CAPAC Members Speak Out Against the Ryan Budget

Mar 29, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House passed Republican Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal.  The budget would repeal the Affordable Care Act, cutting off health insurance for millions of Americans, end the Medicare and Medicaid guarantees by turning them into voucher and block-grant programs, and gut millions of dollars from funding American jobs and education.  These cuts would dramatically impact the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, and members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements in response:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), CAPAC Chair: “Paul Ryan’s budget failed one year ago because the American people saw through the GOP’s scheme of extending tax cuts for the wealthiest among us while gutting basic services.  This may be a great way for Republicans to shore up their base, but it would be disastrous for the American people.  The new Ryan Budget is just more of the same old tricks.  Repealing the Affordable Care Act, eliminating the Medicare and Medicaid guarantees and boosting tax breaks to companies shipping jobs overseas is not responsible governance. As Chair of CAPAC, I am particularly concerned about the impact the Ryan cuts would have on the AAPI community, which is comprised of a disproportionately large portion of Medicaid recipients.”

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (CA-08), Democratic Leader:  “The Republican budget fails to uphold our national values – ending the Medicare guarantee, giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, and destroying millions of jobs.  The Republican proposal violates our commitments to the AAPI community, which I proudly represent – risking the educations of the 22 percent of AAPI students on Pell Grants and repealing the Affordable Care Act, including its steps to end health disparities.  Democrats will stand strong against this plan and support a budget that creates jobs, protects seniors, and strengthens our middle class.”

Congressman Mike Honda (CA-15), CAPAC Chair Emeritus: “This decisive moment in our nation’s history is a choice between two futures.  The Ryan Budget ignores the fundamental and growing needs of AAPIs by recklessly slashing critical programs that millions of AAPIs rely on, wrecking our community’s hopes of achieving the American Dream. As the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ Budget Taskforce Chair, I authored and support the ‘Budget for All’ since it provides critical job-creating investments, protects low-income AAPI families through tax credits and anti-poverty programs, and addresses disparities in health, education, and homeownership to help grow the future of the AAPI community for generations to come.”

Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo (GU), CAPAC Vice Chair: “Today the House passed a flawed budget resolution for fiscal year 2013 that reflects the misplaced priorities of many fiscal conservatives in the House of Representatives. This budget will have significant repercussions on the AAPI community. It will jeopardize critical healthcare services, gut Medicaid and CHIP programs, and significantly alter Medicare for the 34% of eligible AAPIs who rely solely on this program. At a time when we need leadership to address our country’s most pressing issues, this budget irresponsibly shifts the cost of balancing our federal budget to some of our country’s most vulnerable citizens.”

Congresswoman Mazie Hirono (HI-02), CAPAC Education Taskforce Chair: “The Ryan budget does not reflect the values of Hawaii’s families. It does not protect our kupuna or our keiki. It hurts our middle class families while giving the wealthiest among us a nearly $400,000 tax break. This plan cuts the life lines that many working families and seniors rely on. This budget is a misguided effort and missed opportunity to really put in place a plan that creates jobs and moves our country forward. Our people deserve better.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-09), CAPAC Healthcare Taskforce Chair: “In 2010, Congress enacted the Affordable Care Act – an important step forward in addressing the human and economic toll that uninsurance and underinsurance takes on our nation. Health care reform takes crucial steps to lower health care costs and premiums for families, as well as reduce health disparities that plague our communities of color. I oppose the GOP budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2013 which would undermine critical provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Our nation cannot afford to turn back.”

Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-05): “Quite simply, the Republican Budget makes the wrong choices for our country by favoring the wealthiest and Big Oil over America’s most vulnerable populations. Between ending the Medicare guarantee, capping and cutting Medicaid dollars, and repealing the Affordable Care Act, the Republican budget completely disregards the health needs of our country. While this is not surprising, it is still unacceptable. Approximately 34% of Asian Americans over the age of 65 only have Medicare coverage, and nearly one in 10 Asian Americans rely on Medicaid for health care. In our efforts to reduce the deficit, we cannot and should not eliminate critical programs and services upon which so many Americans rely.” 

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34): “This budget would end Medicare and Medicaid as we know it, and undermine many other programs people rely on everyday to meet their most basic needs. The underlying assumption the Ryan/Republican budget makes is that the rich have too little and the poor have too much. This assumption has resulted in a draconian budget that would shift the burden of deficit reduction onto those who can least afford it, while ensuring even greater tax cuts for the wealthiest among us.”

Background:  The cuts in the Ryan budget will have a profoundly negative impact on the well-being of the American people. Turning Medicare into a block-grant program will shift costs from Medicare to seniors, forcing them to pay dramatically more for the same care.  Repealing the Affordable Care Act will reopen the Medicare “Donut Hole,” which will further increase costs for seniors. It will also remove millions of Americans from the health insurance they currently have, and reintroduce pre-existing conditions into the healthcare system.  

The Asian American Pacific Islander community will be disproportionately affected by these changes. With 17 percent of Asian Americans and 24 percent of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders being uninsured, Medicare and Medicaid are crucial to providing them medical care. Nearly 1 million AAPI receive Medicare benefits, while Medicaid covers nearly one in seven members of the community under 65, and nearly 25 percent of all AAPI children.

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently Chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.