From the office of U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski:
U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) today urged her colleagues to vote against the House budget proposal, saying H.R. 1 would harm middle-class families and kill thousands of jobs.
“If we take a look at what H.R. 1 does, it really whacks Maryland’s middle-class families. It cuts job training, education, access to higher education and much-needed childhood and after-school programs,” Senator Mikulski said in a statement on the Senate floor.
“If we’re going to out-educate and out-innovate, we cannot pass H.R. 1, which takes me to why it is bad for Maryland jobs. The Republicans’ solution for cutting the budget does more to cut jobs than the deficit. It could cost Maryland 13,500 private-sector jobs and 700,000 across the country,” Senator Mikulski said.
The measure was voted down, as was the Democratic proposal for funding the federal government for the rest of fiscal year 2011.
For audio of Senator Mikulski’s remarks, visit: http://demradio.senate.gov/actualities/mikulski/030911_MIKULSKI.mp3
Senator Mikulski’s full statement follows:
“Thank you very much, Mr. President. I wanted to address the Senate about the consequences of where we are in the debate on appropriations and the really harsh and punitive consequences of H.R. 1, but I cannot let the comments that have been made during the last half an hour go uncommented on or unchallenged.
“First of all, I’d like to comment about the Senator from Oklahoma’s comments about duplication in government. I so respect the Senator from Oklahoma. We’ve worked on many fiscal reform issues, but he went over a list, program by program by program by program, of where he says we have duplication. I don’t challenge his facts, but I do challenges his inertia.
“Now, if these programs have been in existence and have been duplicative and have denied value to the taxpayer, where has he been?
“The Republicans have been in charge for ten years, from 2000 to 2008, they were in charge of all three branches of the government. So, if you didn’t like duplication, you had a President, you had the House and you had the Senate – why didn’t you change it?
“So now, all of the sudden they’ve got the desire to talk about it. Look, if you were serious about ending duplication, it should have started a long time ago.
“Second, bring the ideas forth. Look for cosponsors from other reform-minded people like the presiding officer and myself. Let’s end the duplication. But let’s end the duplicity in the way we talk about the duplication.
“I’m tired of blaming Barack Obama, who’s been President for two years, for everything that’s perceived to be wrong in the United States of America. Where were they?
“Now, I must credit the Senator from Oklahoma. He has often brought fiscal folly to our attention. And I’ve joined with him when we fought lavish spending on meals, like $4 meatballs, at federal conferences. I look forward to working with him. But don’t act holier than thou now about duplication.
“Now, let’s go to the abortion topic. I’m not going to change this conversation into the ‘A’ word. However, the Senator talked about Planned Parenthood being profit-making. It cannot be profit-making, it’s a nonprofit. But, I’m not even going to argue additional revenue. So he doesn’t want to give money to Planned Parenthood because it makes a profit. I won’t debate him on that.
“But the next time he supports an oil subsidy, I’m going to oppose it because the oil companies make a profit. I’m going to fight tooth and nail to end the lavish subsidies that we give on oil and gas. And if we’re not going to give it to Planned Parenthood because they make money, then I’m not going to give it to oil companies because they make money.
“So there. I’ve said it and I’m proud of it.
“Mr. President, this is no laughing matter about what we’re doing with appropriations. H.R. 1 will have a draconian effect on the middle class and a draconian effect on where we are in jobs. Our economy is very fragile.
“We are barely making a recovery and, if we pass H.R. 1, we will place our nation at risk because of the impact of the cuts on those that really do protect America. It will further pummel the middle class and I’m not going to stand for further pummeling of the middle class.
“You know, I’m not just the Senator from Maryland. I’m the Senator for Maryland. If we take a look at what H.R. 1 does, it really whacks Maryland’s middle-class families. It cuts job training, education, access to higher education, and much-needed childhood and after-school programs.
“Right this very minute, if H.R. 1 passed, we would have people lose their Pell grants and the amount of Pell grants would be cut by over $500. For a lot of people, that’s the money that helps buy textbooks, pays the lab fees so they can go on to be a lab tech, or a cyber tech in the new economy.
“Let’s take a look at the children. Republicans talked about the right to life. I’m for a right to life after you’re born. I think you ought to have a shot. I respect their position, but they’ve got to respect ours.
“Under their draconian cuts, 2,471 Maryland little kids would lose Head Start opportunities. Head Start is what gets them learning-ready so they can take advantage of our public schools and move on in life. Let’s have it for these little children.
“Then there are those who say, we need to compete. We will. I want to compete, too. I want to compete in the global marketplace. What does that mean? It means that we have to fund NIH. Under H.R. 1, NIH will be cut $1 billion just in cancer screening alone. Thirty-six thousand Marylanders will lose that opportunity and millions will lose it nationwide. If we look at program after program and how these cuts affect women, children and access to education, it’s not pretty.
“If we’re going to out-educate and out-innovate, we cannot pass H.R. 1, which takes me to why it is bad for Maryland jobs.
“The Republicans’ solution for cutting the budget does more to cut jobs than the deficit. It could cost Maryland 13,500 private-sector jobs and 700,000 across the country, including: 3,157 Maryland jobs in the transportation sector by cutting MD transportation grants by $97 million; 1,000 Maryland jobs created by the Community Development Block Grant program by cutting funds by $11.5 million; and 2,892 community health center jobs.
“‘So be it,’ House Republicans say. Well, ‘so be it,’ isn’t OK with me.
“And I haven’t even gotten to the loss of federal jobs, yet.
“One hundred thirty thousand federal employees live and work in Maryland. They help us have a stronger economy and safer country. Their lives are jeopardized by Republicans’ draconian cuts. There are 5,000 workers at FDA making sure food and prescription drugs are safe for Americans. There are 18,000 workers at NIH who are finding cures for devastating diseases.
“Right now, at the Social Security Administration there are 11,500 workers making sure seniors get their checks each month. They make sure they go out on time and that they go to the right person, but they’re facing furloughs and layoffs. Now, what does that mean? It means the checks will go out, but if you’re applying for a benefit, you’re going to wait a long time. So, we’re going to lay off the very people we need to get the job done.
“This isn’t just a fight about numbers. Yes, Democrats are proposing significant but thoughtful cuts to reduce the deficit without killing jobs or hurting middle-class families while Republicans think they can simply cut their way to a balanced budget, with no regard for the impact on the economy or families.
“This is also a fight about America’s future. Our priorities, our values and the kind of nation we want to be. Middle-class families don’t want a free ride, they want to know that if they work hard and play by the rules, they’ll be able to get good jobs and their kids will have better opportunities than they did.
“We can’t accomplish this through the Republican proposal or through a serial CR. The current CR buys us only two weeks to produce a budget. You can be sure that the Republicans will continue trying to run the government on installments, but we cannot fund the government on a law-away plan.
“I won’t be held hostage to their irresponsible demands. Democrats have met them in the middle by offering $51 billion cuts that spreads the pain out evenly rather than unfairly harming middle-class families. It is time to wrap this up with a budget that is frugal, makes our country safer and makes our economy stronger.
“Well, Mr. President, I have more to say, and I will say it as this debate continues, but if we pass H.R. 1, it is a job-killing, middle-class-pummeling bill that I am going to vote no for and urge my colleagues to do the same.”