House advances GOP budget bill, begins four hours of debate

"A budget's a reflection of our values," said Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.). "And through that prism, the Ryan budget that we are considering today is morally bankrupt."

Slaughter said the bill fails to raise taxes on corporations, makes cuts to Medicare and moves it to a voucher system, and cuts middle-class programs rather than increase taxes on the wealthy.

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"In short this extreme, partisan proposal takes a hatchet to the notion of shared responsibility, and places the financial burdens of a generation upon the shoulders of seniors, the poor and the middle class," she said.

Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.), who managed rule debate for Republicans, agreed that budgets are moral documents, and said Republicans are looking to fix the problem of increasing federal debt, which will only saddle future generations.

"When we talk about the morality of our budgets, we've got to talk about the morality of continuing to run budgets that are unbalanced," he said. "We've got to talk about the morality of continuing to pay for our priorities today with IOUs from our children in the future."

Democrats focused in particular on the Medicare reform language in the budget proposal from Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said the budget would force her 98-year-old mother to receive a government voucher and make her own healthcare arrangements, although Woodall said the bill would not affect anyone 55 years and older.

"Your mother will be in no way affected by the budget that we're voting on today," he said.

As usual, Democrats tried to use a procedural vote to drop the budget bill and move to their preferred bill — this time, legislation reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). While these efforts by the minority always fail, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) made an emotional plea to take up the bill, noting along the way her personal experience with sexual violence.

VAWA expires at the end of this year, and Woodall pledged to help get an extension of that law through the Rules Committee.

Immediately after the vote on the rule for the budget bill, members approved H.R. 1339, which recognizes Salem, Mass., as the birthplace of the U.S. National Guard. That bill passed 413-6.

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