The two chambers of Congress are offering radically different budget blueprints, pitting Republicans in the House against Democrats in the Senate. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, says it’s coming down to a fundamental choice which he says galvanizes the ideals of both parties.
“Are we going to rescue, restore and rebuild the struggling middle class in this country or are we going to continue to shift even more wealth and advantage to those at the top at the expense of the middle class?” Harkin says. “That’s the two budgets.”
Harkin refers to the Republican-backed House budget as the “Tea Party budget” and a “slash-and-burn budget.” He says the choice among Democrats is clear.
“Our number one priority is to fight for a stronger middle class even as we reduce deficits and stabilize the debt by the end of the decade,” Harkin says. “Our Senate bill calls for a balanced approach to deficit reduction, both spending cuts and revenue increases, and it strengthens the still-fragile economy by making new job-creating investments in infrastructure and innovation and supporting education.”
Harkin claims the House spending plan would dismantle Medicare and Medicaid and deny health care coverage to nearly 30-million people, while making most of its cuts to programs that would benefit the poor and middle classes. “Meanwhile, it gives yet another tax bonanza to Wall Street and the wealthy by cutting the top tax rate from 39.6% down to 25%,” Harkin says.
“In a nut shell, radical budget cuts for the middle class and the poor, radical tax cuts for the top two-percent.” He says the House budget’s impact on Iowa would be “devastating,” saying it would be responsible for nearly 440-thousand Iowans losing their guaranteed Medicare coverage.
Harkin also says the proposed cuts in investments, infrastructure and research could jeopardize as many as 22,000 Iowa jobs.