April 28, 2011
Reid Spokesman: Why Don’t Senate Republicans Want To Vote On Plan To End Medicare They’ve Previously Praised?
Washington, D.C. – Jon Summers, spokesman for Nevada Senator Harry Reid, released the following statement today:
“After Senate Republican leaders spent weeks embracing House Republicans’ plan to end Medicare to give tax breaks to millionaires, why are they suddenly afraid to vote on it? They’ve already praised this plan to end Medicare as we know it, so they shouldn’t be afraid to put it in the record.”
McConnell Called Ryan Budget A “Serious And Detailed Plan.”In a statement Senator McConnell said: “Today, the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, Congressman Paul Ryan, is releasing a serious and detailed plan for getting our nation’s fiscal house in order. Congressman Ryan’s plan would put us on a path to reducing the national debt. It would strengthen the social safety net so we can keep the promises we’ve made to America’s seniors… It’s my hope that our friends on the other side recognize this effort for what it is — a serious, good-will effort to do something good and necessary for the future of our nation and that, for the good of the nation, they’ll join in the effort at some point before it’s too late.” [McConnell Floor Speech, 4/5/11]
Kyl Praised Ryan Budget, An “Effective Blueprint.” Kyl said in a statement, “House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who authored the budget, believes it could reverse Washington’s trend of spending beyond its means and passing the debt onto our children and grandchildren. I believe he’s right on target…I think Congressman Ryan’s budget proposal is an effective blueprint for economic growth.” [Kyl Release, 4/11/11]
Scott Brown Praised Ryan Plan. “Brown also praised a budget plan crafted by Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan that would slash federal spending by about $5 trillion over 10 years while revamping health programs for the elderly and poor. Brown credited Ryan’s budget for its fresh approach, adding that it forced Obama to come up with his own spending plan. ‘I think, ultimately, if you think that if we can do nothing and you think Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security are going to be viable in years to come, then you’re wrong,’ said Brown. ‘We need to do something.’” [Lowell Sun, 4/28/11]
Cornyn Praised Ryan Budget, “Filled a Leadership Void.” In a statement Senator Cornyn said, “Congressman Paul Ryan and the House Republicans stepped up and filled a leadership void that the President and Senate Democrats have steadfastly refused to fill. The House Republican budget proposal speaks directly to the frustrations of the American people and addresses the long-term fiscal challenges that we all know we have to face. Instead of demagoguing this serious proposal, I hope President Obama and Congressional Democrats take this opportunity to engage in a constructive debate to get our nation’s fiscal house back in order.” [Cornyn Release, 4/5/11]
Sessions Called Ryan Plan “Honest, Responsible, Serious.” In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, Senator Sessions said, “And it’s never easy to make changes, but Hugh, this thing is, we’re in a deeper hole than in ’94. This is a deep hole, and Paul Ryan’s plan is an honest, responsible, serious plan to get us out of this fix.” [Hugh Hewitt Show, 4/7/11]
Johanns: “Ryan Budget Is A Serious Effort.” In a statement, Senator Johanns said, “Chairman Ryan’s budget is a serious attempt to address our ballooning debt in a responsible way, and I applaud his leadership.” [Johanns Release, 4/5/11]
Hatch Said Ryan Plan Put “Serious Ideas On The Table,” Hatch said in a statement,“…Paul Ryan has put serious ideas on the table to reform Medicare and Medicaid, streamline our tax code, cut spending, and confront our debt. He rightly includes a proposal to kick Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac off the government dole, fully repeal the budget-busting $2.6 trillion health law, and extend the 2001 and 2003 tax relief permanently, while reducing our corporate tax rate.” [Hatch Release, 4/5/11]
April 28, 2011
Reid Statement On Nominations Of Panetta As Defense Secretary, Petraeus As CIA Director
Washington, DC—Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement in response to President Barack Obama’s nominations of CIA Director Leon Panetta to replace Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Gen. David Petraeus, now the top U.S. General in Afghanistan, to replace Panetta as CIA director:
“I am pleased that my friend Leon Panetta will bring his long record of service, first in Congress and then in both the Clinton and Obama Administrations, to the job of Secretary of Defense. His work at the CIA has helped strengthen and rebuild trust in the agency and we all have benefited from his leadership. Director Panetta is taking the helm at a crucial time for the Pentagon, in the midst of two wars and as we close in on our July deadline to begin the drawdown of troops from Afghanistan. We need the kind of experienced leadership he can provide.
“When I met with General Petraeus recently, I expressed my appreciation for his willingness to serve in Afghanistan when the President and our country needed him. I am grateful for his three and a half decades of admirable service to this country. His command of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan during key transitional periods and his extensive experience working with the intelligence community will be invaluable at the CIA.
“I am glad that both of these distinguished leaders will continue to serve the Administration and provide continuity on our national security agenda. General Petraeus and Director Panetta will ensure smooth transitions during a critical point for American foreign policy – in the midst of two wars, with continued unrest in the Middle East and as we face ongoing threats from international terrorism.”
