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REP. ENGEL REJECTS REPUBLICAN "CUT, SLASH, GUT AND DON'T CARE ACT"

Washington, DC -- Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) opposed the House Republican Majority’s latest budget plan, which is a more extreme version of the budget they passed in April.  The latest version would result in more job losses and a federal government which will be unable to adjust to changing economic conditions.  A two-thirds majority would need to vote to stimulate growth increasing spending.

“This is more political theater of the absurd and is simply a waste of time for the House of Representatives and the American people.  At a time where we need to be working together to develop a plan to avoid default, prepare a long-term budget to address the debt and finally pivot to creating jobs for the American people, we are busy voting on something which is DOA in the Senate.  The spending cuts in this bill – the so-called ‘Cut, Cap, and Balance Act’ – are based on levels proposed by the most conservative Members of the House.  These levels have no direct correlation to spurring economic growth, but are simply an excuse to target programs beneficial to the middle class and the poor.  Fewer than half of House Republicans voted for this plan this spring.  It should be the called the ‘Cut, Slash, Gut and Don’t Care Act,’” said Rep. Engel.

The bill, which passed the House with overwhelming Republican support, by a vote of 234 to 190, would do the following:

·         Cap total spending, including mandatory spending programs such as unemployment benefits, which are designed to grow when the economy is bad, for fiscal years 2013-2021.

·         Cuts by 7% in 2012 such vital programs as Medicaid, unemployment insurance, school lunches, school loans, food stamps and many others.  Many of these programs help those in most need.  It also shifts the burden for caring for citizens onto already-overburdened state governments.

·         Mandates that the House and Senate first pass a Constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget before the debt limit is increased.  It would require tax increases be approved by two-thirds vote in both House of Congress, while only requiring a majority to cut spending.

“The Balanced Budget Amendment sounds like good rhetoric, but we live in the real world.  Congress would be severely limited to respond to changing fiscal conditions, and it would dramatically hinder federal responses to high unemployment, wars, other fiscal crises or even helping communities with natural disaster relief.  It would also require a super-majority to fix inequities in our tax code, thus protecting the lucrative tax breaks currently enjoyed by hedgefund operators, who pay far less taxes than middle class families, and Big Oil,” said Rep. Engel.

The 12-term Congressman added, “Hopefully now that the Majority has gotten this vote out of their system, they can join the rest of us and try to actually solve our fiscal problems.  For six years, they held the House, Senate and White House, and raised the debt with no restrictions on spending.  We need more leadership, not more gamesmanship.”

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