They Just Don’t Get It

DavidCicilline

The following originally appeared on The Huffington Post.

Yesterday, less than a year after a similar proposal was defeated, the House Republican leadership held a vote on a budget proposal that would extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, make deep cuts to programs that serve middle class families and end the Medicare guarantee for our seniors.

As the congressman representing Rhode Island’s First District, I have spoken with families across our state who are tired of the same old political games that got our country into this mess to begin with.

They know that Washington should put politics aside and work on policies that will create jobs, support our middle class, and put the economy back on the right track.

But the budget proposed by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), and approved 228-191 by the House yesterday, would not only fail to create jobs, it would also cut education and job training programs by a total of $166 billion over the next ten years.

And with so many Americans out of work, it’s hard to believe that the House Republican leadership would ask members to support a budget proposal that would seriously undermine key investments that are so important to creating jobs. Rather than trying to pass another tax giveaway for the richest among us, House Republicans should join with Democrats and enact public policies that will actually benefit our middle class and working families.

But that’s not all. This Republican budget proposal would also replace the current health care system for our seniors with a voucher program that could allow Medicare to wither on the vine and shift costs to seniors.

That’s why, yesterday, I supported an alternative budget proposal introduced by Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) that would have preserved the Medicare guarantee, permanently extended middle class tax cuts, and maintained vital investments in transportation jobs, manufacturing, and education — while also reducing the deficit through polices that balance spending cuts and increased revenue. This proposal stood in stark contrast to the Ryan plan — and closely aligned with the priorities shared by many Rhode Islanders, but this proposal was ultimately voted down in the Republican-controlled House.

Earlier this week, I spoke out against the Ryan proposal on the House floor. And yesterday, after supporting the Van Hollen proposal, I joined my Democratic colleagues in voting against the Ryan budget. With virtually no chance that this radical legislation will ever pass in the Senate, it’s unfortunate that Washington has once again chosen political posturing over pragmatism.

During my first term in Congress, I’ve been working to support innovative solutions that will reignite the American dream and build ladders of opportunity for anyone willing to work hard, take responsibility, and play by the rules.

It’s too bad House Republicans are fine with more of the same broken political rhetoric.

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