April 28, 2011
Reid: Honor Fallen Workers By Ensuring Every Job Site Is Safe
Washington, DC—Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement on Workers Memorial Day, which honors workers who have been killed, injured or contracted a serious illness on the job:
“Over the last century we’ve made incredible progress toward making the workplace a safe place for every man and woman, and prevented countless tragedies. But too many men and women who put in an honest day’s work to put food on the table for their families are still in danger. Every day in the United States about 150 workers die from job-related injuries or diseases, all of which could have been avoided. Today we commemorate the sacrifice of construction workers, cops, firefighters, miners, farmers and people from all walks of life who seek to provide a better life for their families through hard work.
“In recent years, workplace safety issues have touched Nevada in very serious ways. That’s why I have worked with state and federal officials to improve regulations that protect worker safety and to ensure those regulations are properly enforced. Today’s visit by Secretary Solis to Nevada, where the heat of the desert southwest can make job sites more dangerous, is part of that effort. Our work will not stop until every Nevada workplace is safe, and families across the country know that when their fathers and mothers, sons and daughters go to work in the morning, they’ll come back that night in one piece.”
April 27, 2011
Reid Statement On Sandoval’s Intention To Appoint Dean
Heller To The U.S. Senate
“I welcome Dean to the Senate. As his responsibilities shift to representing all Nevadans, rather than a single district of our state, I am confident he will work with me and members of both parties to address the serious challenges facing Nevada and the nation.”
April 27, 2011
Republicans Face Backlash At Home Over Plan To End Medicare
New York Times: House G.O.P. Members Face Voter Anger Over Budget. “In central Florida, a Congressional town meeting erupted into near chaos on Tuesday as attendees accused a Republican lawmaker of trying to dismantle Medicare while providing tax cuts to corporations and affluent Americans. At roughly the same time in Wisconsin, Representative Paul D. Ryan, the architect of the Republican budget proposal, faced a packed town meeting, occasional boos and a skeptical audience as he tried to lay out his party’s rationale for overhauling the health insurance program for retirees. In a church theater here on Tuesday evening, a meeting between Representative Allen B. West and some of his constituents began on a chaotic note, with audience members quickly on their feet, some heckling him and others loudly defending him. ‘You’re not going to intimidate me,’ Mr. West said. After 10 days of trying to sell constituents on their plan to overhaul Medicare, House Republicans in multiple districts appear to be increasingly on the defensive, facing worried and angry questions from voters and a barrage of new attacks from Democrats and their allies.” LINK http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/27/us/politics/27congress.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper
CNN: Crowd Turns Loud At Town Hall Session For Freshman GOP Rep. “House Republicans back home for congressional recess have been getting some tough questions about plans to overhaul Medicare, but GOP freshman Daniel Webster’s town hall meeting in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday was beyond tough – it turned into a chaotic scene. Webster used charts and graphs to try to explain the controversial House GOP budget he voted for, but he could barely be heard over angry yelling – mostly about the Medicare proposal. As one man held a sign saying ‘keep your hands off my Medicare,’ another woman screamed that the congressman voted to give corporations a tax cut ‘but take away Medicare for people like me.’” LINK http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/26/crowd-turns-loud-at-town-hall-session-for-freshman-gop-rep/#more-156817
Washington Post: Republicans Facing Tough Questions Over Medicare Overhaul In Budget Plan. “Anxiety is rising among some Republicans over the party’s embrace of a plan to overhaul Medicare, with GOP lawmakers already starting to face tough questions on the issue at town hall meetings back in their districts. … Democrats, eager to win back the seniors and independents who abandoned the party in last year’s midterm elections, have declared the vote a ‘moment of truth’ and this week launched a media campaign accusing GOP House members of dismantling Medicare and endangering retirees. The assault has taken some Republicans by surprise, prompting concerns that the party is ceding ground in a policy debate that GOP strategists already viewed as perilous.” LINK http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/republicans_facing_tough_questions_over_medicare_overhaul_in_budget_plan/2011/04/22/AFjSRgRE_story.html?wpisrc=nl_cuzheads
USA Today: Republicans In Congress Get Earful On Medicare. “Some Republicans in Congress are getting an earful back home over their votes to dramatically revamp Medicare for seniors. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who proposed changing the federal entitlement into a voucher program, got booed at such a meeting in his district last week. LINK http://content.usatoday.com/communities/onpolitics/post/2011/04/medicare-town-hall-meetings-paul-ryan-/1
Los Angeles Times: House Republicans Face Backlash At Home Over Budget Plan. “Congress is on its first recess since Republican leaders unveiled a plan to end the federal deficit by dramatically changing Medicare, cutting other government programs and reducing taxes. With members of the House returning home to meet with constituents, politicians have been anxiously looking for signs of trouble. … A similar argument broke out among voters at a knitting circle in the Southern California district of Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Palm Springs). …’I don’t trust these guys,’ said Barbara Walden, 77. Once Republicans begin ‘stripping away’ Medicare and Medicaid benefits for the younger generation, she said, they will eventually renege on their promise to protect the program for current seniors. ” LINK http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-congress-recess-20110424,0,1993819.story
ABC News: Republican Lawmakers Face Angry, Confused Constituents on Medicare, Budget Cuts. “Americans are particularly concerned, and somewhat confused, about the proposal to overhaul Medicare, a central feature of the Wisconsin congressman’s proposal.” LINK http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/paul-ryans-2012-budget-proposal-backlash-town-halls/story?id=13438774
