Conference Report on S. Con. Res. 11, Concurrent Resolution on the Budget, Fiscal Year 2016

Floor Speech

Date: April 30, 2015
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. LEE. Mr. Speaker, let me thank Mr. Van Hollen for yielding. More importantly, I want to thank him for his tireless work as our ranking member on the Committee on the Budget. It is truly a pleasure to serve with him.

A budget is a moral document, a document that really reflects our values as a nation. Unfortunately, this budget just does the opposite. Mr. Speaker, once again, this Congress is poised to take a huge step in the wrong direction.

The budget agreement before us is truly a work hard, get less budget that uses accounting gimmicks to balance the budget, once again on the backs of the most vulnerable. It calls for cuts to nondefense discretionary programs totaling $496 billion below the already dismally low sequestered level.

This means further draconian cuts to our education, our infrastructure, veterans, and health programs that have already been eviscerated by slash-and-burn Republican austerity plans.

Today, more than 45 million of our fellow Americans are living in poverty. This agreement will push more people over the brink. With $300 billion in cuts to SNAP--that is our food assistance--$431 billion in cuts to Medicare, and a half trillion in cuts to Medicaid, struggling families will continue to fall further and further behind.

We can't forget how these cuts disproportionately affect our communities of color, who are more likely to be living in poverty. What is more, this is the latest in the misguided Republican fixation on repealing the Affordable Care Act, which the House has already voted to repeal over 50 times.

The number of uninsured Americans has gone down by 16 million since it was enacted. Why in the world do you want to take health care away from 16 million people? That is mean.

This agreement continues to use the overseas contingency operation, OCO, account as a slush fund for overbudget Pentagon spending by including--I think it is--$38 billion over the President's request.

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Ms. LEE. I introduced an amendment in committee to eliminate the OCO account increase of $36 billion that was included in the House Republican budget. Members on both sides of the aisle have criticized OCO as an affront to transparency and Congress' constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities.

Mr. Speaker, last month, we introduced our Democratic, Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Congressional Black Caucus alternative budgets. Those budgets reflect real solutions to lift Americans out of poverty and to support the middle class.

I urge my colleagues to oppose this misguided and very cynical agreement that would put us on a path to a greater unequal America that provides less liberty and less justice for all. It doesn't reflect who we are as a nation.

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