Make Them Hear You! is a weekly feature on KGNU, produced by Chris Mohr, letting listeners know how they can have their voices heard on issues up before Congress. You can hear it Wednesday mornings at 8.20am during the Morning Magazine.
51 Republican Senators just voted to cut Medicaid by $1 trillion and Medicare by $500 billion so that millionaires and corporations can get a tax cut. It’s immoral and despicable,” said TJ Helmstetter, a spokesperson for Americans for Tax Fairness, in a statement immediately following the vote.
The budget resolution itself is nonbinding. It has no force of law. With the Senate resolution now in place, a reconciliation process can begin with Republicans in the House, meaning the GOP can shoot for a tax bill without a single Democratic vote.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) called the vote a “dark deed” and urged people nationwide to stand up and fight back against what the budget represents.
For the budget resolution to have legs, it must be a concurrent resolution, agreed upon by both the House and the Senate. We haven’t had that since 2009. The versions in the two chambers are profoundly different in every important respect. Not only that, but both resolutions conflict in many ways with President Trump’s proposed budget. So both houses of Congress and the President will have to agree on a budget, and then the concurrent resolution must include reconciliation instructions, so there is a way forward that precludes filibusters in the Senate.
The measure is estimated to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years, and contains about $5.1 trillion in spending cuts, including the massive cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. “This nasty and backwards budget green lights cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in order to give a tax break to big corporations and the wealthiest Americans,” Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said. “It shifts the burden from the wealthy and puts it squarely on the back of the middle class, and blows a hole in the deficit to boot.” But the chairman of the Budget Committee, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., has rebutted such claims. “Let me be clear: The budget we have put forward does not cut Medicare. Medicare spending increases every year.”
The budget could also pave the way for opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil exploration. If you have an opinion on the Senate Budget Resolution and future resolutions in the House, you can contact your Senators and congresspeople.