TIME: The Ryan Budget Vote: An Upstream Swim for Charlie Bass. “Bass spent a lot of time at his town hall trying to explain why it’s not, in his characterization, a voucher system. But he didn’t convince Spitzbarth and Loomis. ‘I like Medicare the way it is,’ Spitzbarth told Bass to applause from the audience, ‘don’t screw it up.’” LINK http://swampland.time.com/2011/04/21/charlie-bass-and-the-struggle-to-sell-paul-ryans-path-in-a-swing-district/
National Journal: Republicans In Swing Districts Take Heat For Supporting Ryan’s Medicare Plan. “Republicans who used seniors’ rage over health care changes to sweep into office last fall are now facing the same type of heat over the same issue: Modifications in Medicare and Medicaid. Many who voted for the plan House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., laid out to privatize the programs in future years have been in constituents’ crosshairs during Easter recess town-hall meetings. Others have simply avoided meeting with constituents.” LINK http://nationaljournal.com/politics/republicans-in-swing-districts-take-heat-for-supporting-ryan-s-medicare-plan-20110425
Politico: Freshmen Feel The Heat Back Home. “Any lawmaker in a swing district can expect to take criticism from his right flank at a town hall meeting. But at an American Veterans outpost tucked deep in the Pocono Mountains this week, freshman Republican Rep. Lou Barletta took heat from every direction — from Democrats angry with the tax cuts in the GOP budget, to conservatives who thought he caved on the last continuing resolution vote, to a precocious 16-year-old critical of the lawmaker’s environmental record.” LINK http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53600.html
Orlando Sentinel: Angry Crowd At Town-Hall Meeting Could Be The Norm For Dan Webster. “A town-hall meeting held in Orlando by U.S. Rep. Dan Webster degenerated into bedlam Tuesday, with members of the crowd shouting down the freshman Republican congressman and yelling at one another.. … Tuesday at the Orange County Agricultural Extension office in Orlando, boos and shouts of ‘liar’ were mixed with angry accusations that Ryan’s plan to change Medicare would leave those now younger than 55 without health insurance in their retirement. There also were calls to eliminate the tax cuts first put in place by then-President George W. Bush and to raise corporate taxes rather than cut entitlement programs.” LINK http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/os-dan-webster-district-20110426,0,2749190.story
Politico: Overflow Crowds For Ryan Town Halls. “Record crowds of supporters and opponents flooded town hall meetings throughout southeastern Wisconsin on Tuesday to hear Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) defend his plan to trim government spending — including controversial changes to the Medicare program. In the district’s Democratic stronghold of Kenosha, at least 200 people were left outside once the 300-seat auditorium filled to capacity. The people in the crowd largely opposed the Ryan plan, holding signs such as ‘RyanCare = Dying Bare,’ ‘Leave Medicare Alone’ or simply, ‘Save Medicare!’ … ‘The problem is, under your program, when you want to give me X amount of dollars, with the insurance companies, the way they operate … if I can’t afford insurance, then where am I going to be?’ asked one 62-year-old woman with a history of cancer who worried she wouldn’t qualify for private insurance coverage under Ryan’s plan.” LINK http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53759.html
Chicago Daily Herald: Dold Faces Tough Questions At Town Hall Meeting. “Fresh off voting for the so-called Paul Ryan budget plan on Friday, newly-elected Congressman Robert Dold returned to Buffalo Grove Saturday where constituents questioned him about several elements of the Republican budget. …But Dold couldn’t even get to the end of the presentation before audience members began peppering him with questions about the Ryan budget, named after House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin. It began with audience members telling Dold they don’t believe chopping 10 percentage points off the highest corporate tax rate will create jobs. A handful of people in the audience identified themselves as business owners and accountants who said their effective corporate income tax rate is already lower than the lowest rates proposed in the Ryan plan.” LINK http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110416/news/704169900/
Allentown Morning Call: Barletta Town Hall Gets Heated Over Medicare. “Reminiscent of the August 2009 town halls when members of Congress faced angry constituents over health care reforms, a public forum in Carbon County with Rep. Lou Barletta Wednesday night provided a glimpse of the strong emotions stirred by a Republican plan to alter Medicare benefits.” LINK http://blogs.mcall.com/penn_ave/2011/04/a-slice-of-the-medicare-debate-in-barlettas-district.html
Huffington Post: GOP Town Halls: Reps Forced To Screen Questions, Duck Out Of Meetings In Secret. “The wave of town hall protests targeting House Republicans, and aided by labor and progressive groups, is forcing lawmakers to put restrictions on the forum’s traditionally open structure. On Tuesday night, Rep. Allen West’s office (R-Fl.) reportedly screened questioners during his town hall event by requiring individuals to fill out index cards which were then vetted by his staff. This was, the Boward County Sun Sentinel noted, different from ‘his usual practice at previous town hall meetings, where West took questions from people who lined up at microphones.’ Separately, House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), who has chosen to publicly broadcast his town hall locations rather than avoid the protests, was forced to leave Tuesday night’s forum in a different car and from a different exit out of security concerns.” LINK http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/26/gop-town-halls-reps-duck-out_n_854157.html
April 26, 2011
Reid: End Handouts To Big Oil, Invest In Clean Energy To Spur Economy And Protect National Security
Washington, DC—Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement in response to President Barack Obama’s letter urging Congressional leaders to end tax breaks for oil companies making record profits:
“I agree with the President that it is long past time to end wasteful subsidies to big oil companies that are raking in record profits. If Senate Republicans are serious about cutting spending, as Democrats are, they’ll stop filibustering our efforts to eliminate corporate welfare that even a former Shell Oil CEO said is unnecessary.
