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2006 Budget Debate



I heard Tom Harkin on the floor of the Senate discussing the "reconciliation bill" today. In the true spirit of Christmas and continuing the long line of naming bills the opposite of what they accomplish - the bill slashes away at the people who need it most, while setting the table for 70 billion in tax cuts mostly for the top 1/10 of 1%.

The $8 trillion defecit will actually go UP 20 billion after the tax cuts are instituted.

Here are some lowlights of the bill.

It would deny assistance to thousands of abused or neglected children in foster care. The five-year $600 million cut would mean less foster care assistance for grandparents or other family members who have stepped in to provide care for their relatives' children. The House budget also creates stricter licensing requirements to make it more difficult for relatives to qualify as foster caregivers. http://www.cwla.org/advocacy/fostercare051027.htm

It would cut $730 million over 5 years from poor elders or people with disabilities. Poor seniors and people whose disabilities prevent them from working would be forced to wait longer to become eligible for SSI and then forced to wait longer for the benefits that are owed to them. http://www.cbpp.org/10-25-05wel.htm

It would reduce child support payments by 40 percent by cutting funds to collect the money owed to children by absent parents. By cutting $5 billion over 5 years in federal child support enforcement funding, children will lose billions – rising to more than $24 billion over 10 years. http://www.clasp.org/publications/child_support_cuts.pdf

It would mean 330,000 fewer children receive child care in 2010 than in 2004. Child care money for families leaving welfare for work will not be enough to cover inflation costs, yet work rules will be harsher, creating even greater need for child care. http://www.clasp.org/publications/house_tanfbill_childcare.pdf

It would deny Food Stamps and school meals to at least 255,000 people in need by 2008. The average $1 per meal benefit will be eliminated for some families who left welfare for work. The bill would also make many poor and otherwise eligible immigrants wait 7 years - not the current 5 - to qualify for food stamps. And when they lose food stamps, 40,000 children will also stop receiving free school meals unless states adopt a complicated administrative procedure that many will reject. http://www.cbpp.org/12-5-05fa.htm

It would make people needing Medicaid coverage pay more and get less. Many Medicaid recipients will have to pay more for their health care – premiums and co-payments – despite evidence that higher costs cause low-income families with children to go without needed care. States will also be allowed to restrict benefits. http://www.cbpp.org/11-10-05health.htm

It would make students pay $5,800 more for their loans. The House budget cuts $15 billion from student loans, and student groups estimate the cuts will result in an average increase of $5,800 in students' loan payments.

$50 billion in cuts that hurt vulnerable people.
Coming soon:
$70 billion in tax breaks that mostly help the wealthy.[/B]


WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today called on the Senate to reject legislation passed in a flurry of late night activity in the House of Representatives. House Republicans waited until the middle of the night Sunday to order deep cuts to health-care initiatives, student loans and farm programs, pave the way for drilling in the Artic Refuge, and sneak through blanket protections for the pharmaceutical industry. “It’s no accident these votes occurred in the dead of night,” Harkin said. “There are only 6 days until Christmas. Throughout much of the world, it’s the season of giving. But here in Congress, it’s the season of taking away – taking away education programs, taking away job training, taking away health care from low income families, taking away from farmers and rural communities. And worst of all, taking away hope. This is a cruel holiday surprise for American families, and I hope that the Senate will reject it.” LOW-LIGHTS OF THE HOUSE REPUBLICANS’ LATE NIGHT SESSION: A One-Percent Across-the-Board Cut in spending resulting in:

-- $68 million cut to Head Start -- eliminating funding for approximately 9,400 kids.

-- $18 million cut to Community Health Centers— preventing 28 new clinics from opening their doors, affecting 37,000 patients nationwide

-- $7 million cut to Meals on Wheels-- resulting in 1.6 million fewer meals for the elderly

-- $28 million cut to Title I Education funding for low income children—leaving 160,000 needy children behind

-- $7 million cut to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)– forcing state and local governments to foot a bigger bill to meet special education needs

-- $1.3 million cut from Organ Transplantation-- preventing 1,700 transplants next year

-- $5.9 million cut from the national Cord Blood Bank—reducing collection of life-saving cord blood donations by 3,900 units

-- $10 million cut from Afterschool Centers – taking programs away from more than 13,000 disadvantaged students

-- $139 million cuts to Rural Health Initiatives

Changes in the Medicaid program forcing low income beneficiaries to pay more out pocket for health care

Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Broad Liability Protections for Drug Companies, without the possibility of review by the courts, and without adequate safeguards or compensation for individuals injured by vaccines and other products.

Deep Cuts in Agriculture and Rural Development including:

-- $949 million in cuts to Agricultural Conservation.

-- $399 million cut in Rural Development

-- $620 million in Agricultural Research
Too add to they story the republican senators are being rule breakers.

The ANWR provision leaves the measure open to a point of order because it runs afoul of Senate Rule 28, which requires that conference reports contain only provisions that were included in either the House- or Senate-passed versions of the bill.

The president of the Senate, who rules on parliamentary questions, would be expected to uphold the point of order. But Republican leaders plan to appeal that ruling, allowing 51 senators — rather than the 60-vote majority typically needed to waive points of order — to allow the ANWR provision to stand.

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and the chief proponent of ANWR drilling, included a provision to ensure that the precedent set by the move would not become permanent. Under that language, the Senate would revert the precedent that existed at the start of the 109th Congress.


So the senate republicans want to suspend the rule because it is inconvenient and then reestablish the rule after they pass the bill. Republicans what are your leaders doing?

I was watching the senate deliberations and according to the democrat minority leader, this has been done before and both parties regretted it. By doing this sort of action you allow the majority to do whatever it wants in the future. It sets precedence for suspending a senate rule and re-enabling the rule after the offending billing is passed.

This is not a good situation.
Good point. Sorry I left that out - yes it's we're changing the rules just for this, then changing them back right after we push this through.

Too bad this topic is not getting more play here. That's how the bogus "war against hanakuh" works - it distracts form the real issues at hand.
Sadly, Dick Vader cast the deciding vote today on this reverse robin hood budget.

I thought "compassionate conservative" meant "I don't care about you , but I'm sorry about it."

Apparently, they're not even sorry about it.
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