With Congress agreeing to a budget compromise minutes before midnight Saturday, the federal government was spared a shutdown over the weekend. Going forward, the debate continues on the long-term budget that many lawmakers says will have to include significant cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.
Appearing Monday morning on MSNBC, South Carolina’s 6th District Congressman James Clyburn says Democrats put a significant adjustment to Medicare in the health care reform bill and Republicans used that against them in the last election. Now they are changing their tune, he says.
We put a 14-year fix in (the health care reform bill) on Medicare, and we can do better than that. The fact of the matter is that is what they (Republicans) campaigned against us on last November. Our Republican friends were out there telling all the seniors that because we made this correction to Medicare, we were in fact cutting their support. Now they are saying they’re against the cuts, against the fix; we would just like to eliminate the whole thing.
Clyburn says he agrees with GOP House Speaker John Boehner, who says that members of both parties ought to get together for an adult conversation and make decisions on long-term spending that is in the best interest of the American people. Clyburn says he is looking forward to the President’s Wednesday address to the nation on spending.
We can look at (Wisconsin Rep. Paul) Ryan’s proposals. We will get a chance on Wednesday to see what the President is outlining for us. I think he is going to give us a good, comprehensive approach to having an adult conversation about what we can do going forward to bring our debt down–if not eliminate it–to get rid of these deficits, and to create jobs.
He says 1.8 million jobs created over the past 13 months is a good start, but lawmakers must work together in order to carry on policies that will double and even triple that level of job growth.
Clyburn says it is not feasible or necessary to put the burden of cutting the deficit on the backs of young people in their developing years who need a helping hand– or persons who are entitled to proper care in their golden years.
We should not eliminate Medicare guarantees for seniors. We should not be eliminating Head Start for preschool kids. We should not be putting the burden on students trying to go to college. We should be trying to get rid of all these subsidies for oil companies when they really don’t need them. We ought to be getting rid of these loopholes that allow companies to take jobs overseas.
GOP leaders warn they will not vote to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling unless they see genuine efforts to reduce the deficit. Clyburn says as budget talks continue, he would like to see the debt ceiling put on the table with spending proposals from both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate.
The full faith and credit of the United States cannot be put in peril. I think Speaker Boehner said it very well when he said we have to adults about this, and I think the adult thing to do is for us to strop all this debate over social issues and talk about the fiscal responsibility that ought to be laid out for the American people and how we can get our fiscal house in order.
US Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner warns that a default on the debt would drive up interest rates, erode home values, and cause a new financial crisis.