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Right-wing U.S. House budget bill hurts Michigan families

Brenda LawrenceBy Brenda Lawrence

Who would turn their back on a battered woman? Who would steal food from a hungry child? Who would attack Medicare and the Affordable Care Act?

Apparently, U.S. House Republicans have.

A congressional budget is a statement of our priorities and values. It’s a contract with the American people. It contains public investment and spending.

Investing in the working and middle class is the best and fastest way to create jobs and strengthen our economy. And it is clear from the budget that House Republicans passed last week, they simply don’t get it. They continue to put millionaires and special interests first.

In fact, they continue to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class, seniors and children. By a largely-partisan 219-205 margin, the Republican-controlled House passed the so-called Paul Ryan budget on April 10. Michigan Congressmen Gary Peters and John Conyers, both Democrats, voted against the bill.

The measure is named after the conservative House Budget Committee chairman and former Mitt Romney running-mate, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

Simply put: Ryan’s budget cuts middle and working-class Americans and guts vital programs in favor of tax breaks for Big Oil and big corporations. While millionaires would reap benefits in tax cuts, on average, communities of color would once again suffer greatly under the Ryan budget.

Ryan’s budget also continues the House Republican plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act by repealing Medicaid expansion, a program that greatly benefits low-income communities and many communities of color.

Similarly, low-income families looking to send their children to college are also under attack in the Ryan budget. His plan restricts Pell Grants. More than 60 percent of African American undergraduates and half of Latino undergraduates rely on Pell Grants to attend school.

The plan also cuts Pay as You Earn, an income-based repayment program that helps students pay off their loans in accordance with their salaries.

Even more astounding are the $5.1 trillion cuts in spending. It includes health care, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The Ryan budget slashes nearly $11 billion from WIC. Nearly 40 percent of the program’s recipients are people of color. The budget crafters also claim that domestic violence prevention spending is a waste of money, and they cut school lunch programs.

This is outrageous.

I’m a candidate for Michigan’s 14th Congressional District, and I have a proven record as a fighter for men, women and families. I’ll fiercely oppose measures like the outrageous Ryan budget bill.

As a veteran member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors who has met with President Obama and has testified on Capitol Hill, I’m an experienced public servant who can connect the dots between federal and local government and fight to strengthen all 18 cities and villages in the 14th District, which includes portions of both Oakland and Wayne counties.

Michigan’s families deserve far better from Capitol Hill.

Brenda Lawrence is Mayor of Southfield and candidate for the 14th Congressional District House seat. 

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