It's no surprise the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, didn't like the Republican budget proposal from the Budget Chairman, Paul D. Ryan. But it might be a surprise exactly how much Van Hollen hates it.
"This is the worst budget for America that we've seen," Van Hollen said as he began a pen-and-pad briefing on the blueprint Tuesday.
Ryan officially released his 2015 budget proposal Tuesday morning, and it was clear from the outset that Democrats were not going to like the Wisconsin Republican's spending vision.
While the budget abides by the defense and non-defense caps laid out in the recent budget deal for fiscal 2015, Ryan's newest blueprint proposes raising defense spending by $483 billion over 10 years and cutting non-defense spending by $791 billion in that same period.
"It takes that area to sequester levels,” Van Hollen said of non-defense spending, “then doubles the sequester cut to those non-defense areas — and then goes beyond that.” The budget would make cuts to health care, education, infrastructure and research and development, among many other areas.
According to Van Hollen, all those cuts are in the name of "their political target of fake balance in 10 years."
"I know it's April Fool's day, but I hope no American will be fooled by the false claim that this budget balances in 10 years," Van Hollen said. "That is a fraudulent claim."
Van Hollen took issue with that claim, he said, because Republicans assert in the budget that they would repeal Obamacare, but they would maintain a projected $716 billion in Medicare cuts enacted through the health care law and apply those savings toward deficit reduction.
Van Hollen called the budget proposal a "declaration of class warfare," castigating the document for calling for a tax cut for top-income earners to 25 percent while cutting more than $125 billion for food stamps and $90 billion for student loans.
"Mitt Romney said he wasn’t focused on the 47 percent,” Van Hollen said, referring to a turning point in the 2012 presidential election. “This budget sets out to prove that the Republicans are not focusing on the 47 percent."
Indeed, Van Hollen was already making political connections to the document Tuesday.
"This does show what House Republicans would do if they could impose their will,” Van Hollen said.
"If you're a senior on Medicare, this budget is going to hurt,” he said.
It's for those reasons that House Republicans still might not move forward with adopting the budget resolution on the House floor. The budget proposal is unlikely to find any sizable Democratic support in the House, and it’s going nowhere in the Senate. Exposing vulnerable Republicans to politically damaging votes could be risky in an election year — and the budget still might not go far enough for some conservative Republicans, meaning it might not even have the votes to pass.
Still, if Van Hollen was any indication, even though he hated the document, Democrats are giddy at the prospect of voting on the proposal; it's an easy "no" vote for Democrats.
"I think that this is what elections are about," Van Hollen said. "Discussing different priorities, different values, and budgets are the clearest roadmap to discovering what people’s priorities are."