Senate Democrats

Reid Floor Remarks On The Ryan Republican Budget Proposal

“Today House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan will unveil an extreme budget that is anything but balanced.”

“This budget reflects the same skewed priorities… Americans rejected in November.”

“It will take more than accounting gimmicks to achieve real deficit reduction.”

Washington, D.C.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today regarding Representative Paul Ryan’s budget proposal. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

Early this year, with November’s election losses fresh in their minds, top Republicans promised a kinder, gentler Republican Party – a Republican Party that cared about “every American…achieving their dreams.” Republicans bandied about words like fairness and opportunity. They made overtures toward women and Hispanics. They promised cooperation and an end to brinksmanship. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor even spoke of, “an agenda based on a shared vision of creating the conditions for health, happiness and prosperity for more Americans and their families.” The rebranding was under way.

Then a few weeks passed. And the Republican emphasis on fairness and equity passed along with them.

Today House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan will unveil an extreme budget that is anything but balanced. This budget reflects the same skewed priorities the Republican Party has championed for years – the same skewed priorities Americans rejected in November. The Ryan Republican budget will call for more tax breaks for the wealthy, an end to Medicare as we know it and draconian cuts to education and other programs that help America’s economy grow and prosper.

As Yogi Berra famously said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.” We’ve seen this show before. The Ryan Republican budget will shower more tax breaks on millionaires and continue to tilt the playing field to the advantage of big corporate interests, while raising taxes for the middle class. And, like last year, the plan refuses to close a single tax loophole in order to reduce the deficit.

Meanwhile it guts investments in education, health care, public safety, scientific research and job-creating clean energy technology. The Ryan Republican budget would end the Medicare guarantee and force seniors into a voucher program. It would ax preventive health care such as cancer screenings and charge seniors more for prescriptions. And it would further reduce funding for food inspectors, police officers and first responders.

And as if protecting wealthy special interests while shifting the burden to seniors and the middle class wasn’t bad enough, the Republican budget also devastates the economy, costing jobs and slowing growth. Not only is this the wrong approach, it’s the same old approach.

And to make matters worse, the Paul Ryan Budget 3.0 uses the same fuzzy math as his previous two budgets. It relies on accounting that is creative at best and fraudulent at worst to inflate its claims of deficit reduction.

Democrats believe it is critical that we stabilize the deficit. But it will take more than accounting gimmicks to achieve real deficit reduction. And at a time when corporations are making record profits, the stock market is soaring and wealthy Americans’ income continues to rise, that deficit reduction shouldn’t be come at the expense of middle-class families, senior citizens and the poor.

Americans have demanded a fair approach to deficit reduction that makes sensible cuts, but asks profitable corporations and the wealthiest among us to share the burden. Democrats have been listening. That’s why this week Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray will introduce a budget that reflects those balanced principles. The Democratic plan will cut wasteful spending and reduce the deficit, close tax loopholes that benefit the rich and invest in what the economy needs to grow. It will encourage a strong middle class.

Congressman Ryan and his Republican colleagues in Congress have taken a different approach – an approach that makes it plain they missed the message of the November elections. Their budget will once again put moneyed special interests ahead of middle-class families. And no amount of rebranding will hide that.