June 16, 2011
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor on the Republican plan to end Medicare and slash Medicaid instead of reducing handouts to oil companies. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
I am happy to see Republicans opening up to what Democrats have being saying all along: cutting wasteful subsidies to big oil should be on the table if we are going to reduce the deficit.
Yesterday my friend, the senior Senator from Tennessee, said we should consider ending taxpayer subsidies for oil companies making record profits.
Democrats agree. Handouts like these – to companies that made $36 billion in the first quarter of this year alone – must be part of the discussion as we get our fiscal house in order.
As we decide where to cut, we will need to make some tough choices. But not every choice has to be difficult.
If we are serious about reducing spending, ending tens of billions in taxpayer giveaways to big oil companies shouldn’t be one of the difficult decisions.
And when the other side says the alternative is to end Medicare, slash Medicaid and put millions of seniors at risk, the choice is that much clearer.
We cannot take with one hand from those who can least afford it and give with the other to those who can.
Before we end Medicare as we know it or eliminate Medicaid funding for nursing homes, as the Republicans have proposed, we should cut wasteful spending.
During the course of a year, one in five Americans will be on Medicaid. The cuts Republicans propose affect real people.
The elderly man in the nursing home. The child missing her yearly checkup. The pregnant woman whose baby depends on proper prenatal care. The person with a disability who is able to live alone thanks to the helping hand Medicaid provides.
And these cuts will affect you, too. Cutting Medicaid simply shifts costs – it doesn’t lower them.
Each patient who doesn’t get the care he needs from a doctor today will get it tomorrow for twice the price in an emergency room. And you and I will foot the bill.
The American people have spoken loudly and clearly. They do not want to balance the budget on the backs of seniors, children or people with disabilities.
I am glad to one of my Republicans colleagues is finally getting the message.