Congressional Black Caucus Presents Alternate Budget

Barrington M. Salmon | 3/20/2013, 10:18 a.m.

Clyburn, the Assistant Democratic Leader, said his 10-20-30 amendment in Obama's Recovery Act directs 10 percent of the budget to 20 percent of the nation's population that has been living below the poverty line for the past 30 years.

Lee and her colleagues criticized Ryan's budget proposal which is reportedly seeking $4.6 trillion in cuts and seeks to eliminate deficits over 10 years without any tax increases; which counts $2.5 trillion in health care savings by repealing Obamacare; has $1 trillion in unspecified, mandatory cuts and $3.5 trillion in reductions to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without any tax loopholes being closed.

"Our budget exposes the Republican budget for what it is," Lee said. "That's $2.5 trillion in health care cuts that would be shifted to citizens. We have a responsible budget with credible numbers, job packages and we restore funds to programs. We have maintained fiscal responsibility and [will] create jobs, which is a priority."

She said the CBC budget includes $230 billion for the maintenance and repair of airports, bridges, roads and other infrastructure upgrades and renovations. In addition, $13 billion would be allocated to pay for the Workforce Investment Act and dislocation training; $50 billion would provide relief to states and municipalities and pay for salaries for teachers and law enforcement among other things; and $50 billion would be directed to finance a housing stabilization plan. The budget also sets aside $50 billion for veterans of the Iraq and Afghani wars.

"This budget creates a sharp contrast to the Ryan budget," said Lee. "It's critical because it maintains the safety net and invests in job creation. It also provides opportunities for all. I look forward to a good vote on this."

The lawmakers said that party members are negotiating and they are working to have many of the elements in their budget version incorporated into the Democratic budget.

Moore spoke of the importance of maintaining the safety net by preserving programs that Republicans have labeled entitlements: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

"There's lots of subterfuge on whether to make these cuts," she said. "We did not include these cuts to Social Security and Medicaid but many people have been itching to make these changes, literally throwing seniors and young people under the bus. We enjoyed dealing with this affirmatively."

"We think it's possible to strengthen Social Security and Medicare by getting more rebates from pharmaceutical companies, negotiating Part B to produce billions of dollars in savings, and also changing the cost of living adjustment of Social Security ..."

Scott said it is estimated that the sequester will cause between 750,000 and two million Americans to lose their jobs. However, the CBC budget through its jobs plan will lead to an increase of between 2.5 and 5 million jobs.

"To the extent that we allow the Ryan budget to take effect, to bring block grants and voucherize programs will cause deep problems. We're fighting for low-income people in this budget ... and you're beginning to hear the message of fighting for the middle class," said Clyburn.