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Has Bill Cassidy Read Any of the Budgets He’s Voted For?

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Cassidy Has Voted to Increase Social Security Retirement Age to 70, End Traditional Medicare, Raise Flood Insurance Rates, Raise Taxes on Middle Class to Pay for Tax Breaks for Millionaires

BATON ROUGE — Congressman Bill Cassidy has voted for radical budgets that hurt middle-class families and seniors, but his noncommittal responses about the spending plans raise the question of whether Cassidy has actually read any of the budgets he has voted for.

“Congressman Cassidy has voted over and over again for budgets that increase the Social Security retirement age to 70, end guaranteed Medicare, slash the flood insurance program and raise taxes on the middle class to pay for tax breaks for millionaires,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk. “When asked about the Ryan budget’s impact on flood insurance, Cassidy said he’d look into it. That was two months after he voted for the Ryan budget. That certainly begs the question whether Cassidy even bothered to read the budget he was voting on and understand its impact on critical issues for Louisiana families, issues like flood insurance.”

The 2013 Ryan budget argued that the provisions in Biggert-Waters did not go far enough in cutting National Flood Insurance Program subsidies, which help to keep flood insurance affordable for hundreds of thousands of Louisiana families.

Other highlights of Cassidy-backed budgets include:

  • Ending traditional Medicare and offering vouchers;
  • Forcing seniors to pay more to stay in Medicare;
  • Raising the retirement age for Social Security to 70;
  • Raising the retirement age for Medicare to 70;
  • Raising taxes on the middle class by an average of $2,000, to pay for tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires;
  • Slashing funding for Pell Grants for thousands of Louisiana students;
  • Slashing job search assistance and training programs for Louisiana workers.

“Perhaps Cassidy should go back and read some of the budgets he’s endorsed, so he can answer a question when it’s asked,” said Handwerk. “He’s had plenty of time by now to look into the budgets’ harmful effects on middle-class families and seniors here in Louisiana.”


May 2013: When Confronted About The 2013 Ryan Budget’s Proposal To Further Cut Flood Insurance, Cassidy Said He Would Have To Look Into It. “At the same time, though, that involves the Ryan plan making even-deeper cuts to the NFIP. The House report on the Ryan budget praises the Biggert-Waters Act for removing some flood insurance subsidies, but the budget plan argues the NFIP legislation did not go far enough. ‘However, these reforms are not enough to protect taxpayers from NFIP’s financial exposure,’ the House report states.  …All of Louisiana’s Republican House members voted for the Ryan plan, including Landrieu’s 2014 re-election opponent, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge. Cassidy said he would have to look into the effects of the House budget on the NFIP, but he blamed overall federal spending and FEMA’s mapping issues for causing the problems.” [The Advocate, 5/26/13]

Bill Cassidy Voted For The Ryan Budget For FY 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012. [H. Con. Res. 96, Vote #177, 4/10/14; H. Con. Res. 25, Vote #88, 3/21/13; H. Con. Res. 112, Vote #151, 3/29/12; H. Con. Res. 34, Vote #277, 4/15/11]

Bill Cassidy Voted For The Republican Study Committee Budget For FY 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012. [H. Con. Res. 96, Vote #175, 4/10/14; H.Con.Res.25, Vote #86, 3/20/13; H.Con.Res.112, Vote #149, 3/29/12; H.Con.Res.34, Vote #275, 4/15/11]

The Ryan Plan “Would End Traditional Medicare By Capping Spending And Offer Vouchers To Buy Private Insurance.” “The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that Obama pushed for doesn’t cut Medicare; it simply reduces projected future increases in costs by $700 billion over 10 years. […] Those same reductions in the future growth of Medicare are contained in the budget bills sponsored by Ryan and approved by the same House Republicans who now say they’ll campaign against the provision. Romney has endorsed the Ryan plan. The difference is the savings in the Republican bill don’t go to help seniors with their prescription drug costs. In fact, Ryan’s legislation increases the amount senior citizens will have to pay for drugs since it repeals the health-care legislation that provides the extra subsidy. Ryan’s budget bill also would end traditional Medicare by capping spending and offer vouchers to buy private insurance.” [Bloomberg, 8/13/12]

  • The Ryan Plan “Would Essentially End Medicare.” “Republicans will present this week a 2012 budget proposal that would cut more than $4 trillion from federal spending projected over the next decade and transform the Medicare health program for the elderly, a move that will dramatically reshape the budget debate in Washington. The budget has been prepared by Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and the new chairman of the House Budget Committee, and it represents the most complete attempt so far by Republicans to make good on their promises during the 2010 midterm elections to cut government spending and deficits. Though Rep. Ryan based the Medicare portion of his budget on a previous plan created in collaboration with a Democrat, Alice Rivlin, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and long-time budget expert, the current plan isn’t likely to get much Democratic support. Instead, it will set up a broad debate over spending and the role of government heading into the 2012 general election. The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/4/11]

