House passes Ryan budget with big cuts

Non-binding but politically charged measure that promises a balanced federal ledger in 10 years
Associated Press
Apr 10, 2014

 

House Republicans rallied behind a slashing budget blueprint on Wednesday, passing a non-binding but politically charged measure that promises a balanced federal ledger in 10 years with sweeping budget cuts and termination of health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The 219-205 vote on the budget outline takes a mostly symbolic swipe at the government's chronic deficits. Follow-up legislation to actually implement the cuts isn't in the offing. Twelve Republicans opposed the measure, and not a single Democrat supported it.

The measure passed after a three-day debate that again exposed the hugely varying visions of the rival parties for the nation's fiscal future. Republicans promised a balanced budget by 2024 but would do so at the expense of poor people and seniors on Medicaid, lower-income workers receiving "Obamacare" subsidies, and people receiving food stamps and Pell Grants.

Democrats countered with a plan that would leave Obama's health care plan and rapidly growing health programs like Medicare intact, relying on $1.5 trillion in tax hikes over the coming decade to bring deficits down to sustainable but still-large levels in the $600 billion range.

The GOP plan, by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would cut more than $5 trillion over the coming decade to reach balance by 2024, relying on sharp cuts to domestic programs, but leaving Social Security untouched and shifting more money to the Pentagon and health care for veterans. It reprises a controversial plan to shift future retirees away from traditional Medicare and toward a subsidy-based health insurance option on the open market.

While staking out a hard line for the future, follow-up legislation is likely to be limited this year to a round of annual spending bills that will adhere to a bipartisan budget pact enacted in December.

But the Ryan plan does paint a picture of what Republicans would attempt if they claim the Senate this fall and the White House in 2016. Its cuts to entrenched benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid, however, would be difficult to pass even if Republicans gained control of both the House and Senate in this fall's elections. Its call for reforming the tax code and cutting the top rate from almost 40 percent to 25 percent is impossible to achieve without giving the very wealthy outsized tax cuts.

"It's totally out of touch with the priorities and values of the country," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. "This is a clear road map of what Republicans in Congress would do if they had the power to do it."

Republicans say the tough cuts they promise would strengthen the economy because less government borrowing would boost savings and investment. And they say it's simply unfair to saddle future generations with mountains of debt.

"The sooner we tackle these fiscal problems, the better off everybody is going to be, the faster the economy grows, and the more we can guarantee that the next generation inherits a debt-free future," said Ryan.

Republicans opposing the bill were mostly tea party adherents such as Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, as well as several members of the Georgia delegation who are competing in a Senate primary. A handful of more moderate members from the Northeast, including Reps. Chris Gibson of New York and Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey, also opposed it.

At issue is the arcane congressional budget process, which employs a nonbinding measure known as a budget resolution to set forth goals for future taxes, spending and deficits. But follow-up legislation is usually limited to one-year appropriations bills. The House Appropriations Committee has already approved two of its least controversial bills, those funding veterans' programs and the budget for Congress itself.

Senate Democrats have announced they won't bother with a budget plan this year, relying on Ryan's December pact with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., to guide consideration of this year's round of appropriations bills.

Ryan's plan revives a now-familiar list of spending cuts to promise balance, including $2.1 trillion over 10 years in health care subsidies and coverage under the Affordable Care Act; $732 billion in cuts to Medicaid and other health care programs; and almost $1 trillion in cuts to other benefit programs like food stamps, Pell Grants and farm subsidies.

The measure also promises deep, probably unrealistic cuts to domestic programs like education, health research and grants to local governments that are funded each year through annual appropriations bills.

Ryan's plan also reprises a failed strategy from last year to cut domestic agency operating budgets and shift the money to the Pentagon after 2015. When Republicans tried that last year, the House was unable to pass the follow-up spending bills implementing the cuts. They haven't even drafted legislation that would implement their polarizing plans for Medicare.

Republicans say the new "premium support" system for future Medicare retirees who are now 55 or younger would prevent the budget from spiraling out of control as more baby boomers retire and the present system collapses. They also say the redesigned Medicare program would offer seniors more choices and curb costs. Critics, however, say the Medicare subsidies wouldn't keep up with inflation but would require sharply higher out-of-pocket costs for future seniors.

 

Comments

The Big Dog's back

Poor, poor eddie munster. Knows it won't go anywhere, but still unwilling to compromise.

Donegan

It got more than Obama's Budget, Then again ANY bill gets mot votes that your gods Budget bill's. 2-413 Remember that number.
http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-a...
BTW It went further than Obama's.

Rosa

You are right, he does look like Eddie Munster, but Eddie was a much better person, and had a higher IQ..

bondgirlM

So then John Kerry is his father?

