House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled his $1.028 trillion fiscal 2013 budget resolution this morning, immediately drawing the ire of Democrats for proposals that would repeal their health care law and change the way Medicare is administered.
Notably, the budget also cuts spending below the agreement reached in July’s Budget Control Act, which Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) hashed out with President Barack Obama.
“The Path to Prosperity” with its sweeping changes to entitlement programs and a provision to sidestep the sequestration laid out in the BCA, is a document aimed at directly differentiating Republicans from their counterparts.
“If we step in and fix this problem now, we can avoid a very painful debt crisis tomorrow,” the Wisconsin Republican said at a briefing announcing the plan.
However, it is unclear whether Ryan has the votes in his committee or on the floor to pass the resolution. Some members of the conservative Republican Study Committee have balked at the $1.028 trillion topline number, saying it does not cut deep enough, and they are skeptical of changing the way the sequester works.
But GOP aides expressed optimism that they would be able to pass the document.
Boehner released a statement this morning praising Ryan for his work on the plan.
“Far from ignoring our debt crisis, Republicans are again proposing responsible solutions to tackle it once and for all, including cutting spending, reforming our broken tax code, and strengthening health and retirement security,” he said.
Democrats, on the other hand, wasted no time blasting Ryan and House Republicans, indicating that the budget will once again become a political hot potato this election year.
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer immediately lambasted the budget in a statement, renewing the familiar Democratic line that it would “end Medicare as we know it” by instituting a voucher system that would limit seniors’ health care options.
“The House economic plan draws on the same wrong-headed theory that led to the worst recession of our lifetimes and contributed to the erosion of middle-class security over the last decade,” he said. “And the President believes we cannot return to a failed theory that didn’t lead to the growth of jobs, incomes, or the economy.”
Ryan, anticipating the attacks, countered at his briefing that doing nothing would be the real end to Medicare.
“If we simply operate based on political fear, nothing’s ever going to get done,” he said. “If we allow entitlement politics, fear that your adversaries will turn your reforms into a political weapon to use against you, and we cow to that, then America’s going to have a debt crisis.”
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray said in a statement that reneging on the BCA deal could risk a government shutdown in September, as appropriators would be working on different budget figures.
“This is outrageous and deeply disappointing. By desperately attempting to appease their extreme conservative base, House Republicans are reneging on a deal their own Speaker shook on less than eight months ago,” the Washington state Democrat said. “They have shown that a deal with them isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, and they are threatening families across America yet again with the prospect of a government shutdown.”
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.