Florida Delegation, Except David Jolly, Divides on Party Lines on Paul Ryan's Budget
Around the State
On Thursday, the U.S. House passed the budget proposal from U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on a near party-line vote. The measure passed 219-205 with newly elected U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., joining 11 other Republicans to break with the GOP and voting against it.
Ryan, who was former Gov. Mitt Romney’s, R-Mass., running mate on the 2012 Republican presidential ticket and a possible contender for his party’s presidential nomination in 2016, introduced the budget proposal last week. The proposal, which Ryan dubbed the “Path to Prosperity,” would cut $5.1 trillion from federal spending, mostly from domestic programs, over the next 10 years and would repeal President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law. Ryan’s proposal would allow more free-market options in Medicare. Pointing to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) studies showing a balanced budget would lead to economic growth, Ryan insisted his plan would balance the budget over a 10-year period and will help reduce the national debt. The budget is not expected to pass the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate.
Florida’s congressmen weighed in afterward with Republicans praising the proposal and Democrats continuing to oppose it. Jolly told the media that he voted against Ryan’s proposal due to the changes it would make to Medicare, insisting he kept his word to voters in last month’s special congressional election. The new congressman also said he told U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in advance that he would not vote for Ryan’s budget.
The other Republicans in the Florida delegation voted to back the proposal.
“Americans know best how to spend their own money, not Washington,” said U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla. “When they can keep more in their own wallets and bank accounts, they can make the decisions that best suit their needs. That’s why I pushed Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to include a recommendation in the budget bill for Congress to take up FairTax legislation.
“Americans spend $265 billion and use 6.1 billion hours every year filing tax forms – money that could be better spent investing in a new business, buying a home, or saving for college,” Crenshaw added. “With passage of the Republican budget, we are closer to House consideration of a FairTax and replacement of 70,000 pages of outdated code with one, transparent national sales tax on goods and services, administered primarily by the states.
“This Republican plan balances the budget and lays out a long-term vision to create jobs and grow the economy and provides economic peace of mind for millions of Americans,” Crenshaw concluded. “While tremendous challenges are ahead and much more work to be done, I am proud to support the Path to Prosperity as a step toward a stronger nation.”
“Every day we have a choice to make,” said U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla. “Will Congress continue to recklessly spend the taxpayers’ money, or will we choose to create and follow a plan that chips away at our $17 trillion debt so that we don’t pass it on to our children? Today, we responsibly chose to create a plan. I’m pleased to support this one that reforms government, cuts $5.1 trillion in spending, and balances the budget in 10 years.”
Democrats went on the attack, insisting Ryan’s proposal would do nothing besides help higher earning Americans.
U.S. House Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., who serves on the House Budget Committee, took to the House floor to denounce Ryan’s proposal, insisting it was “crafted by the special interests,” hurts seniors and students and does not create jobs.
“The people I know and meet work very hard every day and want an opportunity for a good job, good schools, safe communities and the promise that when they retire they can live their years in dignity,” Castor said. “They want a government that is fair and makes progress toward the American dream. But this Republican budget is not for the hard-working people of America. This Republican budget is crafted by the special interests for the special interests. Republicans stack the deck against working families and small businesses.
“Republicans ignore one of the most important ways to cut the debt and deficit, and that is to have more Americans working,” Castor added. “If you’re a student who wants to attend college, then Republicans make that harder by cutting Pell grants and student loans. If you have a job in construction, at an American port or in transportation, this Republican budget could cost you your job and new opportunities.”
Other Democrats from the Sunshine State also took aim at Ryan’s budget.
"The American people have consistently rejected Republican Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan to give the wealthiest Americans another tax cut and pay for it by dismantling the Medicare guarantee, hiking taxes on middle class families, and slashing critical investments in our nation’s future,” said U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla. “Unfortunately, that has not stopped my Republican colleagues from once again embracing these dangerously misplaced priorities.
"The Ryan budget is an assault on seniors, students, and families struggling to pull themselves out of poverty,” Deutch added. “First, it makes radical cuts to vital assistance for low-income families, like anti-hunger programs for poor women with infant children, affordable child care provided through Headstart, and Pell Grants that help low-income students earn their degrees. Then, the GOP budget slashes the kinds of investments in research, infrastructure, and education that would create economic opportunity for these Americans. All told, at least three-quarters of the GOP budget’s $4.3 trillion in nondefense cuts target programs that hurt those who can least afford it, all the while giving tax cuts to billionaires who don’t need them.
"Our deficit has dropped to its lowest level in half a decade and yet millions of Americans are struggling with long-term unemployment, historically-low wages, and poverty,” Deutch concluded. “What Chairman Ryan and his colleagues fail to realize is that we will never get our fiscal house in order without closing our jobs deficit, growing the paychecks of middle class families, and advancing economic opportunity."
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.