“Rather than giving handouts to big corporations, we should be investing in clean energy development and construction here at home to create jobs, diversify our economy, break our dangerous dependence on oil and make our nation safer. As a bipartisan delegation of senators saw first-hand, China and other countries are aggressively investing in this industry for exactly those reasons. Abundant solar, wind and geothermal resources in Nevada and across the country combined with American know-how give our country the ability to be the world leader in clean energy. We should not lose our edge in this global competition just so Republicans can give even more taxpayer money to companies that don’t need it.”
April 26, 2011
After Speaker Boehner Agrees It’s Time For Big Oil Companies To ‘Pay Their Fair Share,’ Will Senate GOP Continue To Filibuster Against Repeal Of Wasteful Oil Subsidies?
In Interview Monday, Speaker Breaks From GOP Senate Leaders, Says Open To Ending Certain Tax Breaks for Big Oil
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: Right. Listen, they’re gonna pay their fair share in taxes and they should… We’re in a time when– when the federal government is short on revenues. We need to control spending but we need to have revenues to keep the government movin’. And they oughta be payin’ their fair share
JONATHAN KARL: Well, the President’s proposed doing away with eight– eight different subsidies. This would be about $4 billion a year. You– you think that’s worth doin’?
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: I think we gotta take a look at it. [ABC News, 4/25/11]
Yet Senate Republican Leaders Have Opposed Repealing Oil and Gas Tax Breaks:
McConnell Called Repeal of Big Oil Company Tax Breaks “Mini-Van Tax.” McConnell said in a floor statement, “At a time when increasing gas prices are already threatening our economic recovery a minivan tax that some on the other side have proposed won’t solve our nation’s fiscal crisis.” [McConnell Floor Statement, 3/9/11]
· McConnell Against Ending Subsidies For Oil Companies, Falsely Claims As A Tax Increase. In a statement McConnell says: “President Obama has proposed raising energy taxes of up to $90 billion over the next 10 years—most of which would be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher gas and electricity prices. The taxes could also slow down domestic oil production, enough to put up to 165,000 jobs in jeopardy over the next 10 years…Republicans have proposed two simple ideas that would provide real relief at the pump. First, we should seriously reform the rules and regulations holding America back from increased domestic energy production. And second, we should block any new regulations that would drive up the costs of energy production.” [Press Release, 4/22/11]
Cornyn In Favor Of Giving Billions In Subsidies To Oil Companies. Business Week reported that Cornyn, “Opposes the President’s efforts to repeal oil- and gas-industry tax breaks.” [Business Week, 4/07/11]
· John Cornyn Claims Tax Hikes on Big Oil Will Result in Higher Prices Felt at Pump. Senator JOHN CORNYN (Republican, Texas): It may be fashionable to beat up on Big Oil and say, let’s tax the oil companies because they’re making too much money. But you know what, if we raise taxes on the oil companies, we all end up paying an increased price of gasoline at the pump. [NPR, 4/16/08]
April 26, 2011
Bipartisan US Senate Delegation Returns From China
Delegation Held Week of High-Level Meetings on International Security, Economy, Human Rights, Clean Energy
10 Senators Represented More Than 100 Million Americans, 1/3 of US Population
Washington, DC–A bipartisan delegation of 10 United States Senators returned home Monday night following a week’s worth of meetings with high-level Chinese government officials, business leaders, U.S. Foreign Service officers and Peace Corps volunteers.
The historic delegation, led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, represented more than a third of the U.S. population and included some of the most senior members of the Senate. The delegation included Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).
Some of the Chinese officials the Senators met with include:
• Xi Jinping, China’s Vice President, who is widely expected to succeed Hu Jintao next year as China’s next President
• Wang Qishan, Vice Premier
• Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister
• Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature.
