Economy & Budget

Seniors, say goodbye to your healthcare

The federal budget is a statement of our priorities and our values as a nation, and it has three goals. First: To meet our obligations. Second: To be fiscally responsible. And, Third: To grow our economy.

The Republican budget proposed by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan fails all three of these goals, and undermines the foundation of who we are as a nation.


HHS turns a new page for LGBT citizens

The New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) was encouraged by an announcement by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) highlighting new recommendations to improve the lives and health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, including addressing domestic violence as it distinctly impacts LGBT survivors. On April 1, HHS stated “The recommendations were developed in response to the Presidential Memorandum on Hospital Visitation, which, in addition to addressing the rights of patients to designate visitors regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, directed the secretary to explore additional steps HHS could take to improve the lives of LGBT people.”

HHH's 2011 and 2012 Funding Opportunity Announcements under the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program was posted on April 1 during LGBT health awareness week. To it's credit, HHS articulated a new and increased commitment to recognize LGBT populations as under-served communities and to identify LGBT populations as target populations for other population-specific grants. This commitment advances the important work that the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), a program of AVP, has done to expand access to funding for local anti-violence programs throughout the United States. Funding for LGBT-specific AVPs will allow LGBT survivors to access competent services that recognize, respect and respond to the specific needs and obstacles that LGBT people face.


It's not time to fight - Keep the country running

This debate used to be about saving money. That is no longer the case.

The Tea Party is trying to push through its extreme social agenda – issues that have nothing to do with funding the government.

We are very close on the cuts and how we make them.  The only things – I repeat, the only things – holding up an agreement are women’s health and clean air.

And what’s worse – when we were on the verge of an agreement, Republicans changed their tune overnight.

This is the question: Do they really want to shut down the government because they want to make it harder for a woman to get a cancer screening?


Pass a 'clean' continuing resolution

I want to say to the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, how often he and I have said, you know, when we have these impasses, we need a clean CR. This CR is unclean. This CR will not get us to where you say you want to get, Mr. Chairman, and that's not shutting down the government. Because you know and I know the President will not sign this bill.

Why? Because you put in poison pills that you know are unacceptable to him. Why? So you can get the votes on your side of the aisle to vote for your bill to keep the government open.

Why is that difficult?

Because so many of your folks, unless they get 100 percent, are prepared to shut down the government.


Finally, a serious budget

It's fitting that President Obama announced his re-election campaign the same week House Republicans unveiled our 2012 budget plan. The two events are inextricably linked.

If President Obama were not facing re-election in 2012, his budget proposal for that year might have been quite different. It might have been serious. 

Instead of a substantive blueprint for steering the country out of a debt crisis, however, President Obama produced a budget document only a campaign consultant could love. A transparent exercise in political pandering and risk avoidance, the signature feature of Obama's budget is an unwavering commitment to avoid touching entitlements with a 10-foot pole. Even the recommendations of the president's own debt commission were largely shunned lest any key constituencies take offense.


Block grants: The best medicine for Medicaid

Washington’s way of doing things is not working. For far too long, the solution has been to hope that problems will fix themselves or disappear entirely. Unfortunately, such an outcome is rarely, if ever, reality. When solutions have been proposed inside the Beltway, they have usually been tame and, to an extent, simply “feel good" lip service.

This status quo mentality is no longer acceptable.


The GOP budget: Restoring America's promise

Last Congress, in an unprecedented failure, House Democrats neglected to pass or even propose a budget, giving themselves a blank check to irresponsibly spend too much, tax too much and borrow too much. This year, President Obama and the Democrats have again chosen not to produce a credible plan to implement serious spending cuts or to resolve the current budget mess. 

What’s worse, President Obama’s disappointing budget proposal released in February provides no vision for the future, except to punt on the drivers of our debt, accelerate our country down a path to bankruptcy and rob our children of a future full of America’s promise, prosperity and security.


Enough already! It’s time to amend the lead law

After almost three years of bickering over the law regulating lead in children’s products, a comprehensive amendment is finally up for discussion in the House of Representatives. It’s about time.

In August 2008, the 110th Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in an overreaction to notorious lead-in-paint toy recalls. Claiming that weak regulation “caused” these violations of law (lead-in-paint has been illegal for decades), consumer groups coined a slogan to sum it up: “There is NO safe level of lead”. Stooping low to sow fear, they have even warned the CPSC about the perils of bicycle licking and playing brass instruments in the school band. Their lead slogan has been repeated endlessly to justify a stifling, over-reaching law which has accomplished little but damaged many fine companies, killed jobs and depressed markets. The CPSIA deems companies "guilty until proven innocent" by forcing them to test products over and over again at huge expense to prove compliance with the new lead standard.


Taking a sustainable, equitable path forward on budget

For years, Republican budgets have under-invested in America’s future, while shifting more cost and uncertainty onto average Americans, in order to benefit people who are already well-off. The Republican 2012 budget marks the high point of this 30 year battle by undermining critical middle-class protections while giving more help to those who don’t need it.

The Republican budget would make draconian reductions to key government services, environmental programs and safety protections while ignoring America’s fraying infrastructure. Medicare inefficiencies and unfairness are locked in for 60 million Americans for the next half-century while everyone under 55 is subjected to healthcare cuts that make a mockery of Republican campaign charges during the last elections.

In the areas of military spending and skyrocketing tax expenditures, Republicans merely nibble around the edges. There is a bipartisan appetite to reduce military spending. The House of Representatives has shown this is possible with the bipartisan vote to eliminate the F-35 alternate engine. If Ron Paul and Barney Frank can find $100 billion in military savings, then a bipartisan budget can do better.


The FY 2012 budget: Our blueprint for the future

The federal government has a very serious addiction to spending. It’s not a Republican problem or a Democrat problem – it’s an American problem. This spending addiction is dangerous and has contributed to one of the worst recessions of our lifetime. House Republicans are breaking the addiction by proposing important spending cuts in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 budget proposal. 

Spending cuts are essential if we’re going to create a better environment for jobs in America. The FY 2012 budget would cut government spending by $6.2 trillion over 10 years and lower the corporate tax rate to 25%.  Furthermore, the blueprint aims to balance the budget, excluding interest payments, by 2015.

The FY 2012 budget, introduced by the House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, includes comprehensive tax reform, puts patients back at the center of health-care decision making, and opens up more energy resources in our homeland.