March 23, 2007

CARDIN: FY08 BUDGET RESOLUTION MAKES HEALTH CARE A PRIORITY, BRINGS BACK FISCAL DISCIPLINE

Senator Fights for Additional Funding to Help Maryland Prepare for BRAC Expansion

Oren Shur: 202-224-4524

Susan Sullam: 410-962-4436


WASHINGTON - Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) asserted his strong support for the passage of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 Budget Resolution, noting its focus on health care funding and a return to fiscal discipline. The Budget Resolution passed the Senate today by a vote of 52-46.

Sen. Cardin, a member of the Budget Committee, also secured language in the Budget Resolution to recognize the need for additional funding for communities in Maryland and across the nation that will experience significant growth from the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. Maryland's population is expected to grow by as much as 60,000 because of BRAC, creating additional infrastructure needs for many communities.

The Senator released the following statement of support of the FY2008 Budget Resolution:

"The federal budget should reflect the priorities of our nation, and for too long it has not. After years of reckless giveaways to the wealthy and inadequate funding for health care and education, I am proud to support a Budget Resolution that will help change the direction of America and restore some much-needed fiscal discipline. This budget is not perfect, but it changes our fiscal priorities in order to move Maryland and the nation forward.

"Because of BRAC, thousands of people will come to Maryland to fill new jobs, creating a boon for our local economy. But the growth in population will bring about new challenges, particularly for the communities surrounding Aberdeen Proving Ground and Ft. Meade. We need to make sure that our roads, our schools, and our general infrastructure are prepared. So I fought to secure language in the Budget Resolution to recognize Maryland's need for additional funding to meet the needs of our growing state. As the appropriations process moves forward, I will continue to fight to make sure Maryland gets its fair share.

"I am proud to support a budget that makes health care a priority. It is a national disgrace that more than 46 million Americans, including 9 million children, do not have health insurance. We need universal health insurance in America, and this budget moves us in that direction by helping thousands of children obtain coverage through the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP). We know that when children have health insurance, they are much more likely to receive primary care and dental care, and are less likely to visit emergency rooms for care. They are more likely to be immunized and have preventive health care and access to prescription drugs. In many states, including Maryland, funding for S-CHIP has dried up. If we don't take action, thousands of our most needy children will lose their coverage. Our children deserve better and this budget will give the states the resources they need to provide coverage for more children through S-CHIP.

"As the Baby Boomers move towards retirement, it's important that we develop a more cost-effective way to take care of the long-term care needs, so families can get assisted living or home health care and don't have to spend as much money on nursing care. I am pleased that the Budget Resolution includes my amendment to improve long-term care in a fiscally responsible manner by establishing the Long-Term Care Reserve Fund.

"Not only does this budget address the true priorities of our nation, it does so in a fiscally responsible manner. It abides by PAYGO requirements that will allow us to make progress in reducing the record-setting budget deficits that now exist. As a nation, we have a moral responsibility to pay our bills and not pass our debts on to our children and grandchildren.