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Smith Opening Statement on Democrats’ Medicare Cuts + Protect Seniors and Cut Waste Act – House Budget Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Budget Committee Republican Leader Jason Smith (MO-08) delivered remarks this morning during debate on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives regarding how to address the cuts to Medicare that were triggered by enactment of the Democrats $1.9 trillion bailout bill. Under the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) Act of 2010, legislation enacted into law that increases mandatory spending can trigger automatic cuts to Medicare and other programs to offset the new spending. The Democrats’ bailout bill triggers cuts to Medicare year-over-year for the next decade – including a cut of $36 billion beginning in 2022.

House Democrats brought a bill to the Floor today that pretends $1.9 trillion in deficit spending is not happening. During opening remarks, House Budget Committee Republican Leader Smith put forward a better approach than that offered by House Democrats:

“I would ask my colleagues to move forward with a better approach – one that stops their Medicare cuts and does so in a more responsible way.

“Let’s work together to protect seniors and cut waste from their bill, such as:

  • Stopping billions in benefits and payments to prisoners and illegal immigrants.
  • Stopping funds they recklessly jammed into their bailout for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities.
  • Stopping special handouts for federal employees.
  • Rescinding billions in bailouts that go to state governments who do not need it and that reward continued lockdowns.

“Put people before politics.

“Put seniors ahead of the Democrats’ special interests and political class.”

House Budget Committee Republican Leader Smith along with several of his Republican colleagues has introduced H.R. 1999, the Protect Seniors and Cut Waste Act – legislation that prevents cuts to Medicare in 2022, removes the waste in the Democrats’ bailout bill described by Smith, and provides additional targeted funding for health care providers on the frontlines battling COVID-19.

Read the Protect Seniors and Cut Waste Act here.

House Budget Committee Republican Leader Smith’s full opening statement – as prepared for delivery:

Mr. Speaker, this week the President has been traveling the country telling Americans how appreciative they should be that Washington Democrats are spending $1.9 trillion in borrowed dollars – money they are using to bail out states run by the President’s political allies and to reward devastating lockdowns that have destroyed small businesses and kept kids out of schools; billions on policies that will reduce private-sector employment in this country; billions on foreign aid; and out of all the money they plan to spend, less than 9% on actually crushing COVID-19 and putting shots in arms.

This massive, debt-inducing spending package also threatens billions in cuts to seniors on Medicare – including $36 billion starting next year.

My guess is the President is probably not going to be bragging to seniors he meets on the road that he signed into law a bill that threatens cuts to their health care.

Just as I am sure he won’t bother to mention that the economic recovery he wants to take credit for is already underway, that the economy is already projected to reach the level of real GDP growth we saw prior to the pandemic by the middle of this year, that we are on track this year to already have the largest economic growth in more than 15 years – all without one dime from the Washington Democrats’ $1.9 trillion bailout bill.

In other words, just as President Biden has desperately tried to take credit for the incredible, truly historic work President Trump did to ensure we have vaccines going into arms to save lives, he’s trying to take credit for an economic recovery put in place by the policies signed into law by President Trump.

In fact, it was under President Trump’s leadership that Operation Warp Speed delivered multiple COVID-19 vaccines in record time with planning to get those shots into the arms of the American people. Meanwhile, the Biden Administration has spent an inordinate amount of time running afoul of fact checkers with their shameless rhetoric meant to dismiss the incredible work done by the previous Administration.

Nevertheless, we are here today because Democrats want to “fix” one of the many problems caused by President Biden’s $1.9 trillion bailout bill – those cuts to Medicare. And they want to do so by just erasing $1.9 trillion in spending from the nation’s books – pretending $1.9 trillion in spending is not going to happen.

That of course serves two purposes for our Democrat colleagues. First, it avoids the immediate cuts, which they caused, from happening. And second, it gives them a clean slate on which they are reportedly already planning to add trillions more in spending in the months to come.

Given all of this, I would ask my colleagues to move forward with a better approach – one that stops their Medicare cuts and does so in a more responsible way.

Let’s work together to protect seniors and cut waste from their bill, such as:

  • Stopping billions in benefits and payments to prisoners and illegal immigrants.
  • Stopping funds they recklessly jammed into their bailout for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities.
  • Stopping special handouts for federal employees.
  • Rescinding billions in bailouts that go to state governments who do not need it and that reward continued lockdowns.

Put people before politics.

Put seniors ahead of the Democrats’ special interests and political class.

This is the responsible way to address the Medicare cuts caused by our Democrat colleagues.

It is a far better approach than to simply pretend $1.9 trillion in spending is not happening.

It is a far more honest approach given the fact that the President is traveling the country bragging about that same $1.9 trillion in spending.

$1.9 trillion – such a big number is hard to put into proper perspective. But this year, when the American people pay their federal income taxes, every single penny of their hard-earned money the IRS collects will total less than the cost of the $1.9 trillion bailout bill.

Let’s do the responsible thing, protect seniors by rolling back some of the wasteful and wrong policies embedded in the Democrats’ bailout bill.

Thank you.

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