Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) joined with Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA), Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senate Budget Committee Chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) to discuss President Biden’s budget that was released today. They highlighted how Democrats are working to invest in economic opportunities for the middle class and secure seniors’ and veterans’ hard-earned benefits, and how Republicans’ proposals benefit tax-cheats, the wealthy, and the well-connected. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
It's a very good day to be here in Washington, and particularly to be here, when President Biden lays out his vision for our country. His budget would impact every single family, from coast to coast, every single American family is affected by his legislation in positive ways that people really, really want and have asked for.
So this is just a great budget. It fits the needs of American families to a tee, and gives them the kind of hope and optimism that America is moving in the right direction, and paying attention to their needs. From lowering prescription drug costs to expanding the Child Tax Credit to cutting energy bills for families and housing costs, it's clear, this budget was shaped with American families as its North Star and that is a great thing. For lowering prescription drugs, not only just to cap insulin at $35 a month, but this is one of the most amazing parts of the budget, one of the best that Americans are going to sort of jump for joy with. And that is, it will cap out of pocket costs for high value generic drugs at $2. Making them not just affordable, but accessible. All the people who couldn't afford drugs at all, even though they needed them, will be able to get them.
And then one of the things we were proudest of we did during COVID, which took close to half the kids in America out of poverty, the Child Tax Credit. In this budget, it's proposed to be restored. Over 36 American family – 36 million American families – benefited from this life altering program. Again, it had such a profound effect. It's something we Democrats are going to fight for and fight for and fight for until we get it. 19 million more children would get full benefits under the President's plan. Families would receive their benefits every month, so they could put food on the table, pay the rent, pay the mortgage.
And the budget would expand access to childcare so desperately needed in this country, forming a federal-state partnership to provide universal free preschool for millions of American children. We all have known for a decade or two that preschool is one of the great answers to giving children the education they need so they can have a good adult life. This budget does it.
Sticking with families, it would also lower costs for new homeowners, expand access to home ownership throughout the U.S. by reducing the mortgage premiums for new borrowers by about a third – $800 during their first year of homeownership. We all know owning a home makes life so much better for people and as you make that monthly payment, it goes to your own equity, not to some landlord. This bill does it in an amazing way.
It's clear that the President has thought long and hard about what people need and has come up with a great proposal. And of course, the Biden commits to protecting and strengthening Social Security while improving the program for the lowest income Americans. He also seeks to improve customer services at the agency by increasing staff and decreasing those telephone wait times. How many of us, every one of us, has heard of the frustration when you call Social Security because you didn't get your check or the wrong check or something and you have to wait hours and hours and hours before someone answers the phone. Most people give up and hang up and it's just so dispiriting. So, now we know where the President stands. Americans know Democrats stand with the working families of America.
So now, the ball goes to Speaker McCarthy and the Republicans’ court. Today is March 9th and there is still one big question all of us are asking: Speaker McCarthy, where is your plan? Where is your plan on deficit reduction, which we have talked about here? Where is your plan, Speaker McCarthy? Where is your plan on making sure we pay our debts? Where is your plan? Whether it's on putting together a budget or avoiding default, we have no plan from Speaker McCarthy. Speaker McCarthy, the President has shown where he stands and where we stand. Where do you stand? Where does your Republican caucus stand? Where is your plan? Americans have no idea where Republicans truly stand on federal spending cuts. All we have are various proposals from the Republican Study Committee, Donald Trump's OMB director, which if passed would wreck our country and do huge damage to working families. Now, my colleagues will speak more about the specifics, but this is a roadmap that will lead our country to a better, brighter, more optimistic, and happier future, something America really wants.