• Lu Yongxiang, Vice Chairman of the National People’s Congress
• Zhou Xiaochuan, President of the People’s Bank of China
• Donald Tsang, Chief Executive of Hong Kong
• Florinda Chan, Acting Chief Executive and Secretary for Administration and Justice of Macau
• Ge Honglin, Mayor of Chengdu, a city with a population of 14 million that is a leader in China’s renewable energy industry
Additionally, members of the delegation met with officials from the Chinese Rail Ministry to discuss the country’s investments in high-speed rail.
Senators also received classified briefings by American officials and met with Jon Huntsman, America’s Ambassador to China; Stephen Young, Consul General in Hong Kong; and Roy Perrin, Acting Consul General in Chengdu.
In addition to meeting with government officials, the Senators met with American business leaders operating in China during luncheons with the American Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. China Business Council.
Trade, Jobs, and Currency. The primary focus of this trip centered on strengthening America’s manufacturing sector and urging a level playing field for U.S. businesses. Chinese officials confirmed that China would continue the managed appreciation of its currency and were urged by the delegation to be more aggressive. This was an important step because China’s currency policy has resulted in an unbalanced exchange rate that keeps the cost of Chinese products artificially low and the cost of U.S. exports to China unfairly high, making it difficult for U.S. businesses to compete with China in the global marketplace.
The Senators also raised strong concerns about other trade barriers that make it difficult for American companies to export and invest in China, including China’s so-called “indigenous innovation” policies.
Clean Energy. The delegation spent a great deal of time learning more about China’s aggressive investments in clean energy. “China isn’t investing so heavily in clean energy just because it’s good for the environment – it’s doing so because it’s good for the economy,” Reid said. “China knows clean energy creates jobs and, in reducing its reliance on oil, makes it more secure. With our vast renewable energy resources and American ingenuity, we can’t afford not to be a globally competitive leader in this important area. We should also look for new opportunities to collaborate on and advance clean-energy deployment here and abroad.”
International Security. As the world’s two leading economies, both nations agree there is a shared responsibility to work together to foster global security. The Senators and Chinese officials discussed the importance of stability in the Korean Peninsula and the dangers of a nuclear Iran, as well the importance of maintaining an open line of communication to address potential threats.
Human Rights. The delegation’s trip to China took place during one of the toughest human rights crackdowns in recent Chinese history, a concern that was brought up by the delegation during multiple meetings with Chinese officials. While differences of opinion remain, both sides agreed to continue discussing this issue, an encouraging step that the delegation hopes will eventually lead China to protect the internationally recognized rights to freedom of expression, religion, and association. This week China and the U.S. will have a bilateral dialogue on human rights issues.
“The world needs its two largest economies to work together. We have to communicate and build mutual trust,” Reid said. “Our meetings in China helped improve that relationship, and our experience there was an unmistakable reminder of just how hard we have to work to make American more competitive with the rest of the world. I thank the Chinese for meeting with us and for their gracious hospitality.”
April 22, 2011
House GOP’s Dirty Little Secret Revealed: Ryan’s Own Budget Calls For Immediate $2 Trillion Hike In Debt Limit
Language Buried Inside House GOP’s ‘Path to Prosperity’ Would Lift Debt Ceiling by $2T Right Away and Nearly $9T by 2023
House GOP’s ‘Escalating’ Threats On Debt Ceiling Ring Hollow Since Reckless Budget GOP Passed Just Last Week Calls For More and More Borrowing Into Future
HOUSE GOP IS ‘ESCALATING’ THREATS TO NOT RAISE DEBT CEILING …
Politico: ‘Republicans Escalate Demands on Debt Ceiling.’ “One day after being named to a presidential task force to negotiate deficit reduction, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor fired off a stark warning to Democrats that the GOP ‘will not grant their request for a debt limit increase’ without major spending cuts or budget process reforms.” [Politico, 4/20/11]
… BUT, IN AN INCONVENIENT TWIST SURE TO UPSET TEA PARTY, HOUSE GOP BUDGET APPROVED LAST WEEK ALREADY CALLS FOR DEBT LIMIT INCREASES
House GOP Budget Would Raise the Debt Limit By More Than 60%, to $23.1 Trillion. The federal debt ceiling currently stands at $14.3 trillion. Under the House Republican budget, the amount of public debt subject to the limit would be $23.1 trillion in Fiscal Year 2021, meaning the GOP plan forces an $8.8 trillion in additional debt – an increase of more than 60% – over ten years. [H. Con. Res. 34 (Page 5); Los Angeles Times, 4/15/11]
LA Times: ‘Do House Republicans Realize They Just Endorsed a Higher Debt Limit?’ “As far as I could tell, no amendments were offered to reduce the levels of spending outlined in the budget to hold that level of debt at or below $14.3 trillion. So, I guess that means Republicans won’t object to raising the current debt ceiling within the next few weeks so that the federal government can honor the commitments it has already made?” [Los Angeles Times, 4/15/11]
