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CQ: House Democrats Plot Barrage of 28 Budget Amendments

Jul 19, 2017

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by Paul M. Krawzak, CQ/Roll Call

Democrats on the House Budget Committee on Wednesday plan to offer 28 amendments to a fiscal 2018 budget resolution to preserve what they call federal investments, among other items, Kentucky Democrat John Yarmuth told reporters.
“We plan to wage a vigorous opposition tomorrow in the markup,” said Yarmuth, ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, on Tuesday.
Yarmuth said many of the amendments would “deal with protecting investments we care about,” including Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, education funding, infrastructure, environmental protection and fighting climate change.
Yarmuth criticized the GOP written tax and spending framework for making unrealistic assumptions and using gimmicks to achieve a balanced budget in 10 years.
“The most obvious one at this point is that they utilized a lot of both savings and revenue from the repeal of the ACA, which is not going to happen,” he said, referring to the health care law.
The GOP budget assumes $204 billion in savings between 2018 and 2027 based on a Congressional Budget Office score of a House-passed bill (HR 1628) that would partly repeal and replace the 2010 health care law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152).
He also charged that the real purpose of the budget blueprint is to provide reconciliation instructions for a tax overhaul. “The problem with the whole exercise is that it was designed to pave the way for a huge tax cut for the wealthiest Americans,” he said.
But he also expressed doubt that Republicans can deliver on a comprehensive overhaul of the tax code. “I’ve never thought that they were going to be able to do comprehensive tax reform and I still don’t believe they can do it,” he said.
Yarmuth has been working on an alternative Democratic budget resolution, something that former ranking Democrat and now Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen offered every year.
“We try to do a budget that’s realistic, and we have a lot of very important things that we have to support through federal spending,” Yarmuth said. “And we’re not willing at this point to pull back on those.”
“You can’t cut back on education, we can’t cut back on research, we can’t cut back on infrastructure.”