House passes cuts to Medicaid to fund more tax cuts for the rich
Walden's Service Cuts Will Hurt Oregon Families
On Tuesday, Southern Oregonians said "no" to $100 billion in federal service cuts - But Congressman Walden voted yes today, locking in drastic cuts to Oregon's Medicaid, child support enforcement, student loans and other services that help Oregon's poor and middle-class families improve their lives.
The Budget Reconciliation bill, which passed today 216-214, will take an estimated $38.8 billion from health care, child care, student loan assistance, child support enforcement and other critical services for the poor and middle class between 2006-2010, and $99.3 billion more between 2006 to 2015, according to the Congressional Budget Office. These cuts are designed to offset an estimated $70 billion in tax cuts over the next five years, about three-quarters of which will go to households with income of more than $100,000.
Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain Tuesday joined about 30 students, parents and seniors who told the media outside Walden's Medford office how Oregonians would be affected by the cuts. (See Medford's KDRV Channel 12 coverage here.)
Denise Stephenson, a mother who relies on Child Support Enforcement to collect support owed by her daughter's father, said, "Greg Walden's tax giveaway to the rich will allow parents to neglect their children and shift costs onto taxpayers. For me, $24 a week makes the difference between whether my daughter eats Top Ramen or a more nutritious meal."
"To say that the No. 1 place to cut is student financial aid and the No. 2 place to cut is health care for the disabled and poor and low-income families, while leaving untouched subsidies to the pharmaceutical industry, the insurance industry and the oil industry, is obscene," Rep. Peter DeFazio told the Register-Guard today.
Walden was the only member of Oregon's Congressional delegation who supported the service cuts. Earl Blumenauer did not cast a vote.
February 1, 2006
link to www.registerguard.com
Bill's cuts will hurt students, study says
By Greg Bolt
Oregon students could pay almost $1,800 more for their college loans under terms of a budget bill expected to be approved by Congress this week.
The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote today on the budget reconciliation bill, which will cut $40 billion from the federal budget.
About one-third of the cuts, $12.7 billion, will come through changes in college financial aid, mainly by increasing the interest rate on student loans and increasing the fees paid for the loans.
Also, the bill will cut $8 billion from the Medicaid program and $5 billion from Medicare.
The Senate approved the bill just before the Christmas recess by the narrowest possible margin, a 51-50 vote in which Vice President Dick Cheney cast the tie-breaker. The bill is being sent back to the House for a vote on minor changes made in the Senate version.
Supporters of the bill said it provides much-needed fiscal restraint in the face of unprecedented demands on the treasury for the costs of the Hurricane Katrina response and the ongoing expense for the war in Iraq.
Opponents argue that the bill takes most of its savings from cuts to needy student and health care programs.
"To say that the No. 1 place to cut is student financial aid and the No. 2 place to cut is health care for the disabled and poor and low-income families, while leaving untouched subsidies to the pharmaceutical industry, the insurance industry and the oil industry, is obscene," said Fourth District Rep. Peter DeFazio, a Democrat. "It's unconscionable."
DeFazio voted against the bill when it came up late last year and said he remains opposed.
Second District Rep. Greg Walden, the lone Republican in Oregon's House delegation, was the only member of the delegation to support the earlier version; calls to his office Monday and Tuesday were not returned.
The liberal advocacy group Campaign for America's Future, which supports budget reforms it believes favor working families, released a study Monday that claims students in Oregon could pay as much as $1,796 more in loan costs under the new legislation.
Also, the group questioned making deep cuts in programs that provide health care for low-income families and help students get a college degree when separate legislation gives large tax breaks to high-income taxpayers.
"This bill will make it harder for students from working families to go to college," Robert Borosage, co-founder of Campaign for America's Future, said in a prepared statement.
"This measure makes deep and harmful cuts to student loans that will not even pay for the new tax breaks planned for the wealthy."
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