Members of the House Republican Study Committee unveiled their own budget proposal Thursday that pushes for deeper cuts than leadership has suggested and seeks to balance the budget within 10 years by raising the retirement age and making significant cuts in domestic spending.
RSC Chairman Jim Jordan said the conservative proposal is not meant to be a distraction from Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (Wis.) plan, which is set for floor action next week.
“We certainly appreciate the good work the Budget Committee has done. We think the policy statements in that bill are tremendous and begin to change the paradigm and the debate on how we begin to fix Medicare and Medicaid,” Jordan told reporters in a conference call.
However, the Ohioan said, “we view this as a tradition of the RSC frankly and an obligation to conservatives on Capitol Hill” to introduce a separate proposal that will be offered as an amendment to Ryan’s budget on the floor next week.
But Jordan was realistic in forecasting how much support the plan would win on the floor, acknowledging that it would be in competition with Ryan’s budget.
“Obviously we’d love to get 218, but we think that’s not going to happen,” Jordan said. “We’d like to have an opportunity out there for members to support this plan.”
The RSC plan, dubbed “Honest Solutions,” aims to balance the federal budget by 2020, rather than 2040 as under Ryan’s plan. It also calls for $9.1 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years, compared to $5.8 billion under Ryan’s plan that was approved by the Budget Committee along party lines Wednesday. Like Ryan’s plan, the RSC plan would create a voucher system for Medicare and a block grant system for Medicaid that would be carried out by the states.
The RSC’s document also calls for bringing discretionary spending down to 2008 levels and eliminates health care subsidies under President Barack Obama’s reform law. It proposes gradually increasing the retirement age, with those born after 1975 retiring at age 70, bans any further spending under the Troubled Asset Relief Program and reduces the federal workforce by 15 percent.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.