What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : America's Poor : (H. Con. Res. 34) On an amendment sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus that would have allowed income tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 to expire, and preserved Medicare as a guaranteed, government-run health care program for the elderly. The amendment also would have increased funding for food stamps, job training programs, food safety inspections, community health care centers, and financial aid for low-income college students. (2011 house Roll Call 273)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
[POW!]
 
(H. Con. Res. 34) On an amendment sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus that would have allowed income tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 to expire, and preserved Medicare as a guaranteed, government-run health care program for the elderly. The amendment also would have increased funding for food stamps, job training programs, food safety inspections, community health care centers, and financial aid for low-income college students.
house Roll Call 273     Apr 15, 2011
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This was a vote on an amendment sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) that would have allowed income tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush to expire, and preserved Medicare as a guaranteed, government-run health care program for the elderly. The amendment also would have increased funding for food stamps, job training programs, food safety inspections, community health care centers, and financial aid for low-income college students. This amendment was offered to a Republican budget resolution for fiscal year 2012.

This amendment—known as a “substitute amendment”--essentially replaced all of the underlying budget resolution with an alternative budget proposal. In addition to allowing tax cuts to expire and increasing funding for social programs, the CBC budget preserved Medicare as a government-run health care program. The underlying Republican budget resolution converted the Medicare program into a private health insurance voucher system for those who were currently 55 or younger. Instead of receiving health care through traditional Medicare, which is essentially a single payer health insurance program for the elderly, seniors would receive a subsidy from the federal government to purchase health insurance in the private market. By contrast, this amendment would have preserved Medicare as a single payer system.

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) urged support for this amendment: “…The Congressional Black Caucus has a long history of submitting fiscally responsible budget alternatives regardless of who may be sitting in the White House or which party holds the majority in Congress. This year's budget alternative continues this long tradition by putting forth a plan that significantly reduces our deficit over the next decade while increasing economic opportunities and promoting job creation in every corner of our society.” Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) also supported the amendment: “…We believe someone must stand up for the vulnerable population. The vulnerable population is not what we generally like to think; it's not the stereotypical view of a person who doesn't work and is shiftless and is a parasite. The vulnerable population today consists of firefighters, police officers, municipal workers, state workers, factory workers who have been laid off through no fault of their own because of this weak economy. Those men and women have been struggling trying to make it.”

Rep. Todd Young (R-IN) opposed the CBC budget amendment: “We are imposing all manner of unnecessary sacrifice under this [CBC] substitute on those Americans who are currently working and middle class….Here in this proposal, we are…contemplating allowing all tax provisions of the 2001 and 2003 deals to expire for all taxpayers. In other words, this is a proposed tax increase on middle class Americans. I don't think that's the right thing to do right now. Let's remind ourselves that we cannot tax our way out of this spending problem. Washington, once again, does not have a tax problem. We are not in this mess because we're not taxing the American people enough. Instead, we are in this mess because we're spending far too much.”

[The annual budget resolution is essentially a blueprint for all federal government spending. Budget resolutions do not have the force of law, but rather set the parameters for all future congressional actions relating to the federal budget. For example, all government spending bills must abide by the funding limits established by the budget resolution in order to comply with House and Senate rules. (“Emergency spending,” such as disaster relief or war funding, is exempted from this requirement.)]


The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 103-303. Voting “yea” were 103 Democrats, including a majority of progressives. All 228 Republicans present and 75 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have allowed income tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 to expire, and preserved Medicare as a guaranteed, government-run health care program for the elderly—as well as increased funding for food stamps, job training programs, food safety inspections, community health care centers, and financial aid for low-income college students.

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Key: Y=Yea, N=Nay, W=Win, L=Loss