Pam Gulleson, candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, spoke to reporters about her reaction to the House of Representative’s approval of the Ryan budget on a press conference call.
“This budget has real, destructive potential for thousands of North Dakotans, and it’s the wrong move forward for our state,” Gulleson said. “It’s important to understand the concrete impact that this legislation – which seems so abstract to those who voted for it in Washington – could have on middle class North Dakotan families.”Gulleson pointed out that the Ryan budget is seen by many as a testament to the Republican party’s values going into an election year, prioritizing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans over middle class families. Of her six Republican opponents, two have supported the budget, and the rest are silent on the issue.
“Voters deserve to know where my opponents stand on this issue,” Gulleson said. “Are they going to vote for what’s best for North Dakota, or are they going to behave like Rep. Berg in Washington, and support their party over their constituents?”
On the call, Gulleson referenced several extreme changes that the Ryan budget could have for the state. The scheme would mean a major shift in the way Medicare works, shifting almost 100,000 North Dakota seniors onto vouchers when they retire, and increasing Medicare premiums for the average person by $6000 a year.
The budget would also have dire consequences for farmers, which Gulleson called “unbelievable and irresponsible.” The Ryan budget would slash crop insurance by $30 billion and reduce the USDA’s budget by $180 billion over 10 years. Those provisions all but guarantee that there will be no Farm Bill this year.
The plan would also negatively impact North Dakota students, by implementing $115 billion in cuts to the Department of Education. Almost ten million students nationwide would see their Pell Grants fall by more than $1,000 in 2014. Thirty percent of North Dakota college students rely on Pell Grants to help fund their education, and at some schools that number is higher than 60%.
Gulleson also pointed out that the budget would enact major cuts for rural communities: “As I’ve been touring the western part of the state this week, people want to know about the impact this would have on rural roads, rural infrastructure. They’re concerned to hear that the plan includes major cuts for rural communities. Going into their convention this weekend, my opponents need to answer for their party’s misplaced priorities.”