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Conservatives Add Own Budget to the Mix

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo
A budget proposed by Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and House conservatives would balance the budget in five years by freezing spending at $931 billion.

House conservatives today will introduce their own version of a fiscal 2013 budget, offering a stark contrast with the leadership-favored blueprint offered by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan heading into this week’s floor debate.

The Republican Study Committee’s budget lays a marker for conservatives, many of whom think the Wisconsin Republican’s budget did not cut enough government spending, and adds further pressure to the heated intraparty debate over the spending outline.

The RSC budget cuts deeper than Ryan’s proposed $1.028 trillion plan by about $100 billion, capping expenditures at $931 billion, and offers conservatives a rallying cry.

The RSC will offer it as a stand-alone bill this week, and at the scheduled Thursday floor vote, it will present it again as an amendment to the budget.

The goal is not only to offer an alternative to President Barack Obama’s plan in a pivotal election year but also to diverge from the House GOP plan, RSC Chairman Jim Jordan (Ohio) co-wrote with RSC member and Budget Vice Chairman Scott Garrett (N.J.) in an op-ed scheduled to run in today’s Washington Examiner.

Ryan’s plan “represents a vast improvement over President Obama’s goals, and certainly over Senate Democrats, who have failed even to produce a budget for the third year in a row,” the two write.

“Even so, we join the many Americans concerned by the thought of waiting decades to balance the budget. Conservatives in the Republican Study Committee hope to build on and improve on the Budget Committee’s work.”

The RSC has kept a tight lid on the details of its budget, and Jordan and Garrett will release the proposal today at a press conference with other committee members.

But according to information obtained by Roll Call, the RSC budget would balance the budget in five years by freezing spending at $931 billion. That contrasts with Ryan’s budget, which would balance it in 27 years, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates.

RSC members had said before Ryan introduced his budget that they hoped to influence the process enough to avoid introducing a budget at all. A cool reception to the Ryan budget among conservatives, however, made that scenario impossible.

“A Conference budget that takes almost three decades to balance is not credible,” said an aide to a conservative Member. “I don’t understand [how] Members can look their constituents in the face and say that it’s fair for them to wait a quarter-century for their government’s books to balance.”

Ryan, however, has contended that his budget could balance within 10 years taking into account higher economic growth than the CBO considered.

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