The FY 2015 Ryan Budget Will Force Seniors To Pay More To Remain In Medicare. Under the Ryan budget proposal, more than 45 million seniors could be forced to choose between traditional Medicare and a voucher program starting in 2024.  According to a previous Congressional Budget Office report, the proposal would force seniors who want to remain in traditional Medicare to pay $800 more per year than they would have under current law, raising premiums by 50 percent.  Furthermore, seniors electing to stay in traditional Medicare and avoid buying private insurance will pay $1,200 more than seniors in private plans.  Private plans would be permitted to tailor benefit packages to attract healthier beneficiaries and leave the sicker, more expensive patients for Medicare. Over time, Medicare would become less financially viable and would have to raise premiums, driving away more healthy beneficiaries and setting off a premium spiral that could unravel the program. [House Republican Budget Chairman’s Mark, 4/1/14; CBO,  9/13/14; Census, 2010; CAP, 4/1/14; DPCC, 3/13/13; CBPP, 3/15/13]

The FY 2015 RSC Budget Raised The Retirement Age For Social Security To 70. “This budget would slowly phase in an increase in the Social Security full-retirement age. The full retirement age would continue the current-law’s gradual increase of two months per year beginning in 2022 until the full retirement age reaches 70.” [The FY 2015 RSC Budget, accessed 4/9/14]

The FY 2014 RSC Budget Increased The Medicare Retirement Age To 70. “To address the increased demands on Medicare, this budget proposes raising the age of Medicare eligibility, beginning in 2024, by two months every year beginning with those born in 1959 until the eligibility age reaches 70, bringing Medicare eligibility in parity with Social Security.” [Republican Study Committee FY 2014 Budget, accessed 5/10/13]

The FY 2015 Ryan Budget Raises Taxes On The Middle Class By $2,000, Giving Millionaires A Tax Cut Of Over $87,000 Each.  The Ryan budget proposes to lower tax rates for high-income earners from 39.6% to 25%, which would require the middle class to pay more in taxes in order for the budget to balance as proposed.  A Tax Policy Center analysis of a similar proposal found that the tax reductions for high-income earners would cost $5.7 trillion, making it mathematically impossible “to enact Rep. Ryan’s tax policies in a deficit-neutral tax reform without including big tax increases for low- and middle-income taxpayers.” Taxpayers with income exceeding $1 million would receive an average net tax decrease of over $87,000, according to a White House analysis. In order to pay for these tax breaks, the Ryan budget would  raise taxes on middle-class families with children by an average of at least $2,000. [House Republican Budget Chairman’s Mark, 4/1/14; New York Times Editorial, 4/01/14; TPC, 3/15/13; TPC, 8/1/12; CTJ, 4/2/14; WH, 4/1/14; WH, 4/8/14]

The FY 2015 Ryan Budget Supported By Bill Cassidy Would Hit Louisiana With A $1.1 Billion Middle-Class Tax Hike, While Cutting Taxes For Millionaires By $579.8 Million. Instead of asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share, the Republican budget would drastically lower their top tax rate from 39.6% to 25%. Even if the Republican plan asked millionaires to give up all of their tax breaks, except for those Chairman Ryan has consistently made clear he would preserve, they would still receive an average net tax cut of $200,000 while middle-class families would see a tax hike. [DPCC Calculations Based on TPC, 8/1/12; CTJ, 4/2/14; IRS]

The FY 2015 Ryan Budget Would Cut Pell Grants Funding For Louisiana Students By $43.2 Million.  [White House, 4/9/14]

The FY 2015 RSC Budget Would Cut Pell Grants Funding For Louisiana Students By $79.2 Million. [DSCC, DPCC, and Third Way analysis, April 2014]

The FY 2015 Ryan Budget Would Cut Pell Grants Entirely For 9,030 Louisiana Students. [White House, 4/9/14]

The FY 2015 RSC Budget Would Cut Pell Grants Entirely For 16,555 Louisiana Students. [DSCC, DPCC, and Third Way analysis, April 2014]

The FY 2015 Ryan Budget Would Lead To 31,900 Fewer Louisianians Receiving Job Search Assistance And 13,500 Fewer Louisianians Receiving Training And Employment Services. [White House, 4/9/14]