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According to a new Citizens for Tax Justice analysis of the latest Ryan Budget, millionaires would reap huge benefits – getting an average tax cut of at least $200,000.

As in previous years, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has released a budget proposal that includes some specific, enormous tax cuts with a vague promise that the amount of revenue collected by the federal government would somehow be unchanged. There is no way the plan could be implemented without providing millionaires with tax cuts averaging at least $200,000…

For taxpayers with income exceeding $1 million, the benefit of Ryan’s tax rate reductions and other proposed tax cuts would far exceed the loss of any tax expenditures. In fact, under Ryan’s plan taxpayers with income exceeding $1 million in 2015 would receive an average net tax decrease of over $200,000 that year even if they had to give up all of their tax expenditures. These taxpayers would see an even larger net tax decrease if Congress failed to limit or eliminate enough tax expenditures to offset the costs of the proposed tax cuts.

The American people won’t stand for another Ryan Republican Budget that dishes out huge tax cuts to the wealthy few and protects corporations that ship jobs overseas at the expense of hardworking, middle class families, seniors, students and our nation’s economic competitiveness.

Posted in Affordable Health Care, Consumer Protections, Economic News, Fiscal Responsibility, General, In the News, Labor and American Jobs, Retirement Security | Leave a comment

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the GOP-Ryan budget released this morning would have a devastating impact on American workers and the larger economy.

From EPI: By Ignoring Economic Reality, Ryan Budget Would Slow Recovery, Cost Jobs

…On net, I estimate that the House budget resolution would decrease GDP by 0.9 percent and decrease nonfarm payrolls by 1.1 million jobs in fiscal year 2015, relative to CBO’s current-law baseline. The following fiscal year, when Ryan’s cuts to discretionary spending kick in, “The Path to Prosperity” would decrease GDP by 2.5 percent and cost 3.0 million jobs. And if the recovery remains sluggish, large job losses could continue under the Ryan budget in 2017 and beyond.

Losing 3 million jobs in FY 2016 is like:

Firing Wisconsin’s entire workforce

Firing Missouri’s entire workforce

Firing the entire working population of Indiana

Firing the entire population of Iowa or Mississippi

A budget is a statement of our values as a nation.  Today, Chairman Ryan and House Republican leaders have shown, yet again, what they value most is protecting loopholes for the wealthy few and corporations that ship jobs overseas without concern for hardworking American workers, seniors, students, and our nation’s economic competitiveness.

Americans want action on jobs, strengthening the middle class, investments in infrastructure and education and a responsible path toward reducing the deficit – not another replay of Ryan’s radical partisan budget pathways to nowhere.

Posted in Affordable Health Care, Economic News, Education, Energy Independence, Fiscal Responsibility, General, In the News, Labor and American Jobs, Retirement Security | Leave a comment

Earlier today, GOP Budget Chairman and former Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan released the latest version of his radical budget – this time featuring even deeper cuts to our nation’s safety-net and doubling down on his plan to end Medicare as we know it for American workers. As POLITICO put it:

It’s Paul Ryan’s wish list.

Looking at the details, one might call it an extreme fantasy. From TIME:

The budget would repeal ObamaCare, including the money-saving Independent Payment Advisory Board, cutting $1.2 trillion in federal outlays. It turns Medicaid into a block grant program for states, which would save $732 billion over 10 years. It essentially aims to privatize Medicare, offering enrollees in 2024 the choice of a private plan, while raising the age of eligibility and means tests for high income seniors…

The plan cuts USAID, moving international aid to the Millennium Challenge Corporation. It also cuts international education exchanges and programs like the East-West Center…

The budget drastically cuts clean energy and technology funds, funding to fight climate change, while expanding oil and gas drilling on and offshore. It also recommends approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline from Canada and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska….

