Springfield Republican Op-Ed: Republican budget makes rich richer, hurts Massachusetts families
A budget is a building plan for the future. It's about what it takes for our families, our businesses, and our economy to thrive.
What do we need? Our kids need a good, affordable education. Our workers need good wages, good benefits, and good jobs here in America, jobs built on 21st century innovation and technology. Our businesses and workers need transit, roads, and bridges that are safe enough, strong enough, and fast enough to get us to work and to keep goods and services moving. And everyone needs to know that we're in this together. That's how we build a strong future.
Republicans in Congress have a different vision. The Republicans' partisan budget, jammed through the Senate last month, will make the rich richer and the powerful more powerful, while leaving our kids, our college students, our seniors, our workers, and our families to fall further and further behind.
If the drastic cuts in the Republican budget are applied proportionately, it could cut transportation funding over the next decade by 40%. So if you think we already have a crumbling infrastructure, if you're already worried about old buses and whether the T can struggle through another winter, remember that Republicans want to slash support for transportation.
Cutting construction and repair also means cutting jobs. Economists estimate that the Republican budget would mean about 56,000 fewer jobs in Massachusetts alone.
The Republican budget also takes aim at our kids. Over the next decade, it could eliminate Head Start for 400,000 children across the country, including about 5,000 kids here in Massachusetts. The budget could make college more expensive for over 130,000 Massachusetts students who receive Pell grants. And cuts in the student loan interest rates? Forget it. The Republican budget keeps sucking down billions of dollars in profits off student loans.
The Republican budget puts Massachusetts seniors' health at risk too. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the days when seniors had to choose between filling a prescription and paying the rent were over. But under the Republican budget, nearly 80,000 seniors in Massachusetts could pay an average of $920 more per year for prescription drugs. About 900,000 seniors in Massachusetts could lose free preventative Medicare health services, and over 25,000 Massachusetts nursing home residents who rely on Medicaid could face cuts to their care and an uncertain future.
And what about medical research and technology-the kind of work we're proud to do in Massachusetts? For over 10 years, Congress has decimated medical research funding, choking off support for projects that could lead to the next major breakthrough against cancer, heart disease, ALS, diabetes, or autism. With more and more families desperate for those breakthroughs, what's the Republican solution? Cut the National Institutes of Health budget. Cut medical research. In fact, compared to the President's budget, the Republican budget could mean 1,400 fewer NIH grants a year.
The Republican budget also cuts $600 billion from programs like nutrition assistance, putting at risk food stamps for thousands of Massachusetts families that depend on this program to put food on the table. And the Republican budget could cut funding for heating assistance, funding that helped over 180,000 Massachusetts families stay warm in the winter.
We know who this budget would hurt - millions of hard-working families in Massachusetts and all over this country who are trying to make ends meet; people who work hard and play by the rules, but who are seeing opportunity slip away.
Why? Why billions of dollars in cuts for education and medical research, for heating assistance and highways? Because the Republicans want to give billions of dollars in new tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans-and they expect everyone else to pay for it. The Republicans have planned $269 billion in tax cuts that would go to just a few thousand of the richest families. That's not just irresponsible. It is just plain wrong.
A budget is about values, and this budget puts Congressional Republicans' values on vivid display. This budget is about making sure that a tilted playing field tilts even more, while everyone else gets left further and further behind.
Those aren't Massachusetts' values and they are not America's values. We believe in opportunity, and that means fighting for a budget where everyone-not just the rich-has a fighting chance to build a better life for themselves and their children.
Read the op-ed on the Springfield Republican website here.
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