Lake County News -- Thompson, Garamendi vote against House Republican fiscal year 2015 budget

Apr 11, 2014
News Articles
By Lake County News reports

Lake County's House of Representatives members, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) and Rep. John Garamendi (CA-3), on Thursday joined a bipartisan group of representatives in voting against H.Con.Res. 96, the House Majority’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (WI-1).

The budget resolution passed by a vote of 219-205.

No Democrats voted for the resolution and 12 Republicans voted against the resolution.

The Senate will not pass H.Con.Res. 96, and if they did, the president would veto it, the congressmen reported.

“This reckless spending plan will kill jobs, end the guarantee of Medicare for America’s seniors, raises taxes on middle-class families while rewarding the wealthy and corporations that ship jobs overseas, gut our education system and make college more expensive for hard working families,” said Thompson. “The American people deserve a better path forward – one that shrinks our deficit and strengthens our middle class by creating jobs, cutting spending and asking everyone to pay their fair share. I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass a responsible budget that grows our economy and gets our fiscal house in order.”

“If enacted into law, this extreme Tea Party-inspired budget would wreck havoc on my district and communities across America,” said Garamendi. “Construction on levees in flood prone Sacramento Valley communities would be delayed. College students would shoulder even more debt. Agricultural researchers at UC Davis would see their groundbreaking work halted. Seniors in Rio Vista would see their health costs skyrocket. Struggling families in my district would see food, housing, and health care taken away from them.”

According to the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, the cuts made in the House Majority’s budget will cost the economy three million jobs and decrease economic growth by 2.5 percent in 2016. The budget makes cuts to job creating investments in infrastructure, clean energy, education, research, innovation, and manufacturing.

Garamendi and Thompson also faulted the House Majority’s FY 2015 budget for proposing to end the Medicare guarantee by transforming Medicare into a privatized voucher program. Under this program, rather than having guaranteed coverage of benefits, seniors would receive a voucher and would need to use that voucher to purchase private insurance or traditional Medicare.

The budget also increases the costs of prescription drugs and preventive care for seniors. The plan repeals the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which would re-open the Medicare Part D “donut hole” and end free preventive services such as cancer screenings that seniors now receive under the health care reform law.

Since the enactment of the ACA, 7.9 million people with Medicare, including more than 358,000 Californians, have saved over $9.9 billion on their prescription drugs. And, in 2013, an estimated 37.2 million people with Medicare took advantage of at least one free preventive service thanks to the ACA, Thompson's office reported.

The budget also jeopardizes nursing home care for tens of thousands of seniors in California by cutting federal Medicaid funding for California by more than $95 billion over the next 10 years.

The budget cuts the top corporate tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent at a cost of $1 trillion, and taxpayers with income exceeding $1 million in 2015 would receive an average net tax decrease of more $200,000 that year. These cuts and tax breaks are paid for by increasing taxes on middle class families with children by an average of $2,000 per family.

H.Con.Res. 96 cuts college student aid and support by a total of $260 billion over the next 10 years. Pell Grants, which 10 million students depend on to pay for college, are cut by $145 billion over 10 years. Pell Grants currently help students cover one-third of the cost of attending a four-year public college. College students in California will receive more than $246 million less in Pell Grants, and 51,350 fewer California students will receive Pell Grants needed to help pay for college.

The budget plan also increases the cost of college loans by charging interest on college loans while students are still in school. This will raise the cost of student loans by $41 billion over ten years.

Additionally, 21,140 fewer children in California would receive Head Start services under the House Majority’s Budget.

Under the House Majority’s budget passed Thursday, 175,300 Californians would lose training and employment services, and 313,200 Californians would lose job search assistance. Nearly 7,000 California children could lose access to child care. And, 1,315 fewer victims of domestic violence in California would be served through the STOP Violence Against Women Program.

H.Con.Res. 96 now goes to the Senate for their consideration.