If They Had Not Changed Their Own Rules, GOP Budget Vote Last Week Would Have Been a Vote to Raise the Debt Limit. “Under House Rule XXVII (commonly referred to as the Gephardt rule after its author, former Representative Richard Gephardt), a joint resolution specifying the amount of the debt limit contained in the budget resolution automatically is engrossed and deemed to have passed the House by the same vote as the conference report on the budget resolution, thereby avoiding a separate vote on the debt-limit legislation.” That means that, under the Gephardt rule, the House Republican budget passed last Friday would have been considered a vote to raise the debt limit. When Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in January 2011, they eliminated the so-called Gephardt rule. [CRS, 6/26/08; Washington Post, 1/5/11]
GOP BUDGET NOT ONLY ENDORSES IMMEDIATE $2T HIKE IN DEBT LIMIT, IT CALLS FOR NEARLY $9T IN INCREASES OVER NEXT DECADE
Debt Subject to the Debt Limit Under House GOP Budget
TOTAL DEBT LIMIT INCREASE NEEDED UNDER GOP PLAN:
April 21, 2011
Fact Sheet: Republicans Continue To Hide True Cost To Seniors Of Their Plan To End Medicare
Republicans’ Plan Would Cost Millions Of Seniors $2.2 Billion In Benefits Next Year Alone, Despite Continued Republican Claims To Their Constituents That It Would “Not Touch Benefits”
Since passing their reckless budget plan last week, Republicans nationwide have continued to make the false claim that their plan protects today’s seniors. But seniors need to know the facts about the GOP plan. The Republican-passed budget will force nearly four million seniors to pay an additional $2.2 BILLION for prescription drugs next year alone.
Wisconsin: On Sunday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said, “And Medicare, let me just tell you, no change would occur to anybody fifty-five years of age or above.” Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) claims, “The fact is, this plan does not affect today’s seniors, or anyone on the verge of retirement, 55 years or older.” Both ignore the fact that, under the Republican budget, 69,167 Wisconsin seniors will pay $39 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
Virginia: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Friday, “To be clear, our plan will not touch benefits for today’s seniors and those nearing retirement.” Cantor ignores the fact that, under the Republican budget, 91,377 Virginia seniors will pay $51 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
Kentucky: Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) “says the proposed changes to Medicare in the House bill will not affect anyone currently 55 or older.” Guthrie ignores the fact that, under the Republican budget, 74,669 Kentucky seniors will pay $42 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
North Carolina: Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) said, “This budget does not cut Medicare funding. It makes no changes to Medicare for anyone 55 or older.” Ellmers ignores the fact that, under the Republican budget, 122,598 North Carolina seniors will pay $69 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
Pennsylvania: After voting for the budget on Friday, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) said, “Under our proposal, seniors are safe, with no changes to the current program for those 55 and older.” Rep. Glen Thompson (R-PA) asserted, “Contrary to the misinformation, this plan keeps our current commitments to seniors, while ensuring the longevity of our social safety net programs for future generations.” And Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) said, “It’s extremely important that people 55 years and older know that there will not be one dime of change to what they’ve been promised.” All three ignore the fact that, under the Republican budget, 266,342 Pennsylvania seniors will pay $149 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
New York: Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) said, “What I like about Ryan’s plan is that if you’re 55 and over — so if you’re about to become a senior or you are a senior — this will not affect you.” Grimm ignores the fact that, under the Republican budget, 273,223 New York seniors will pay $153 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
West Virginia: Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) said the GOP budget “does not affect anyone currently on Medicare or anyone 55 and older.” Capito ignores the fact that, under the Republican budget, 42,114 West Virginia seniors will pay $24 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
Illinois: Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) said, “Those 55 years and older will see absolutely no change in their current Medicare plan.” Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) claimed, “There will be no changes to Medicare for those who are 55 and older.” Both ignore the fact that, under the Republican budget, 163,630 Illinois seniors will pay $92 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
New Hampshire: Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH) said, “The two most important things that I want seniors to be aware of is that if you’re 55 and older, there is no change in Medicare or Medicaid benefits.” Guinta ignores the fact that, under the Republican budget, 15,222 New Hampshire seniors will pay $8.5 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
California: Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) said, “First of all, let’s make it clear, if we’re talking about someone 65 and older — anybody 55 and older will not be affected by any changes whatsoever.” Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) said, “Americans now age 55 and older will not see a change.” Both ignore the fact that, under the Republican budget, 381,298 California seniors will pay $214 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
Washington: Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) said, “I’m not going to touch current seniors.” Herrera Beutler ignores the fact that, under the Republican budget, 67,379Washington seniors will pay $38 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
Georgia: After voting for the House GOP budget on Friday, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) said, “if you are age 55 or over, these changes will not affect you at all.” Westmoreland ignores the fact that, under the Republican budget, 114,974 Georgia seniors will pay $64 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
