Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is applauding the defeat in the Senate of the so-called “Ryan budget” for the upcoming fiscal year. The measure passed in the House last month.
Harkin, a Democrat, says Congressional Republicans are trying to justify their “extreme budget” by telling the American people that we are poor and broke. “The problem isn’t that we’re broke, it’s that our system is broken,” Harkin says. “Over the last three decades, the economy has doubled in size, but middle class incomes have been flat. Those at the top are cutting themselves bigger and bigger slices of the pie and telling the middle class to get by with less, less Medicare, less education, less money and pensions.”
Harkin says Tuesday’s special election in New York state shows that GOP policies and candidates are being soundly rejected. “People are in open rebellion against the Republican plan to dismantle Medicare, an absolutely critical pillar of the middle class,” Harkin says. “More broadly, Americans are rejecting the Republicans’ slash-and-burn approach to deficit reduction as unbalanced and unfair.”
Harkin says the Republican solution to the budget issue is always the same — to cut taxes for millionaires while cutting health care for the middle class and cutting education for kids. “The Republican budget dismantles Medicare and Medicaid and takes a meat axe to other programs,” Harkin says, “everything from education to infrastructure to research. This so-called deficit reduction plan gives yet another tax cut bonanza to the wealthy.”
The plan would make the so-called Bush tax cuts permanent while slashing the top tax rate from 35-percent down to 25-percent. Harkin says deficits need to be brought under control through “a balanced approach that includes spending cuts and necessary revenue increases, while continuing to make crucial investments in education, infrastructure and research, the keys to job creation and a stronger middle class.”
Iowa’s other U-S Senator, Republican Chuck Grassley, voted for the Ryan budget.