Speaking at the Washington County Democratic Central Committee’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., promised that Democrats in Washington will protect Medicare and Medicaid and preserve the collective-bargaining rights of labor unions.
Cardin took aim at federal GOP budget plans to privatize Medicare and turn Medicaid into a block grant, as well as cut funding for the National Institutes of Health, Head Start for children’s development, Pell Grants for education aid and women’s health care.
He noted that former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a presidential hopeful, called a budget plan crafted by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., too conservative.
Cardin said Gingrich’s criticism “is like Charlie Sheen saying he’s not going to go to a party because it’s too wild.”
Proud to be a Democrat, Cardin told the roughly 150 attendees at Clopper-Michael American Legion Post 10 in Boonsboro that he plans to run for another six-year term in 2012.
State Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot, a Democrat, agreed that Draconian cuts are “just not practical” today.
Neither are tax increases.
“The economy’s just too fragile,” he said.
Instead, governments should work with the private sector in a quest for efficiency.
“I think we can learn from them how to deliver a better product,” Franchot said.
He has been traveling across Maryland to give out “More With Less” awards to businesses, including Beachley Furniture in Hagerstown.
As government works on solutions, people of all political stripes should work collaboratively, Franchot said, asking: “Why can’t we figure out how to stop being angry with each other?”
He praised Republican Terry Baker, the president of the Washington County Board of County Commissioners, for attending the Democratic dinner.
Elizabeth Paul, the central committee’s chairwoman, said local Democrats need to elect people to work with Del. John P. Donoghue and Sen. Ronald N. Young, the only two Democrats in the Washington County delegation.
She mentioned Subdistrict 2B, whose delegate, Neil C. Parrott, a freshman Republican, proposed satiric amendments to a same-sex marriage bill to legalize polygamy and incest.
Parrott, who strongly opposed the same-sex marriage bill, has said his proposals were tongue-in-cheek and meant to highlight how much traditional marriage was being cheapened.
“I found that extremely offensive and trivializing the issue,” Paul told the crowd on Thursday.
In his introduction of Cardin, Donoghue joked that elected officials sometimes are reminded not to take themselves too seriously. He said a boy who asked for his autograph at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday told his friend, “That’s the guy whose voice is on SpongeBob SquarePants.”