CAPAC Chairwoman Rep. Judy Chu Takes Stand Against Unfair and Harmful House Budget

Apr 6, 2011

(Washington, DC) – Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) today took a strong stance opposing the GOP’s unfair and harmful Fiscal Year 2012 budget proposal, specifically in regards to cuts in public health coverage and the impact they will have on the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

“This budget makes a mockery of public health programs that are critical to America’s fast-growing Asian population,” said Chu. “If the Republican leadership was really interested in meeting the needs of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, they would not be denying millions access to Medicaid, and putting insurance companies back in charge of health care.”

The Republican budget will convert Medicaid into a block grant program. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has said that this kind of conversion of Medicaid will result in either reduced benefits or removing people from the program.

Native Hawaiians and Samoans, Vietnamese, Hmong and Bangladeshi populations heavily depend on public health coverage like Medicaid. Coupled with Republican efforts to repeal healthcare reform, this budget will result in even higher rates of uninsured or underinsured AAPI populations.

The text of Congresswoman Chu’s Floor Speech is below:

“Yesterday Congressman Paul Ryan introduced the Republican Party’s Fiscal Year 2012 “Road to Ruin” budget.

“We have been back to work in the House for 14 weeks. And for 14 straight weeks the Republican majority has done nothing to create jobs. They haven’t even put a single jobs bill on the House Floor. In fact, their proposed spending bill for 2011 actually costs America 700,000 jobs.

“Now, Congressman Ryan and the Republican leadership want to extend their job killing policies and permanently eliminate the middle class.

“The Republican’s “Road to Ruin” is nothing short of an attack on working families, seniors, students and children.

“It attacks America’s workers by not doing anything to create jobs and by gutting job training.

“It attacks America’s seniors by ending Medicare as we know it through bait-and-switch privatization schemes.

“It attacks America’s students by cutting education and depriving tomorrow’s workers of the skills they need to compete.

“It attacks America’s children by denying them affordable access to a doctor through slashes in Medicaid. 

“Now, no matter what side of the aisle we are on, we can all agree that deficit reduction is important.

“The question is how do we do it? And what we can’t do is balance the budget on the backs of America’s middle class, our seniors, our students and our children.

“But I do know some things we can’t afford.

“At a time when middle-class families are struggling, we can’t afford to keep spending billions in subsidies for Big Oil and giveaways for special interest.

“At a time when our senior population is growing, we can’t afford risky privatization tricks that drive up costs and put health insurance companies back in control of health care.

“At a time when our economy needs an infusion of the best and brightest workers, we can’t afford to cut public education while protecting tax breaks for companies who ship jobs overseas.

“At a time when some parents are working two jobs so their children can see the doctor, we can’t afford to dismantle Medicaid and then spend billions of dollars in tax breaks on people already making upwards of half-a-million dollars.

“A budget isn’t just about dollars and cents – it’s about priorities and values.

“And as Representatives of the American people our priorities and values should reflect their priorities and values – jobs, a secure retirement, the promise of educational opportunity and the certainty that if your child is sick, then you will be able to afford to see the pediatrician.

“If you vote for this bill, then who among us could go home and look senior citizens in the eye – knowing we ended Medicare as we know it?

“Who could look an unemployed worker in the eye – knowing we didn’t do anything to create jobs?

“Who could look a student in the eye – knowing we took away their opportunity to succeed with a quality education?

“Who could look a child in the eye – knowing that if they get sick, then we are the reason they can’t afford to see a doctor? 

“I want to reduce our deficit – I know it’s vital to our fiscal future.

“But I also want to be able to look my constituents in the eye and tell them that I stood up for their priorities – and not those of Big Oil, international corporations and special interests.

“And the truth is, we can do both: we can get our deficit under control – and we can do it without cuts that hurt hard working families.”