Political Correction

Rep. Foxx: Republican Budget "Strengthens The Social Safety Net"

April 15, 2011 4:19 pm ET - by Walid Zafar

Speaking on the House floor last night, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) argued that Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) Path to Prosperity budget is a boon to millions of Americans living in poverty or struggling to stay in the middle class as a result of the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression.

FOXX: This budget strengthens the social safety net and promotes policies that help people recover from poverty and lead self-sufficient lives.

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Despite Foxx's assurances, the Republican budget actually takes a machete to the safety net. First and foremost, it would drive seniors into poverty by turning Medicare into a voucher program. Ryan's so-called "premium support" scheme will not actually cover the cost of insurance premiums, and future seniors, many on fixed incomes, will have to fork over thousands to be covered.

Supporters of the budget maintain that those who are currently on Medicare, or are 55 years and above, will not see a change to their policy. This too is false. By repealing the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, Republicans will reopen the Medicare donut hole and force millions of seniors to once again pay thousands more out of pocket for prescription drugs.

The cruel budget will also go after Medicaid, which would be turned into a block grant program. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, that "would push tens of millions of Americans into the ranks of the uninsured." States unable to meet the needs of their most vulnerable populations would have to find the money elsewhere, reduce eligibility, or simply cut benefits.

Here is Rep. Chris Van Hollen (R-MD) explaining what Ryan's budget will actually do if it ever sees the light of day:

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The recession has forced millions of middle class Americans on to the food stamp rolls. Even states that tend to be skeptical about social safety net and federal nutrition programs have seen drastic rises in those applying for the program. But the official Republican budget would turn the food stamp program into block grants as well, allowing states then to shift funds to other parts of their budget.

Foxx will not admit that Paul Ryan's budget would actually target some of the most efficient, crucial and life-saving federal programs while at the same time reducing taxes for millionaire entertainers and billionaire hedge fund managers. It is a true testament to the American system of social responsibility that even the most blatant and cruel attempt to tear apart the social safety net established under FDR and strengthened under LBJ is defended using the vernacular of social welfare.

The trickle-down Path to Prosperity — the budget House Republicans passed this afternoon — is a transparent attempt to comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted. And no false labels or facile packaging can change that fact.

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