It cuts $23 billion in agriculture subsidies and turns the food stamp program into a block grant program for the states. It trims funding to Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which Ryan says is being abused by the states. It would also slash federal pensions through reforms by $125 billion over 10 years. It would eliminate a program to repay federal employees’ student loans, and would encourage attrition in the federal workforce…

It ends support for Amtrak, cuts some funding for the Transportation Security Administration, eliminates the Community Development Program, cuts funding to the Federal Emergency Management Program…

It would cut funding to Pell Grants by imposing a maximum income eligibility cap, ending funding for less than half-time students and capping the maximum award to $5,730. It would streamline Education Department programs, particularly the 82 programs focusing on teacher quality and calls for major reform to elementary and secondary programs. It would end all federal funding to the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

From the New York Times:

Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin on Tuesday will lay out a tough, election-year budget that purports to come into balance by 2024, in large part through steep cuts to Medicaid and food stamps and the full repeal of President Obama’s health care law, just as millions begin to see its benefits.

But even with those cuts, Mr. Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, is counting on a boost of economic growth to balance the budget, a boost he says will be gained by reducing the deficit. Many economists believe such dramatic spending cuts — especially those affecting the poor — would have the opposite effect, slowing the economy and lowering tax receipts…

Mr. Ryan renews his controversial call to eventually convert Medicare to a “premium support” program whereby seniors could receive subsidies to purchase private insurance instead of taking the government’s fee-for-service coverage…

But the toughest cuts would come from domestic programs that have already been reduced steadily since 2011, when Republicans took control of the House. Mr. Ryan’s 2024 domestic spending figure would be lower in nominal dollars than such spending was in 2005. Adjusted for inflation, it would be a 29 percent cut from today’s levels, and 28 percent below the average level of Bush administration spending.

A budget is a statement of our values as a nation.  Past years have shown Republicans’ struggle to persuade American workers and their families the radical Ryan-Republican budget reflects our shared values – does Ryan really think this year, this budget will be different?

Posted in Affordable Health Care, Economic News, Education, Energy Independence, Financial Reform, Fiscal Responsibility, General, In the News, Labor and American Jobs, Retirement Security, The Environment | Leave a comment

To: Reps. Denham, Ros-Lehtinen, and Valadao
CC: 27 Additional Republicans Supporting Immigration Reform and a Pathway to Citizenship
Fr:  Democratic Leader’s Press Office
Dt: March 28, 2014
Re: Time for House Republicans to Walk the Walk on Immigration Reform

This week, House Democrats launched a discharge petition to #DemandAVote on H.R. 15, the comprehensive immigration reform legislation you have cosponsored.  So far, 171 House Democrats have signed the petition, but no Republicans have jumped on board.

In fact, you told POLITICO that you have no intention of forcing the bill to the floor:

“No, there’s just no way,” said Rep. David Valadao

A spokesman for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said she would not sign one.

And Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) also said he is a “no.”

We urge you to reconsider.  Speaker Boehner and the House Republican Conference have done little more than give political lip service to this critical issue impacting millions of families.  Forcing a vote is the only way we will get them to act.  The American public is calling for this:

79 percent of Americans support comprehensive immigration reform (CIR);

Over 600 business organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce;

H.R 15 would reduce the deficit by nearly $1 trillion;

Religious leaders have called for immediate action;

Newspaper editorials nationwide are fed up with the House’s inaction and excuses.

Also, support for comprehensive immigration reform is reflected among your constituents:

77 percent of Congressman Valadao’s constituents, including 75 percent of Republicans support CIR;

72 percent of Congressman Denham’s constituents, including 68 percent of Republicans support CIR;

And over 70 percent of Floridians – Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen’s home state – including 71 percent of Republicans have demonstrated their support for CIR.

Yesterday, Rep. Denham said “immigration reform will get done this year.”  If we work together, we can bring bipartisan legislation to the floor for a vote and make that statement a reality.

How much longer will families and our country have to wait?  It’s time to demonstrate to the American people that you are serious about doing everything in your power to get immigration reform done.

Posted in Civil Rights, General, Immigration, In the News | Leave a comment

Speaker Boehner just told reporters that instead of voting on a bill to #RenewUI, we should be working to create better jobs in America and “higher wages.”

