Despite Americans soundly rejecting the Republican budget to end Medicare–with a new CNN poll out today finding 58% oppose and opposition from senior citizens even higher at 74%–House Republicans doubled down on ending Medicare by passing a Rule on the Homeland Security Appropriations bill which “deems” that the Republican budget is passed:
Provides that H. Con. Res. 34, including the related 302(a) allocations printed in the Rules Committee report accompanying the resolution, shall have force and effect until a conference report on the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2012 is adopted.
House Democrats unanimously opposed the Rule today and the Republican budget ending Medicare which increases costs by $6,000 a year for seniors, cuts benefits immediately, and puts insurance companies in charge.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), who managed the rule debate, explains what the Republican Rule does:
Leader Pelosi on how the Republican budget is a “window to the soul of the Republican party in this House of Representatives” that gives big oil companies and the wealthiest tax cuts, while saying to seniors ‘no more Medicare for you’:
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise in opposition to the rule that is on the floor today because voting for this rule is a vote to abolish Medicare.
Here we are once again, after the public has spoken so clearly on this subject of wanting to have Medicare as a pillar of health and economic security for our seniors. The Republicans saying: ‘We’re going to double down. Not only did we vote to abolish Medicare, increasing costs for seniors, lowering benefits and while giving tax breaks to oil companies and corporations for shipping jobs overseas, not only have we done that once, but we’re going to do it again today—on a day that we’re going to swear in a new Member of Congress, a reminder that all of us takes an oath of office to protect and defend.’
And this bill, the bill that this rule comes up on Homeland Security, undermines the ability to protect and defend the American people. So this is a double whammy. It’s a threat again to the health and economic security of our seniors and those who depend on Medicare, and it is a threat to the safety of the American people.
I heard my colleague, Mr. Markey, talk about purgatory and rapture and the rest and his original and effective presentation, and it reminded me what we always say when we talk about a budget, that it should be a statement of our values. What is important to us should be reflected there. Our budget proposals, we had one under the leadership of Chris Van Hollen that was heard and voted on by the floor a number of weeks ago.
The Republican budget that is on the floor today in the form of this rule, are windows to the soul of who we are as public officials, and this rule today, which deems passage of the Republican budget, is a window to the soul of the Republican party in this House of Representatives—that it would put oil companies, giving big tax subsidies to Big Oil, would put corporations that ship jobs overseas, would give tax cuts to the wealthiest people in our country, while it says to seniors: ‘No more Medicare for you. You’re going to pay more, get less and weaken the middle class at the same time—weakening the middle class because of abolishing Medicare and weakening the middle class because of what it does to education, for our young children and making college more expensive for nearly 10 million young people in our country.’ Is that an investment in the future? I don’t think so.
But it’s really important when we talk about our soul and our values and our—what our priorities, that we note that a vote for this bill is a really serious assault on the middle class. People are concerned about the dignity of and retirement of our seniors. They’re concerned about the education of our children. They want to reduce the deficit. We must create jobs. Growth in our economy will help reduce the deficit. This bill does none of the above. So again, it’s about what we believe in.
And Mr. Speaker, I have to give you credit for this, the Republicans are true to what they believe in. They do not believe in Medicare and they are voting today to honor their beliefs to abolish Medicare. That has been a consistent message over time. It is reinforced here today. I urge my colleagues to vote no on the rule and no on the underlying bill.
Ways and Means Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) on House Republicans voting, for the second time, to end Medicare:
This is indeed an open rule. In the sense it’s so open that if you vote for the rule you’re voting to end Medicare. Republicans have done this once. If you vote for this you’re going to do it twice. And the gentleman who is handling this for the majority earlier talked about Medicare and said the Republicans are trying to save it. You don’t save something by ending it — purely and simply. And to come to this floor and say you’re saving it when you’re ending it — that kind of talk is a big lie.
We heard this with Social Security some years ago, when the effort to privatize it was said to be an effort to save it. The public caught on and the public said no. The public has now said no to ending Medicare, but essentially you’re tone deaf. Now you’re doubling down on your plan to end it, a plan that would force seniors to pay twice as much for their health care, a plan that increases seniors’ drug costs and a plan that puts insurance companies in charge of senior health care.
So, instead of a bipartisan effort to save it, by this rule you are essentially deeming the budget that you passed that ended Medicare. So don’t come and say you’re saviors when you are eliminating a program. Stand up and be honest and say you want to replace it with something else. That something else is not Medicare, it’s turning over to the private insurance industry and saying to seniors who become eligible, who would be, instead you are going to double your costs. That’s not forthright. If you vote again, if you vote yes on the rule, you are the second time voting to end Medicare. I yield back.
Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) in strong opposition:
Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ) in strong opposition:
And Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) explains how the “Republican Rapture” brings “billionaires and Big Oil to the economic stratosphere” while leaving “grandma and students behind”: