Washington, D.C. — This week, Rep. Raul M. Grijalva stood with a majority in the House of Representatives in support of the Budget Resolution for FY 2009.
The Democratic budget is a change from the fiscally irresponsible budgets proposed by the President and the previous Republican Congress. The budget approved by the House today is fiscally responsible, resulting in a surplus by 2012 and adhering to the pay-as-you-go budget rules.
The bill was approved by a vote of 212-207.
“We have endured the largest fiscal deterioration in American history,” said Grijalva. “It is our responsibility to pursue policies that reflect the interests and values of America’s working families. The Bush Administration’s 2009 budget fails to prioritize education, health and economic security of the American people, while it wastes money on tax breaks for the wealthy. This will give middle class families the tax breaks they deserve, help get the American economy moving and balance our budget.”
Rep. Grijalva supported the Rebuild and Reinvest in America Initiative , the Lee Substitute offered on behalf of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), which proposed a second economic stimulus package and ten year sustainable economic stimulus program to ensure that our recovery efforts are long term.
The CPC budget makes a commitment directly to working families, through prioritizing domestic responsibilities. Among the investments proposed by the CPC was an increase in federal spending for unemployment insurance, food stamps, home foreclosure relief, housing assistance, and Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) Medicaid payments. Funding repairs to our nation’s schools, transportation infrastructure, public housing, and new waste water treatment plants. The CPC budget makes it our goal to cut the poverty rate in America in half during the next decade. The substitute failed by a vote of 98-322, but would have invested the most in our communities.
Rep. Grijalva supported the final Democratic budget, as it did denounce the President’s Budget that contains the same misguided policies as his previous budgets. His budget proposed deep cuts in key programs, such as Even Start, CDBG, Workforce Investment Act, and Head Start, to pay for tax cuts that heavily benefit the most fortunate Americans. According to the Congressional Budget Office, under the policies included in the President’s Budget, the deficit will total $396 billion in 2008 and $342 billion in 2009. These represent the second and fourth largest deficits ever.
The Democratic budget makes key investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, which will create hundreds of thousands of green jobs. It also puts family budgets first and helps to make affordable everything from energy to food to a college education, helping Americans avoid losing their homes and lowering taxes for middle class families.
Additionally, the budget enhances provides a $4.9 billion increase over Fiscal Year 2008 for veterans’ health care and increasing funding to protect America from terrorism over the President’s levels.
The Democratic FY 09 budget will contain the following:
- Innovation — Provides crucial funding for the Democratic innovation agenda and the America COMPETES Act to enhance our competitive edge, increasing funding for math and science education and research.
- Energy — Increases funding for efficient and renewable energy programs, rejecting the President’s cuts to research as well as weatherization assistance for lower-income families, and accommodates legislation to encourage the production of renewable energy alternatives, increased energy efficiency, investments in new energy and vehicle technologies, and training workers for “green collar” jobs.
- Education — Provides $7.1 billion more than the President for vital education, job training, and social services programs for 2009.
- Infrastructure — Invests in highways, water, and other infrastructure by providing sufficient funding and a reserve fund to facilitate new initiatives in a deficit neutral manner.
- Tax Relief — Accommodates tax relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax for more than 20 million households, as well as middle-income tax cuts and other tax relief, so long as they comply with the pay-as-you-go rule.
- Children’s Health — Accommodates up to a $50 billion increase to expand children’s health insurance (SCHIP) to cover millions of uninsured children, in accordance with the pay-as-you-go rule.
- Safety Net — Strengthens safety net programs by providing needed funding for home heating assistance (LIHEAP), the Social Services Block Grant, and housing aid – in contrast to the President’s budget, which cuts funding for these programs.
- Veterans — Addresses veterans’ needs by rejecting the President’s proposed new fees and increasing veterans funding by $3.6 billion relative to the amount needed to keep pace with inflation, enough to allow VA to treat 5.8 million patients in 2009, including 333,275 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.
For a detailed summary of the Democratic budget, visit http://budget.house.gov/analyses/09summary_dem_budget_rev.pdf