Kudos to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for holding the Democratic caucus together to vote against the screwing of regular Americans by their government. Fiscal responsibility involves more than just cutting corners, it also encompasses the need to take a hard look at every expense and making decisions based on your priorities.
The House yesterday narrowly approved a contentious budget-cutting package that would save nearly $40 billion over five years by imposing substantial changes on programs including Medicaid, welfare, child support and student lending.
With its presidential signature all but assured, the bill represents the first effort in nearly a decade to try to slow the growth of entitlement programs, one that will be felt by millions of Americans. Women on welfare are likely to face longer hours of work, education or community service to qualify for their checks. Recipients of Medicaid can expect to face higher co-payments and deductibles, especially on expensive prescription drugs and emergency room visits for non-emergency care. More affluent seniors will find it far more difficult to qualify for Medicaid-covered nursing care.College students could face higher interest rates when their banks get squeezed by the federal government. And some cotton farmers will find support payments nicked. State-led efforts to force deadbeat parents to pay their child support may also have to be curtailed.
Yesterday's 216 to 214 vote, largely along party lines, gave a much-needed boost to President Bush, who is trying to reassert his control over domestic policy despite a series of legislative setbacks and near-record-low approval ratings. Bush had pushed many of the changes since he unveiled his 2006 budget proposal a year ago.Thirteen Republicans joined 200 Democrats and one independent in voting against the measure. All Republican House members from Maryland and Virginia voted for the measure, while all Democrats voted against it. (all emphasis mine)
This new budget makes life harder for the poor, elderly, and college students to have a shot a sustainable shot at life. The Democrats understood that, and voted it down. Unfortunately they didn't have the numbers to defeat the bill. Let it be a reminder that if you return them to majority status in November, they will stand up for the working class of this country.
As for the Republicans, you can see where their priorities lie:
According to senior Pentagon officials and documents obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, next week Bush will request a $439.3 billion Defense Department budget for 2007, a nearly 5 percent increase over this year. That request does not include the $50 billion request for Iraq and Afghanistan.