House Passes “Path to the Poorhouse” Budget

April 15, 2011
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA14) opposed the federal 2012 budget plans offered by House Republicans, which would cut taxes for the rich while reducing government assistance for seniors and the poor. 

Instead, Congressman Doyle voted for alternative budgets offered by House Democrats that would have significantly reduced federal budget deficits without gutting safety net programs for seniors, the poor, and the middle class. 

“House Republicans call their budget the 'Path to Prosperity,'” Congressman Doyle observed today after passage of H.Con.Res. 34, the bill to set federal spending levels for 2012.  “It may be the ‘Path to Prosperity’ for big businesses and folks who are already rich, but for most Americans it’s the ‘Path to the Poorhouse.’  House Republicans’ priorities are wrong-headed and shockingly out of touch with the wants and needs of most Americans.”

“The Republicans’ budget would cut programs that help seniors, the poor, and the middle class, cut taxes for corporations and the rich, and raise taxes for everyone else.  In comparison to these policy priorities, reducing the deficit seems to have been an afterthought for them.” 

“Republicans want to replace Medicare with vouchers, gut Medicaid, repeal health care reform, slash education assistance, and cut other safety net programs that tens of millions Americans rely on – like Food Stamps,” Representative Doyle noted.  “With all of the insecurity and financial pain the Republican budget would impose on working families and seniors, you’d think it would do more to reduce the deficits that threaten our future standard of living.  But trillions of dollars in cuts the House Republicans would make in federal safety-net programs would go to offset trillions of dollars in additional tax cuts.  What’s more, the tax “reform” proposed in the Republicans’ “Path to Prosperity is very likely to raise taxes on the middle class.”

The Republican budget would dismantle Medicare and its guarantee of health insurance coverage and a wide range of benefits — and replace it with increasingly inadequate payments to a private insurance company,” Congressman Doyle explained.  The result would inevitably be that seniors would be forced to “purchase less extensive coverage or pay higher premiums” and copayments as the years go by.  Seniors would pay more for their health care and very soon end up paying most of their health care costs themselves, taking us back to the bad old days before Medicare when seniors couldn’t afford the health care services they needed.   There’s even the possibility that some seniors wouldn’t be able to find insurance at any price in the private market.  That doesn’t sound like “reform” to me; it sounds more like health care rationing, with only the wealthy being able to afford the level of health care that all Medicare beneficiaries enjoy today.” 

 “On top of that, the Republican budget would convert Medicaid into a block grant and cut it by nearly a trillion dollars over the next 10 years,” Congressman Doyle added.  “That radical change would eliminate the last guarantee that low-income seniors, the disabled, and the poor could get the health care they need at a price they could afford – and which pays for two-thirds of all nursing home residents in the country.” 

Congressman Doyle voted for several Democratic alternative budgets that would reduce deficits significantly while preserving affordable health care and other safety-net programs for all Americans, make important investments in our country’s future, and require shared sacrifice from all Americans, including the wealthy.

“The federal government’s first priority should be creating jobs and putting Americans back to work,” Congressman Doyle said.  “We’ve begun to see significant progress in terms of  jobs and economic growth, thanks in part to federal efforts over the last 2 years to help the economy recover.  Running deficits during the recent recession was necessary to get our economy back on track and help Americans hurt by the economic downturn.  But running massive deficits without end would soon choke off economic growth and reduce our future standard of living.  Consequently, as our economy hits its stride again and begins creating more new jobs, we must get the federal deficit under control.  That will require shared sacrifice from all of us – especially those who have benefited most from the economy in recent years and are the most able to bear a greater share of the burden.”

After rejecting all the alternative budgets, the House passed the budget approved last week on a party-line vote by the House Budget Committee with only minor changes.

The following links provide more information about H.Con.Res. 34 and the amendments that were offered to it during the budget debate on the House Floor:

Click here to read a Congressional Research Service Report on the issues surrounding the Federal Budget in the coming years.

