19 July 2011

Rosa DeLauro calls Republican Congresspeople Hostage-Takers


Cut, Cap, and Balance Act will destroy job growth, opportunities for middle class

Washington, DC—Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (CT-3), Ranking Member on the Labor, Education, Health, and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, made the following remarks on the Floor of the United States House of Representatives today during the debate on the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act.

As Prepared for Delivery

I rise in strong opposition to this rule and the legislation before us today. If we do not act in two weeks, the United States will for the first time in history default on its debt. With the economy in such a vulnerable position right now, we should be working to create jobs.  But, instead of acting responsibly and in a bipartisan way to raise the debt ceiling, the Republican majority has decided to make this a form of hostage-taking to press their agenda. 

Congress has always paid for its past financial commitments, with Republican majorities agreeing on raising the debt ceiling seven times during the Bush Administration. Everyone understands the long-term challenge posed by budget deficits and President Obama and Democrats support a balanced approach to addressing that challenge. Yet the ideological and extreme bill before us today does not address the number one concern of the American public, jobs, but rather seeks to implement an agenda that will in fact destroy jobs and the social safety net, end Medicare and reduce the Social Security benefits our seniors have earned and deserved.

Rather than making investments to create jobs and economic growth, the Republican majority is proposing cuts which will lead to a loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, even as we are mired in unacceptably high unemployment. With this bill, the Republicans choose to put in place a spending cap that will cement in law the Republican budget that chooses to end Medicare and places the burden of deficit reduction on the backs of the middle class and the most vulnerable.

And finally, the Republican majority is choosing to hold an increase in the debt ceiling hostage to an approval of an amendment that will make it impossible to raise revenue. What do I mean? It will make it impossible to end the subsidies to big oil, make it impossible to close the loopholes that allow corporations to ship their jobs overseas or abuse tax havens that allow them to pay almost nothing in federal taxes.

To achieve deficit reduction, they will end Medicare, implement deep cuts to Social Security and other programs that are critical to the middle class. Instead, what they need to do is to go after the 12 largest corporations in this nation, corporations that Citizens for Tax Justice have shown to pay a negative 1.5 percent tax on $171 billion in profits and about $64 billion in tax subsidies. You want to do something to balance the budget and make a deal for deficit reduction, go after those corporations that are paying zero in taxes instead of going after middle-class Americans or seniors who rely on Medicare and who rely on social security.

This Republican agenda undermines America as a country where middle-class American families have an opportunity for a decent retirement. I urge my colleagues to oppose this outrageous piece of legislation.

 This video comes with a Hat Tip (*not* a Cut and Cap Tip) to Matt Stoller

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