Everything you need to know about House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan’s budget blueprint, from its prospects in the Senate to which White House proposals the Wisconsin Republican suggests keeping in place. Spoiler alert: “Obamacare” wouldn’t be completely discarded.
1. It’s DOA in the Senate and the White House, but you knew that.
2. Ryan’s budget eliminates the deficit in 2023 not because of large new spending cuts relative to his past budgets, but because he’s keeping hundreds of billions of dollars a year of President Barack Obama’s own budget policies in place.
3. Ryan’s claim to a balanced budget rests entirely on the 2010 health care law, known in GOP circles as “Obamacare.” Ryan’s budget keeps the tax revenue from the health care law, as well as its $700 billion-plus Medicare trims and other cuts. Ryan included those Medicare cuts in his previous budget blueprints but campaigned against them when he joined Mitt Romney’s GOP presidential ticket last year.
4. Ryan’s budget also would not balance without the $600 billion-plus increase in taxes extracted by the president in the fiscal cliff deal.
5. What Ryan would repeal is the $1.8 trillion in new spending on the health care law, which primarily subsidizes the purchase of private insurance. That includes $263 billion in spending on the law in 2023 alone.
6. Ryan’s budget proposes tax changes that would dramatically lower the top tax rate to 25 percent. Romney’s proposal to lower the rate from 35 percent to 28 percent came under fire from outside tax experts who said it would require tax writers to eliminate a slew of popular middle-class deductions. The White House contends that Ryan’s budget would require an even larger tax hike on the middle class because he is proposing an even lower top rate. Ryan says there are wasteful loopholes riddling the tax code but doesn’t say what should be eliminated.
7. Ryan would also cap the growth of Medicaid, giving states flexibility in return. That would save $756 billion over the next decade on top of repealing the health care law, and $139 billion in 2023 alone. Another $129 billion in new Medicare cuts over a decade would be adopted, including $39 billion in 2023.
8. Ryan retained his controversial plan to reshape Medicare into a voucher to buy private insurance for people younger than 55. But that again effectively pushes the savings from that plan outside the budget window.
9. The plan would also slice food stamp benefits by turning them into a block grant for states and implementing new time limits and a work requirement. It would also trim federal pensions and restrain discretionary spending.
10. Ryan points to economic models suggesting his blueprint would boost gross domestic product by 1.7 percent in 2023 by decreasing the nation’s debt burden.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.