We Deserve Better Than “So Be It”

Rep. Karen Bass – U.S. Representative, California’s 33rd congressional district

Posted: March 11, 2011 11:41 AM

Last week, Congress passed a two-week continuing resolution to fund the government while a compromise budget is reached and avoid a government shutdown. Since then, House Republicans have proposed a $61 billion in reckless budget cuts that will hurt our nation’s most vulnerable citizens and make economic recovery even more difficult.

No one denies the necessity of cutting government spending; our current economic situation demands it. But we need to cut in ways that are responsible — ways that will help to grow our economy while maintaining vital safety net programs for those who need them in these difficult times.

In fact, last December Democrats passed a continuing resolution that cut $41 billion from current year spending, and our current proposal calls for $6.5 billion in additional cuts. This approach will keep our nation financially solvent without sacrificing the investments towards recovery we have made in the last two years.

Republicans, however, don’t feel that these cuts are deep enough, and they have threatened to shut down the government to prove their point. Basing their cuts on ideology rather than responsibility, the GOP is taking aim at traditional political targets rather than finding the most effective savings.

Planned Parenthood, who provides a wide variety of family planning and preventative health services to low-income women, has been targeted for defunding on the premise that federal dollars could be used to pay for legal abortions (the Hyde Amendment specifically prohibits this). The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) heath and nutrition program and Head Start are also looking at massive cuts, putting the burden of the Republican proposal squarely on the shoulders of women and children.

Also on the chopping block are National Public Radio and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, proving that even Sesame Street is not immune from the Republican’s slash and burn budgeting.

Democrats have proposed cuts of our own — smart, surgical cuts that help take the waste out of government and provide real savings. We recently proposed a cut of $100 million dollars from the Defense Department budget. This $100 million didn’t go towards body armor or medical care for veterans, but rather, for advertising the National Guard by sponsoring a NASCAR race car. The Republicans rejected our proposal out of hand.