Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, says the Republican budget seeks massive cuts to the federal “security net” and the elderly and poor will be hit the hardest if it’s enacted. Opponents of the health care reform bill that Harkin championed, cited some of the same claims about its impact, including the infamous line that it “would pull the plug on grandma.”
Harkin says he can make his budget claims because he can back them up. Harkin says there was “no basis in fact” for the Tea Party to claim the health care bill would pull the plug on grandma, while he says there is a basis in fact for his claims on the budget. “Two-thirds of the cuts are at programs aimed at low income people, two-thirds, that’s a fact,” Harkin says, “it does end Medicare as we know it and turns it over to a voucher system.”
Republican Congressman Paul Ryan leads the budget committee and put together the budget proposal. Harkin says it is far too drastic.
Harkin says some reports say the Ryan budget would bring non-defense spending to its lowest level since before the Great Depression. Harkin says the Great Depression was the reason the government established the safety net.
There have been protests at the capitol by some calling for the government to shut down if the budget isn’t approved. Harkin says he can’t understand why people would call for the shut down. “It is flabbergasting, that actually people are walking around here saying ‘shut the government down.’ I gotta ask sometimes, where’s their patriotism, where is their patriotism?,” Harkin asks,”We have the freest most open, most responsible government in the world.”
Harkin says the government shut down wouldn’t be good for anyone. Harkin says the government does have problems, “we always have problems”, but he says to shut it down would “send a signal to the rest of the world that we can’t even govern ourselves.” Harkin says a shut down would also hurt the economy, cost us jobs, and “send a terrible signal to the rest of the world that we can’t even govern ourselves.”
Harkin says Democrats aren’t the ones calling for a shut down as he says Democrats have tried to give on the budget, but the “goal posts keep changing.” He says they are not going to give Republicans 100% of their demands.