“If we are going to consider dealing with unemployment – emergency unemployment – we have to do something about creating better jobs in America, higher wages in America.”

We can do both.

#RENEWUI
192 House Democrats have signed a discharge petition to force a vote to #RenewUI for the more than 2 million long-term jobless Americans who have lost their lifeline to make ends meet as a result of the GOP leadership’s intransigence.  A handful of House Republicans understand the real need to renew UI and have asked Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor to bring a bill to the floor to extend unemployment benefits.

“For the folks I represent, this is an important issue. I would hope that we take some action,” said Rep. Joe Heck, a Republican from Nevada, whose state jobless rate of 8.7% was the second-highest in the nation in January, behind Rhode Island’s. The national unemployment rate was 6.7% in February, according to the Labor Department.

Mr. Heck was one of seven GOP lawmakers to sign a letter in December urging Mr. Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) to consider a temporary extension of emergency jobless benefits, first passed in June 2008 and renewed repeatedly until they lapsed in late December. [3/25]

#RAISETHEWAGE
195 Democrats have signed a discharge petition to force a vote on the Fair Minimum Wage Act (H.R. 1010) – a bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.  25 million hard working Americans would see a pay raise with a minimum wage increase – millions would be lifted out of poverty, many of them children.

If Speaker Boehner really wants to raise wages for American workers – he can bring the Fair Minimum Wage Act to the floor for a vote today.

#TIMEISNOW
And while we are talking about discharge petitions – today House Democrats filed a discharge petition to force a vote on H.R. 15, a Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill with 200 cosponsors, including 3 Republicans.

It is time for an immigration system that honors our history and our values, with reform that creates jobs, empowers small business, fuels innovation, raises wages, reduces the deficit, and energizes our economy.

Just yesterday, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released a study detailing H.R. 15’s massive deficit reduction impact.  According to the CBO, the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation in the House will reduce the deficit by $900 billion over the next two decades – including $200 billion in the first decade alone.

When comprehensive immigration reform does so much for the fiscal, economic, and moral health of our nation, it’s no wonder that the American people are calling on Speaker Boehner to stop making excuses and stop standing in the way.

Posted in Fiscal Responsibility, General, Human Rights, Immigration, In the News, Labor and American Jobs, Retirement Security | Leave a comment

The latest story about Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s desperate attempt to rebrand himself and House Republicans is now available!

Washington Post: Eric Cantor attempts to remake the House GOP brand, and his own

In case you missed previous versions of this same story:

New Yorker: House of Pain: Can Eric Cantor, the Republican Majority Leader, redeem his party and himself? (May 2013)

POLITICO: Eric Cantor 4.0 seeks to rebrand House GOP (February 2013)

New York Times: To Fix Image, Republicans in House Think Small (February 2012)

If Cantor and House Republicans really want to change their image – they should start with their politics, not their message.

Posted in General, In the News | Leave a comment

MEMORANDUM  

To: Interested Parties

Fr:  Democratic Leader’s Press Office

Dt: March 23, 2014

Re: House Republicans’ Costly Obsession with Repealing ACA

As millions of Americans celebrate the four year anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act, House Republicans remain blinded by their desire to repeal the health reform law regardless of how much time they waste and taxpayer dollars they squander in the process.

Last week, House Republicans voted for the 51st time to repeal or undermine the ACA, just days before HHS announced 5 million Americans had signed up for health insurance through the ACA established individual marketplaces. If 51 votes wasn’t enough, the GOP is also wasting time and taxpayer dollars in ways most Americans aren’t aware of – frequent, fruitless House Committee and Subcommittee hearings and so-called ‘investigations’ to undermine the ACA.

Energy & Commerce

Oversight & Government Reform

Ways & Means

33 hearings – 83 hours, 14 minutes 25 hearings 17 hearings – including 3 with HHS Secretary Sebelius
548,717 pages of documents 1,000,000+ pages of documents
Sent letters to 163 organizations

Received 39 briefings since August 2013

13 transcribed interviews with CMS and HHS officials In period of 232 days (July 2013 to March 2014), W&M held full committee hearings only on ACA

 

The GOP’s Sisyphean repeal quest is a shocking waste of taxpayer resources expended in an effort to undermine and take away real benefits Americans – taxpayers – are enjoying.