Arkansas: After voting for the House GOP budget on Friday, Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR) said, “If you are 55 or over, there are no, zero changes to Medicare.”Rep. Donald Young (R-AK) stated, “If you are 55 and older your benefits are preserved.” Both ignore the fact that, under the Republican budget, 2,503 Alaska seniors will pay $1.4 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
Ohio: Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) said, “The budget plan secures Medicare without making any changes to those currently 55 and older.” Renacci ignores the fact that, under the Republican budget, 159,403 Ohio seniors will pay $89 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
Florida: After voting for the House GOP budget on Friday, Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) said, “Make no mistake, those who are 55 years or older would see no changes to Medicare whatsoever.” After voting for the budget on Friday, Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) argued, “This is a bold plan to save Medicare for future generations without affecting seniors and anyone 55 and older.” Both ignore the fact that, under the Republican budget, 275,927 Florida seniors will pay $155 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
Idaho: Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), said, “The House Republican plan reforms our ailing Medicare program so that it will be there for future generations without impacting the current benefits of anyone 55 or older.” Simpson ignores the fact that, under the Republican budget, 17,805 Idaho seniors will pay $10 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
Indiana: After voting for the budget, Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) argued, “Persons that are 55 and older will not see changes to their Social Security and Medicare benefits.” Stutzman ignores the fact that, under the Republican budget, 96,422 Indiana seniors will pay $54 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
Oklahoma: On Friday, after voting for the budget, Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK) stated, “This plan would not affect current Medicare beneficiaries, and those approaching retirement age – changes would apply only to people currently 54 years of age and younger.” Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) said, “The Ryan plan ensures these programs will be available for our children and grandchildren — without making any changes for those age 55 and above. That’s an important point that bears repeating: The Ryan Budget passed last week will not affect benefits for anyone 55 or older.” Both ignore the fact that, under the Republican budget, 61,466 Oklahoma seniors will pay $34 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
Texas: After voting for the budget, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) stated that the Ryan plan, “Makes no changes to Social Security and Medicare benefits for those who are 55 years old or older.” Thornberry ignores the fact that, under the Republican budget, 238,072 Texas seniors will pay $133 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
Minnesota: After voting for the budget on Friday, Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) said, “This budget also strengthens the senior safety net by preserving Medicare for future generations without any disruptions for those at or nearing retirement.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said, “So really, in a lot of ways, it should be called the ‘55 and under’ plan, because anybody 55 years of age or older will not be touched.” Both ignore the fact that, under the Republican budget, 71,867 Minnesota seniors will pay $40 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
Nevada: After voting for the budget on Friday, Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) argued that the budget made, “no changes to those over 55.” Heck ignores the fact that, under the Republican budget, 26,767 Nevada seniors will pay $15 million more for prescription drugs next year alone.
April 21, 2011
Reid Statement On Ensign’s Retirement
Beijing, China – Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement on Sen. John Ensign’s retirement:
“From fighting Yucca Mountain in southern Nevada to protecting Lake Tahoe in the north, I have appreciated John’s partnership in working with me to address our state’s needs. He was a strong advocate for Nevada, and worked for many years to improve our state. My relationship with the Ensign family began many years ago with his father, Mike, a pioneer who has been a force in Nevada gaming and tourism for decades. I know this is a difficult time for the family and I wish them all well as they work through it.”
April 20, 2011
Fact Sheet: One Year After BP Disaster, Republicans Give Tax Breaks To Big Oil Paid For By Re-Opening The Donut Hole For Seniors
Republican Budget Protects $44 Billion In Tax Breaks For Big Oil And Gas Companies While Cutting Prescription Drug Benefits For Seniors By The Same Amount
Republican Budget Protects Nearly $44 Billion in Tax Loopholes and Subsidies For Oil and Gas Companies While Forcing Seniors To Pay the Same Amount in Additional Costs for their Prescription Drugs. The Republican budget protects $44 billion in unnecessary and expensive tax breaks and subsidies for oil and gas companies, even as oil companies are reporting record profits. Meanwhile, The Republican proposal would “re-open” the prescription drug donut hole and cost the average senior who falls into the donut hole approximately $11,794 between 2012 and 2020. Over that time, Ryan’s budget will cost seniors an estimated $44 billion in prescription drug costs, including $2.2 billion next year alone. [Reuters, 2/1/10; OMB, FY12 Budget Proposal; HHS, 11/4/10; DPCC Report, 4/14/11; Republican Budget Proposal, 4/15/11].
