their own proposals.
President Obama’s predecessor, President Bush – with the help of current Republican leadership – grew federal spending to nearly 25 percent from 19.1 percent of GDP between 2002 and 2009. Politifact.com commented that federal spending during that period was “higher than it [had] been in any year since 1949 -- 60 years prior.”
If that weren’t enough, even the Republican-passed budget from this year and its “draconian cuts to Medicare and Medicaid” would be unconstitutional under a balanced budget amendment.
Furthermore, the GOP bill creates a false choice between government default and passing a balanced budget amendment. Just as President Obama noted last week, Congress shouldn’t need a constitutional amendment to do its job.
The President’s opposition to a balanced budget amendment is echoed by a coalition of 246 advocacy and progressive-minded organizations.
In a Statement of Administration Policy, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reiterates the President’s position:
“The President has proposed a comprehensive and balanced framework that ensures we live within our means and reduces the deficit by $4 trillion, while supporting economic growth and long-term job creation, protecting critical investments, and meeting the commitments made to provide economic security to Americans no matter their circumstances. H.R. 2560 is inconsistent with this responsible framework to restore fiscal responsibility and is not an appropriate method of reducing the Nation’s deficits and debt. The administration is committed to working with the Congress on a bipartisan basis to achieve real solutions.”
If Republicans move forward with their plan instead of seeking a bipartisan compromise, the President announced that he would veto it.
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