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 Progressive Caucus that would have allowed 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 ended tax subsidies for oil and gas companies and power plants, implemented a new government-run health insurance program to compete with private insurers, and increased funding for clean energy, affordable housing, and medical research programs. (2011 house Roll Call 274)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
[POW!]
 
(H. Con. Res. 34) On an amendment sponsored by the Congressional Progressive Caucus that would have allowed 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 ended tax subsidies for oil and gas companies and power plants, implemented a new government-run health insurance program to compete with private insurers, and increased funding for clean energy, affordable housing, and medical research programs.
house Roll Call 274     Apr 15, 2011
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Progressive Position
Progressive Result
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This was a vote on an amendment sponsored by the Congressional Progressive Caucus that would have allowed 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 ended tax subsidies for oil and gas companies and power plants, implemented a new government-run health insurance program to compete with private insurers, and increased funding for clean energy, affordable housing, and medical research programs. 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. Like a similar amendment offered by the Congressional Black Caucus, this amendment 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. Under the Republican plan, 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. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) urged support for this amendment, calling it a “people’s budget”:  “The people's budget does not tell the American people what they want to hear; it gives the American people what they want: Fairness, protection of our social net for Americans in retirement and at the beginning of their lives, jobs, an immediate infusion of job creation to put people back to work, investments in education….It does not balance the budget on the backs of the middle class, those who aspire to be in the middle class, and those that are vulnerable in our society. It reverses a practice and it taxes those corporations and the very, very 2 percent rich in this country so they pay their just sacrifice to keeping this country healthy and turning our country around….I urge approval of this budget. It is a document that represents the very best of what the people need, and it represents a departure from a practice that has brought us to the brink of a deep recession, to a practice that has brought us to joblessness across this country and to a practice that has given the privileged all they want and transferred that responsibility to working Americans in this country.

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) opposed the amendment: “This budget, if enacted, would end this country as we know it. This budget increases spending… by $13 trillion over 10 years. It takes $16 trillion more from the American people over 10 years through the biggest tax increase this country has ever seen. It increases our debt $3.5 trillion over 10 years. This isn't the people's budget. This country was founded on equal opportunity for everyone, not equal outcome. History is littered with countries and nations that have failed because they tried for equal outcome. This country remains the greatest Nation the world has ever seen because we pride ourselves and enforce equal opportunity.”

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) also opposed the amendment: “I appreciate the opportunity to stand and speak against the Progressive Caucus budget because it is a budget that, once again, will spend too much money….one of the things that we have heard from the American people is this: they are tired of the federal government spending taxpayer money for programs they don't want and spending money that they don't have. And it is time for us to put this fiscal house in order….They have spoken loudly and clearly. And they have said reduce what you are spending, get your fiscal house in order, begin to focus not on the next 6 weeks or 6 months but the next 60 years, and focus on our children and our grandchildren, making certain that we are not tapping their futures and trading it to the nations that hold our debt.”

[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 the Progressive Caucus budget amendment by a vote of 77-347. Voting “yea” were 77 Democrats, including a majority of progressives. All 239 Republicans present and 108 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have allowed 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 ended tax subsidies for oil and gas companies and power plants, implemented a new government-run health insurance program to compete with private insurers, and increased funding for clean energy, affordable housing, and medical research programs.

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