One day after his controversial budget passed through the U.S. House, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI,1) visited Chicago Friday to raise funds for former congressman Bob Dold, the Republican candidate in Illinois' 10th congressional district race.
U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL,10), who unseated the one-term Republican congressman back in 2012, will go up against Dold again in November's General Election.
While in Congress, Dold voted twice for the Ryan budget.
“Bob Dold voted not once but twice for the Ryan budget that cuts education funding, guts environmental protections and turns Medicare into a voucher system,” said Jamie Patton, Schneider for Congress' campaign manager. “Now Dold’s cashing in on his Ryan budget support with a high-priced fundraised hosted by Paul Ryan.”
The House on Thursday approved its fiscal 2015 budget drafted by Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, by a 219-205 vote. No Democrats voted for the plan, which outlines cuts to a number of programs including Medicaid; the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps; Pell grants for low-income college students; and pensions for federal workers, to name just a few. It also looks to scale back health insurance coverage and subsidies available as part of the Affordable Care Act.
Twelve GOP lawmakers voted against the Ryan budget, which is more than last year when 10 Republican House members opposed the measure. The Republican budget will have no legs in the Democrat-led Senate.
Beth Moten, legislative and political director for the American Federation of Government Employees, urged all House members to vote 'no' on the budget in a letter earlier this week, writing that federal employees "have sacrificed more than any other middle-class Americans for deficit reductions. It is time to ask others to make similar sacrifices."
Here is more from Moten's letter:
Federal employees and their families have made extraordinarily harsh financial sacrifices in the past several years during various budget crises. They have suffered a three-year pay freeze, and a 2014 pay raise of only 1%,employees hired since 2012 have seen massive contribution increases to retirement, and 750,000 workers lost up to eight days last summer because of sequestration. Federal workers' total sacrifice to date is $138 billion over ten years.
Yet this sacrifice by federal employees is not enough for Chairman Ryan. His budget resolution would have the following impact on federal workers:
• All federal workers would be required to pay an additional 5.5% of salary toward retirement with no increase in benefits. This is the same as a permanent 5.5% pay cut.
• Federal agencies could only replace one employee for every three employees who leave.
• Student-loan reimbursements would be eliminated, which would hurt federal employees with student loan debt, but also harm agencies' missions by eliminating a critical recruitment tool.
• Federal agencies would continue to be underfunded and understaffed as the Ryan budget slashes non-defense spending by $791 billion below the sequestration level. Funding for important public services such as education, research, border security, food and drug safety, law enforcement, and environmental protection would face severe cuts.
• More airport screening jobs would be privatized. The Ryan budget cutsfunding for the Transportation Security Administration and presses the agency to privatize more screening functions, returning airport security to when private screeners failed to stop the 9/11 terrorists from boarding the planes.
• Benefits for federal workers who are injured on the job will be greatly reduced
Passage of the GOP budget in the House has led to a public outcry by some Democratic Illinois representatives.
Schneider said he voted against the Republican budget because "it flies in the face of our values and places the burden of balancing the federal budget on those who can afford it the least."
"The Ryan budget slashes education funding, ends the Medicare guarantee and guts environmental protections. This budget hurts our middle class families, our students and our seniors,” he added.
U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL,8) said she was deeply disappointed that Congress "could not build on the budget compromise of last year and move our nation forward.”
“At a time when budgetary constraint is needed, the Ryan budget would raise the deficit with tax cuts that will favor large corporations and the wealthy," the congresswoman said. "The Republican budget proposal takes 170,000 children out of Head Start and cuts the jobs of nearly 30,000 educators. It eliminates $137 billion over ten years for critical food assistance to those who are most in need. This budget fails to make the necessary investments in our economy that will create jobs and reduce our deficit. We need to enact a budget that makes smart, targeted spending cuts and ends spending on tax breaks for millionaires and special interests. It is time for members on both sides of the aisle to work together to preserve the guaranteed benefit of Medicare, reduce the deficit and grow our economy.”
U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11) cautioned that the Ryan budget "would be devastating for the middle class.”
“It would end Medicare as we know it, while protecting tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations who ship jobs overseas," Foster stressed. "It would cripple job creation and undermine our global competitiveness. It would gut funding for education, research and innovation – the foundations that support our economy in Illinois. It would devastate our ability to build roads and airports necessary for our local commerce. And it would undermine the American Dream, putting it out of reach for middle class families in Illinois. A strong middle class is essential to our country’s economic success. We need a budget that strengthens the middle class and grows the economy from the middle out, not the top down.”