In D.C., Rep. Peter Roskam invokes Springfield fiscal mess

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WASHINGTON — The GOP-run House on Thursday approved on a party line vote a budget plan crafted by House Budget Committee Chair Rep. Paul Ryan R-Wisc. with the 12 Illinois Democratic lawmakers voting against it and the 6 Illinois Republicans voting for the measure. It has no chance of being taken up by the Democratic controlled Senate. On the House floor, Rep. Peter Roskam R-Ill., urging support for the Ryan plan, invoked the fiscal mess in Springfield–where Democrats run the state House, Senate and hold the governorship.

“Springfield, Illinois, Mr. Speaker, is a foreshadowing of what not to do,” Roskam said. “…

“We can go one of two pathways. One pathway we know – one pathway of more taxes, more spending, more avoidance and not dealing with the underlying spending programs. This is not theoretical Mr. Speaker. The state of Illinois has tried that and it is a mess. And it’s a mess that becomes worse. The longer the state waits, the worse the options are.

“So what (Ryan) is saying is, ‘Let’s not get to that point.’ We’ve got options. We’ve got time. We’ve got choices. We’ve got remedies. But we need to act now,” Roskam, a member of the GOP House leadership, said. (See video of Roskam on the House floor blasting Springfield below)

Three Illinois Democratic freshmen from the Chicago suburbs–Reps. Bill Foster, Tammy Duckworth and Brad Schneider--who-unlike most of the Illinois Democratic colleagues do not have perma-safe seats–and actually will have to campaign–came together to issue a joint statement on their “no” votes:

“I am deeply disappointed that we could not build on the budget compromise of last year and move our nation forward,” said Duckworth. “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 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.”

“I voted against the Ryan budget today 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,” Schneider said. “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.”

“The Republican budget would be devastating for the middle class,” Foster said.  “It would end Medicare as we know it, while protecting tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations who ship jobs overseas.  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.”

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