Commuting to Congress: Episode 6

Congressman John Sarbanes' update for the week of April 7th, 2013. This week he discusses the Ryan budget that passed in the House of Representatives and Equal Pay Day.


This is John Sarbanes, Commuting to Congress. Now I’m commuting back from Congress at the end of the week in which we looked at the Republican Budget, the Ryan Budget that was put on the floor of the House. It passed in the House of Representatives with most Republicans voting for it, and most Democrats voting against it. The budget’s a disaster. The budget would gut many programs that assist working families across the country. It would cut Pell Grants by $145 billion dollars. It would cut assistance to student loan programs. Meanwhile, the Medicare voucher is back in the Ryan budget. He would turn the Medicare program into a voucher system, he’d raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67, and he’d repeal the Affordable Care Act’s efforts to close the donut hole that has been such a burden on seniors. So that donut hole would no longer be closing, because the ACA would be repealed. Beyond that, he wants to repeal the whole rest of the Affordable Care Act, which would increase the number of uninsured significantly over the next ten years. So, the Ryan Budget basically does everything you could possibly do to move the country in the wrong direction. And, of course, the whole time it’s also proposing to increase tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, and actually add to the tax burden of middle class Americans. So that’s what we spent this week doing, voting on the Ryan Budget. Now that will get, that won’t make it through the Senate. Obviously, the President would veto a budget of that kind. So, it’s more of a message document, but it’s pretty valuable because of the message it tells us that the Republicans in Congress want to put forward to the country, which is a message of going backwards, not forwards. The other thing we did this week, was we celebrated Equal Pay Day on Tuesday, which is the recognition that women still don’t earn equal pay for equal work in this country and we’ve got to recommit ourselves to trying to improve on that situation. There are millions of women across the country who work in jobs where they do not achieve the promotion that their male counterparts do, and otherwise suffer from a bias in the workplace when it comes to compensation. So, Equal Pay Day was an opportunity to shine light on that persistent disparity and highlight the ways in which we can try to address it going forward. So that’s our week in review, this is Congressman Sarbanes signing off.