Rockefeller 'ashamed' of Ryan budget plan - Business, Government Legal News from throughout WV

Rockefeller 'ashamed' of Ryan budget plan

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The controversial budget plan created by GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan last year has come under new scrutiny following the Republican National Convention.

The plan failed in the Senate but was passed by a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, which is led by Republicans. Opponents, including Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said the plan would result in slashes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Rockefeller took to the Senate floor Sept. 13 to share his frustrations. He noted the budget is getting a closer look now that it is a centerpiece of the Republican platform.

"I, for one, have been ashamed of the document much longer," Rockefeller said in his remarks. "I was proud the Senate voted against it, although it was equally discouraging that a majority of the House voted for it."

Rockefeller said the Ryan plan would tackle the deficit by "shredding the safety net that families across this country rely on in hard times." He said the plan guts programs for seniors, people who are disabled, children and families and turns those cuts into $4 trillion worth of tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and large corporations.

Perhaps the biggest critique of the Ryan plan is the proposal to turn Medicare into a voucher program of sorts.

"They would cap how much the government spends on seniors' health care regardless of their health needs, letting profit-seeking private health insurance companies decide what to cover and what not to," Rockefeller said. "That alone costs seniors an additional $6,000 per year. 

"If seniors are not able to pay the difference, they are simply out of luck under the Ryan-Romney plan."

The budget plan also would "completely undo all of the new consumer protections to fight back against cruel health insurance practices," Rockefeller said, adding Republicans want to repeal health care reform but don't have any proposals to replace the controversial law that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in June.

In addition, Social Security also would change under the Ryan plan.

"Paul Ryan has been trying since 2004 to privatize Social Security, meaning he would like to see the American people bet their retirement savings in the volatile stock market," Rockefeller said. "Not me, and not West Virginians."

Rockefeller pointed out the 2008 financial crisis and said if Americans had privatized Social Security prior to that event, the program would have been wiped out. 

"Instead, while many people lost a lot of money in the stock market because of the crash, their Social Security benefits were safe," he said. 

Rockefeller promised more debate on the budget in the coming weeks and months. Congress has not passed a budget in two years and continues to operate on month-to-month continuing resolutions. 


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