The average citizen in the U.S. has no better champion than Senator Bernie Sanders I, V. He has long been a staunch advocate for the poor and the middle class. He worked tirelessly for the Public Option in the healthcare fight. Here is Bernie explaining the budget fight with passion:
"The most important point to understand about Washington today is that extreme right-wing Republicans now control the House of Representatives and are hell-bent on destroying every piece of legislation established in the last 80 years which protects the interests of working families or the most vulnerable members of our society. You and I, working together, must not allow them to do that.
The major vehicle the Republicans will use to protect the interests of the rich and the powerful against the needs of ordinary Americans will be the budget process.
In this clip Bernie Rails against the Republican budget
Despite the fact that the budget deficit exploded primarily as a result of Republican policies pushed through during the Bush years – two wars, tax breaks for the rich, the Wall Street Bailout, the Medicare Part D prescription drug program written by the insurance companies – ALL UNPAID FOR – the Republicans now want to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class and the most vulnerable people in our society.
As a member of the Senate Budget Committee let me briefly describe what the budget passed by the Republican House of Representatives (the so-called Ryan budget) would do:
· At a time when 50 million Americans have no health insurance and the cost of health care is soaring, the Republican budget ends Medicare as we know it by giving senior citizens inadequate vouchers to buy health insurance from private insurance companies. The result is that seniors would, on average, see their out-of-pocket expenses more than double - increasing by over $6,000 a year. The Republican budget would also cut, over ten years, $770 billion from Medicaid, vastly increasing the number of uninsured Americans, and threatening the long-term care of the elderly who live in nursing homes.
· At a time when the middle class is collapsing and unemployment remains sky-high, the Republican budget makes savage cuts in education, nutrition, housing and virtually all aspects of the social safety net that low and moderate Americans depend upon. It also substantially reduces funding for infrastructure, energy, environmental protection and almost every investment that could rebuild our country and create decent paying jobs.
· Amazingly, while the Republican budget wages a vicious and unprecedented attack against the needs of working families and the poor, Republicans do not ask the wealthiest people in this country, whose tax rates are now the lowest on record, to contribute one penny toward deficit reduction. Nor do they propose to do away with any of the loopholes that enable extremely profitable corporations to pay little or no federal income taxes. Quite the contrary! The Republican budget actually provides one trillion more in tax breaks over the next ten years for the very rich.
· Further, at a time when defense spending has more than tripled since 1997 and now consumes over half the discretionary budget, the Republicans do nothing to reduce unnecessary military spending.
As a member of the Budget Committee, I will not support a plan to reduce the deficit that does not call for shared sacrifice. At least fifty percent of any deficit reduction plan must come from increased revenue from the wealthy and large corporations. Further, there must be no cuts to Social Security – a program which has not contributed one nickel to the deficit.
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