Democratic Lawmakers Accuse House Majority of Putting ‘No Major Job Agenda’ Forward
(CNSNews.com) – Marking the one-year anniversary of Republican control of the House of Representatives, Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) charged during a Democratic press conference Thursday that “no major job agenda” had been advanced over the past year.
“As you know, one year ago the Republican majority was sworn into office,” Pelosi said. “Since that time we have seen no major job agenda put forward. We have seen a budget that wants to break the Medicare guarantee. This is just in opposition to everything this country needs.”
House GOP leaders, however, maintain that the House has passed 27 job-growing bills since the Republicans assumed control following the 2010 midterm elections – and that they are currently awaiting action in the Senate.
Among them is House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan’s sweeping budget for 2012, which included Medicare reform.
Democrats at Thursday’s Capitol Hill event denounced Ryan’s plan as an “assault on seniors” that would break the Medicare “guarantee.”
“Today marks one year since the Tea Party Republicans have taken control of the House of Representatives,” said Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.). “They came into power and laid out for the American people their vision of how we should move forward. The centerpiece of that vision was the Ryan budget,” he said.
“We saw in their plan an attempt – that budget – an attempt to make college education less attainable for low and middle-income Americans,” he continued. “We saw in that budget an assault on seniors, to make their nursing home care much more expensive and in many instances impossible to attain.”
“All of last year this institution was, quite frankly, dysfunctional,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.). “For partisan political reasons, the House Republican majority refused to consider any legislation that would create jobs and get America moving again.”
Pelosi said the Ryan budget “broke the guarantee for Medicare,” “did not create jobs,” and “did not reduce the deficit.”
Ryan’s proposed budget would in fact reduce the deficit by $4.4 trillion over 10 years.
The Democratic lawmakers said they were holding meetings to address the payroll tax cut extension and the nation’s poor economy, while condemning the Republicans absence.
“Where are they?” asked Pelosi. “ I don’t know. Where should they be? Right here in this Capitol, getting to work on this conference committee, addressing the concerns of the American people to create jobs to strengthen the middle class.”
“There is a great opportunity here,” said Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.). “All we have to do is seize on the president’s plan and put this country back to work.” He was referring to the American Jobs Act, which calls for an additional $447 billion in infrastructure spending and aid to the states.
Much of the 2010 legislative calendar was devoted to budget standoffs between the Republican-led House and Democrat-controlled Senate and White House and attempts to avert government shutdowns. The House passed 27 bills that include tax relief, regulatory reform, and jobs and energy production, but all are awaiting Senate action.
Last month, Ryan and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) put forward a bipartisan proposal to reform Medicare, creating a voucher program to allow private companies to compete with Medicare plans, beginning in 2022.
“Seniors are a reliable and powerful voting bloc, and both Republicans and Democrats are guilty of exploiting Medicare concerns to frighten and entice voters,” they wrote in an outline of their proposal. “Regrettably, this discussion has taken our collective eyes off the importance of protecting, strengthening, and preserving the Medicare guarantee.”