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December 03, 2016
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Hinchey and Marino take opposite sides on budget

When you look at a map of Congressman Maurice Hinchey’s district, which runs along the New York side of the Upper Delaware River, it seems to have been deliberately designed to include the cities of Binghamton and Ithaca, which would tend to make it more progressive than it would otherwise be.

When you look at a map of Congressman Tom Marino’s district, which runs along the Pennsylvania side of the river, it seems to have been designed specifically to exclude the cities of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, which would tend to make it more conservative than it would otherwise be.

Perhaps not surprisingly then, the two lawmakers have starkly different views on many matters, including the proposed budget for the federal government that was passed in the House of Representatives on April 15, largely along party lines, with a 235 to 193 vote.

The budget would cut $6 trillion in federal spending over the next 10 years, and would defund the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act that was passed last year. The proposed budget would also make major changes to Medicare and Medicaid, which would be changed to a voucher system that would allow beneficiaries to purchase private insurance from a lump sum payment, which according to many critics would be much lower that the current benefit.

Hinchey, a Democrat, released a statement, saying that he opposed the bill that passed, and instead voted for an alternative Democratic bill that was defeated “that protects Medicare while significantly reducing the deficit.”

In remarks made on the House floor, Hinchey said, “As wealth inequality in America nears highs not seen since the Great Depression, Republicans have proposed a budget that would make matters much worse. Instead of working to reverse this trend, the Republican plan eliminates Medicare, cuts education, cuts infrastructure investments and cuts research and development into alternative energy.

"Seniors would be forced to pay out of pocket for their own health insurance in the private marketplace using a government coupon that would only cover a fraction of the cost. Working families who have fallen on hard times would go hungry and homeless without access to food and housing assistance. Millions of young people would be forced to forgo college and enter a workforce with fewer quality jobs.

"Even though this budget brutalizes seniors and working Americans, it shamelessly provides huge tax giveaways to big corporations and the very wealthy.”

Marino, a Republican, also issued a statement, but his ignored the Medicare issue and praised the proposed budget. He said, “This budget framework gets to the heart of what the American people want: big spending cuts, a downsizing of Washington and job creation. I was proud to vote for this resolution and to take the first step on a journey that will lead to financial stability and private-sector job creation.”

He said the proposed budget, which was crafted by Congressman Paul Ryan, a Republican, “provides the framework for fiscal year 2012 and beyond. It represents $6.2 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade, and cuts the record-high national debt.

“Americans do not spend money they don’t have when they are establishing their household budgets. It’s time we did the same with the federal government. That’s what this plan will do. If we stay on this narrow, near-sighted course of reckless spending, we will do nothing more than rob our children and grandchildren of their right to financial freedom and the promise of prosperity.”