4 Ways the Affordable Care Act is Transforming Lives:

  • No American can ever again be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition.
  • No woman can ever again be charged a higher premium just because she’s a woman.
  • No American ever again has to worry that one major illness will mean bankruptcy for their family.
  • No senior will ever again have to pay a co-pay for key preventive services like cancer screenings.

Despite the facts, anecdotes and successes, House Republicans’ blind obsession continues to get the best of them and cost American taxpayers. The list of opportunity costs and opportunities lost is long.  American priorities – job creation, comprehensive immigration reform, increased wages, renewed unemployment benefits, and infrastructure investments – are all casualties of House Republican’s campaign to repeal ACA.

House Republicans have no excuse for the fiscal irresponsibility of their actions or the wasted opportunities they had to govern in a way that helps the American people and strengthens our economy.  This is a costly GOP obsession the American people just can’t afford.

Posted in Affordable Health Care, General | Leave a comment

Despite the House Republicans’ fixation with repealing or undermining the Affordable Care Act, nearly two-thirds of the American people say the law should remain.

From Talking Points Memo:

A substantial majority of Americans believe Obamacare should remain law, either exactly as it is or with small changes, according to a new poll.

Bloomberg News found that a combined 64 percent of Americans said they support keeping the law in place. That includes 51 percent who said it should be kept but may need some small changes and 13 percent who said it should be left alone. Only 34 percent said it should be repealed.

It’s time for House Republicans to get to the business of governing for the American people not tilting toward partisan political windmills.

Posted in Affordable Health Care, General, In the News | Leave a comment

The American Medical Association (AMA) – one of the nation’s top physician and medical student associations – sent a letter to Congressional Leaders voicing their strong opposition to the House Republicans’ toxic “doc fix” slated to come to a vote this week.

From the letter:

On behalf of the American Medical Association (AMA), I am writing to profess our profound disappointment that a strong bipartisan, bicameral effort to repeal the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) has become a victim of partisan approaches to resolve budgetary issues.

The AMA continues to strongly support the physician payment and delivery system reform policy contained in H.R. 4015/ S. 2000, the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014. Congress is closer than ever to enacting legislation that would repeal the dysfunctional Medicare physician payment system because it has worked in a bipartisan, bicameral manner for over a year. This policy will only become law if Congress collaborates in a bipartisan manner to resolve the fiscal matters associated with this legislation. [3/13]

Doctors and health insurance companies oppose this legislation. Seniors’ organizations and advocates oppose this legislation. The Senate isn’t going to pass it and the President won’t sign it.

Time is running out.  Get serious, House GOP.

Posted in Affordable Health Care, General, In the News, Retirement Security | Leave a comment

Yesterday, eleven groups representing the nation’s seniors, their doctors and their advocates sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging the House to reject the Republicans’ toxic “doc fix” bill – the GOP’s 51st vote to repeal or undermine the ACA.

From the letter:

The undersigned organizations, representing Medicare beneficiaries and providers, appreciate the bipartisan, bicameral work done to repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) and reform the Medicare reimbursement system…

The current effort to link SGR reform with changes to the Affordable Care Act, however, injects partisan politics into the bi-partisan legislation.  Access to health care for the more than 50 million Americans with Medicare is a serious matter – scheduling a vote on a bill which does not have bipartisan support undermines the months of hard work done by the Committees, their staffs, and concerned stakeholders.  [3/12]

Signing the letter – AARP, Alliance for Retired Americans, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Geriatrics Society, American Osteopathic Association, Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc., Families USA, Medicare Rights Center, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and the National Council on Aging.

House Republicans should put aside their partisan political agenda and stop jeopardizing months of bipartisan, bicameral talks toward a “doc fix.”  Our nation’s seniors deserve better.

Posted in Affordable Health Care, General, In the News, Retirement Security | Leave a comment