Republican Plans To Dismantle Medicare and Provide Tax Giveaways to Big Oil and Gas Companies Extremely Unpopular With Americans. According to a new ABC/Washington Post survey, 84 percent of Americans oppose the Republican plan to privatize Medicare and force seniors to pay twice as much for their health care. Meanwhile, a February 2011 NBC / Wall Street Journal poll found that 74% of Americans support eliminating tax credits for the oil and gas industries in order to reduce the deficit. [ABC/Washington Post Poll, 4/20/11; NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll, February 2011]
Former Big Oil Executive: “Such Subsidies Are Not Necessary.” Large oil companies don’t need tax subsidies when oil prices are high, a former CEO of Shell Oil said in February. “In the face of sustained high oil prices it was not an issue—for large companies—of needing the subsidies to entice us into looking for and producing more oil,” John Hofmeister told National Journal Daily…“The fear of low oil prices drives some companies to say that subsidies should be sustained,” Hofmeister said. “And my point of view is that with high oil prices such subsidies are not necessary.” [National Journal, 2/11/11]
Study: “Oil Production Is Among the Most Heavily Subsidized Businesses.” “An examination of the American tax code indicates that oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses, with tax breaks available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process… According to the most recent study by the Congressional Budget Office, released in 2005, capital investments like oil field leases and drilling equipment are taxed at an effective rate of 9 percent, significantly lower than the overall rate of 25 percent for businesses in general and lower than virtually any other industry.” [New York Times, 7/4/10]
Biggest Oil Companies’ Profits Continue to Skyrocket. Exxon Mobil reported a 53 percent increase in its fourth-quarter 2010 profit. Exxon Mobil’s profit in the quarter was $9.25 billion compared with $6.05 billion in the period a year ago. Chevron’s fourth-quarter earnings surged 72 percent. Chevron reported a profit of $5.3 billion, up from $3.07 billion a year earlier. Royal Dutch Shell PLC reported that fourth quarter profit more than tripled from a year earlier. Fourth quarter net profit was $6.79 billion, up from $1.96 billion in the same period a year earlier. [New York Times, 1/31/11; Wall Street Journal, 1/28/11; Associated Press, 2/3/11]
Biggest Oil Companies Made Nearly $1 TRILLION in Profits Over the Last 10 Years. The big five oil companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell—made a total profit of nearly $1 trillion over the past decade. [Center for American Progress, 1/31/11]
April 20, 2011
Reid Statement On The One-Year Anniversary Of The BP Oil Spill
Spill Is A Reminder Of The Need To Reduce Our Reliance On Oil
Beijing, China – Nevada Senator Harry Reid issued the following statement on the first anniversary of the BP oil spill, which began in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010. Reid is in China this week, leading an historic delegation of 10 U.S. Senators to clean-energy sites across the country and to discussing other pressing matters with Chinese government and business leaders.
“The damage of BP’s devastating oil spill will be felt for years to come. For the families of the 11 workers killed in the explosion, no policy change or business decision can replace lost loved ones.
“Some of the other scars of that spill will be visible — in the water and wildlife and throughout the environment. But we also will endure economic pain — in the
efforts of small businesses and communities to rebuild.
”These environmental and economic impacts remind us of one of the most important lessons from this tragedy: the United States must reduce our dependence on oil.
”We must invest more quickly and more significantly in job-creating American clean energy projects that will strengthen our economy, environment and national security, as well as setting long-term policies to promote clean alternatives to oil. At this critical time in the recover of our economy, we cannot afford to keep giving huge tax breaks to big oil companies that even some of their executives have admitted they don’t need.
“During our Congressional delegation’s week-long trip to China, I am looking forward to learning more about how the Chinese are successfully investing in renewable energy, to see what we can do most effectively in the United States to encourage rapid investment in this important sector of our economy. Our nation has vast renewable energy resources, especially in states like Nevada, that can solve our environmental, economic and national security problems but only if we don’t make the mistakes of the past and choose instead to move forward to a clean energy future.”
April 20, 2011
Historic Congressional Delegation Meets With Top Chinese Leaders, US Ambassador To China
Senators’ Meetings With China’s Vice Premier, Foreign Minister And Bank President Center On Global Security, Trade, Currency, And Human Rights
Beijing, China – An historic delegation of ten United States Senators, led by Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, met today with Wang Qishan, Vice Premier of China, Yang Jiechi, China’s Foreign Minister, and Zhou Xiaochuan, the president of the People’s Bank of China.
The meetings, which followed a briefing at the American Embassy by Ambassador John Huntsman, centered on trade, currency, cooperation on global security, human rights and clean energy.
“The relationship between the United States and China is important for our two nations, but it is also important for the world,” Reid said. “How the United States and China work together on commerce, currency and clean energy will help determine the future health of the global economy. I thank China’s leaders for meeting with us to discuss these important issues. “
Never before has a Senate delegation this large, representing more than 100 million Americans and more than a third of the American population, traveled to China.
April 18, 2011
Senate Delegation Arrives In Hong Kong
Washington, D.C. – Today a congressional delegation of 10 senators arrived in Hong Kong and will be taking a week-long, informational trip throughout China. Led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the groups also includes Senators Richard Shelby, Barbara Boxer, Dick Durbin, Mike Enzi, Chuck Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, Johnny Isakson, Jeff Merkley and Michael Bennet.
The group will also meet with government officials and do site visits of American investments and clean energy projects in Chengdu, Beijing and Xi’An. During meetings with Chinese officials, the group will discuss issues including clean energy, trade issues, currency, foreign policy, and human rights.