Click here to read the Congressional Budget Office’s recent report on the long-term federal budget outlook.

Click here to read the Congressional Budget Office’s report on tax and spending options for reducing federal deficits.

Click here to read the House Rules Committee Report containing the text of all the budget alternatives offered on the House Floor during the debate on the 2012 federal budget.

H.Con.Res. 34, the budget written by Republican Paul Ryan, supported by the House Republican Leadership, reported out of the House Budget Committee, and approved by the House today:

The budget approved by House Republicans today would cut almost $6 trillion in spending, cut over $4 trillion in taxes, and reduce the deficit by less than $2 trillion. It would cut spending for domestic programs by 20 percent and freeze it for five years. It would repeal the new health care bill and the new Wall Street reform law.  It would also end Medicare as we know it.  Starting in 2022, new retirees would no longer get health coverage through Medicare, but instead would get a voucher that would partially pay for insurance they purchase from private health insurance companies. It would make almost $800 billion in cuts in Medicaid, which pays for two-thirds of the nursing home residents in this country.  The proposal would cut taxes for corporations and people making over $370,000 a year – and extend tax breaks to oil companies and special interests that ship jobs overseas – while raising taxes for nearly everyone else.  The Republican budget also includes cuts in education and training programs, and it would slash vital investments in public safety, research into cures and treatments for diseases, clean energy, and critical infrastructure.

Bill Text for H.Con.Res. 34:

Click here for HTML Version of H.Con.Res. 34
Click here for PDF Version of H.Con.res. 34

Background for H.Con.Res. 34:

Click here to read the HTML Version of the Budget Committee Report on H.Con.Res. 34 
Click here to read the PDF Vesion of the Budget Committee Report on H.Con.Res. 34

Click here to read the House Republican Budget Committee Chairman’s description of his budget plan

Click here to read a summary of the Congressional Budget Office report on the long-term impact of the House Republican budget

Click here to read the entire Congressional Budget Office report on the long-term impact of the House Republican budget.


The Republican Study Committee’s (RSC) budget substitute:

The RSC Budget would cut over $9 trillion in spending and cut taxes by nearly $2 trillion.  It would freeze non-defense discretionary at 2006 levels, an almost 50% reduction over 10 years, while defense spending would dramatically increase. The RSC plan calls for dramatic changes to Medicare and Medicaid as well as other social safety net programs, including a $350 billion cut to the food stamp program.

Click here to read what the Republican Study Committee says about its budget plan.

Click here to read what the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says about the Republican Study Committee’s budget plan.


The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) budget substitute:

The CBC Budget would make significant investments in education, job training, transportation and infrastructure, and advanced research and development programs, aimed at accelerating the economic recovery.  At the same time, the CBC Budget would protect the social safety net without cutting Social Security, Medicaid or Medicare.  It would raise new revenue by making the tax system more fair.  It would also close certain corporate tax loopholes and preferences, which would save over $1 trillion on the deficit over the next decade. 

Click here to read more about the Congressional Black Caucus Budget.


Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) “People’s Budget”:

The CPC Budget would eliminate the deficit by 2021, while focusing investments on job creation and putting Americans back to work. The CPC budget focuses on restoring America’s economic competitiveness, while implementing a more fair tax system, and it focuses on keeping Americans healthy. This budget would also call for bringing American troops back home, and would reduce the deficit by over $5 trillion over 10 years.

Click here to read more about the Progressive Caucus People’s Budget.


Democratic alternative budget substitute:

The Democratic Alternative would protect Medicare and Medicaid, and would achieve primary balance by 2018 through focusing on all spending, including defense discretionary spending. The Democratic Alternative would simplify the tax code, end corporate tax loopholes, and extend tax relief for middle class families. While still making crucial investments in infrastructure and education, it would reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion more than the President’s Budget.

Click here to read what the House Budget Committee Democrats say about their budget plan.

The Senate must now pass its own version of a federal budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2012, and then the House and Senate must negotiate a final budget plan that can be approved by both bodies of Congress.