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At a press conference on April 22, Representative Jan Schakowsky spoke against the recent budget resolution approved by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives and defended President Barack Obama’s “line in the sand” against certain cuts. The Republican budget would alter Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and would repeal the health care bill – programs that John Gaudette of Citizen Action Illinois called the “four pillars of our social safety net.”
“President Obama has made clear some of the major problems with the Republican proposal, and I strongly second his criticism,” said Rep. Schakowsky, adding that Rep. Ryan is “just plain wrong” in his proposal.
“This is no time to lower tax rates for millionaires and billionaires at a cost of over $1 trillion. … And at a time when 15 million Americans are looking for work, it is simply no time to extend tax breaks to companies that shift jobs and profits overseas,” she said. Ending tax cuts will hurt small businesses because people will no longer be able to spend money, she added.
“Not a lot of small business owners will benefit from tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. They will, however, be hurt if no one can afford to buy their products and services,” said the Congresswoman.
Other speakers at the press conference, organized by Citizen Action Illinois, were two small-business owners, a retired president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and a representative of the seniors’ organization of Moveon.org. Each described potential harm that would be caused by the Republican budget: “There needs to be honesty in this debate,” said David Borris, owner of Hel’s Kitchen in Northbrook. He said tax cuts for the wealthy would hurt the middle class: “Putting more dollars in the pockets of the middle class is the right climate for job creation. Putting more dollars into Wall Street is not.”
Damien Christiansen of Intervantage said, “Small businesses create 70 percent of the new jobs in Illinois. The [Representative Paul] Ryan tax cuts will go to Wall Street.”
Mr. Gaudette, organizing director of Citizen Action Illinois, said he believes President Obama’s proposal is a “recipe for success” and said giving money back to the wealthiest Americans is the wrong thing to do.
Rep. Schakowsky said, “We, the Democrats, do not dismantle Medicare; we don’t block-grant Medicaid, and we don’t repeal the Affordable Care Act. We stop tax breaks for big oil and corporations that outsource jobs and help the wealthy. We continue investments in job creation and education and medical research. … We ask those who have the most to contribute their fair share to deficit reduction.”
“Budgets are moral documents,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “Who are we? Are we a country where people take care not only of themselves but take care of other people? That’s what this debate is about.”