One thing that strikes me every week when I go down to Washington is the disconnect I see between a lot of the politicians there and the people who live in districts like mine.
A vivid example of that disconnect is the budget proposal for the next fiscal year that the House Republican Majority just voted for – and I voted against – on April 15.
Amazingly, this budget would end Medicare and make it harder for young Americans to go to college while giving huge tax breaks to big corporations, among other devastating effects. Fueled by extreme ideology, it would put millions of middle-class Americans – especially our seniors and young people – under hardship we’ve never seen before.
All while killing jobs and stopping our fragile economic recovery dead in its tracks. Maybe even reversing it.
It’s like declaring war on the great American middle class.
Specifically, this latest Republican budget proposal would end Medicare for our seniors by turning the current system over to private insurance companies. It would also slash health support for seniors in nursing homes.
It would raise college costs for nearly 10 million students, including over 15,000 New Yorkers who receive Pell Grants.
And it gives tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks to big oil corporations and to corporations that ship jobs overseas.
In addition to being a congresswoman, I’m also a nurse, a mother and a senior. I know a thing or two about health care and education, for our seniors and for our young people.
I know that if you end a program like Medicare and make college unaffordable for 10 million students, as the House Republicans want to do, you’re only doing damage to our economy.
It’s a pennywise and poundfoolish approach.
Take away preventative health care for seniors, and you’ll have many of them in emergency rooms, where care costs a lot more money. And guess who foots the bill? Those of us who pay taxes.
Make college more expensive by slashing Pell Grants, and you’re no longer investing in future jobs for Americans. You’re simply hurting our economy and making it easier for those jobs to go to other countries.
I’m putting forward measures in Washington that will help our seniors, our students and our economy.
That includes sponsoring bills to make Social Security payments reflect the rising costs that seniors face, to double the small business lending cap for credit unions and to encourage parent engagement in our schools.
I’m also doing my part back in my district. For example, in the last two months I’ve held two forums for small businesses on Long Island.
My first forum highlighted the tax cuts we passed in last Congress specifically for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and how they may be eligible.
My second forum for small businesses this year identified ways that Long Island’s entrepreneurs can use the U.S. Export-Import Bank to generate revenue and create local jobs.
But it will take more than any one member of Congress’s efforts to keep our country moving forward. We all need to find common ground.
We need to get our fiscal house in order in ways that don't kill jobs and don’t hurt millions of Americans in the process.
That means taking care of our seniors, our students and our small businesses.
These are investments we must make if we are to be a strong nation in the future.