JD's picture
JD

So he believes in what he is doing that is a good thing

Huron_1969

2 words liberals hate the most "Fiscal Responsibility"

Licorice Schtick

No. "Wing Nuts."

Fiscal responsibility would include making fabulously wealthy oilmen pay for the wars they created to protect their ever-growning wealth.

Fiscal responsibility would include ending unneeded huge tax subsidy giveaways.

Fiscal responsibility would include honesty. The deficit "problem" is deliberately overblown to justify oppressing the working class as a means to avoid fairly taxing the wealthiest.

rbenn

or how about a national healthcare system that will break the backs of the middle class by taxing them into extinction? Since your second sentence said subsidies obamacare is handing tons of them out.

Pterocarya frax...

+1

paws4thought

I am curious - what color is the sky in your world?

IslandDweller

Liberals don't hate fiscal responsibility, our definition of responsibility is just different than the conservative definition. Rather than balancing the budget on the backs of those that are already struggling, we'd like to take the true responsible road and fix the following: federal subsidies to corporations (they cost taxpayers $100 billion a year), federal tax breaks for large corporations (cost us taxpayers $200 billion a year), subsidies paid by taxpayers to the fast food industry (due to low wages, taxpayers pay over $200 billion for public benefits for fast food workers), tax breaks for hedge fund managers (costs taxpayers $80 billion a year and a large majority of those managers are making in excess of $450,000 a year). And that's just scratching the surface. Did you know that subsidies for corporate jets cost taxpayers $3 billion a year or that tax deductions for SECOND homes cost us $8 billion a year?

Kind of makes you wonder who's pulling the politician's strings when conservatives would rather cut food stamps for families with children, the elderly and veterans than rock the boat...um, make that the luxury liner...of the wealthy.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

You have some great lead-ins to other conversations if you'd ever like to have them!

But on-topic, I'd like to see some references to the numbers you provided if you don't mind. Not that I don't necessarily believe in them (or your gist) but I'd like their context. I think you'll find that we are very much aligned when it comes to addressing our problems.

Tax reform is first. The income tax system we have now is entirely convoluted and abusive/abused. It also is apparently wholly inadequate for our needs as a modern, first-world country. What would you say to a "flat" tax or the FAIR Tax? The hundred year experiment with an income tax should be closed and deemed a learning lesson to at least try and salvage dignity from its attempts and justify the time and expense utterly wasted with it (we can say the same about direct election of Senators, too, but that's a whole other conversation...).

As for subsidies? You are correct. Through programs like the ACA, our government is funneling public tax money directly into the profits of private companies. It's a pretty gross practice and I bet if we could peek at certain Congressional net worth statements we may very well find recent investments into insurance companies. That's just the latest example, though. What you hint at is that we actually don't know the true cost of anything because of how baffled it becomes by subsidies, regulations, etc.

It's one way to really make the population kept in perpetual confusion and anger! Just keep adding layers, provisions, "loopholes", qualifications, exemptions, addendum, suffixes, prefixes, and all manner of flashing instead of a simple, understood program by even the least of us who are most vulnerable to such meddling.

Not that any politician from either party would ever dare take advantage of such a situation...Ok, well that last part was sarcasm but not directed at you, IslandDweller. You did well to illustrate you want to help those in most need, but we (you, me, all the readers) just have to remember that our status quo thinking of the past hundred years is what has created it.

What are we going to do about it?

Licorice Schtick

Say little with many words, apparently.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Would you prefer a sterile and hollow "I agree"?

coasterfan

Zing!!! In 2 short paragraphs, IslandDweller does a rather nice job pointing out what the Ryan budget truly does, and who it truly hurts.

Ryan's plan redistributes money from the poor and middle-class to the wealthy. In short, it turns America into even more of an oligarchy, in which a very few people have most of the money.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

The irony and pettiness of your "zing" isn't lost on me, thank you for the chuckle. Meanwhile, where I used the opportunity to generally agree with his unreferenced numbers and also suggest solutions to the problems he raised...

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Alternate title should read:
"House Member Proposes Something That Only Requires Ten Years of Consistency from Congress to Accomplish"

Since when have we been making current-year budgets with a ten year outlay? It's not just Republicans doing it but Democrats too. It's always...

WE'RE GOING TO BALANCE THE BUDGET!...(overtenyears*)
THIS LAW IS COMPLETELY DEFICIT NEUTRAL!...(overtenyears*)
THE CBO SAYS WE'RE GOING TO GAIN 10K JOBS!...(overyenyears*)

*as long as nothing at all changes with this law, other laws, Congress, the Presidency, or in population demographics.**

**There are no provisions that can enforce this presumption based on mathematical, societal, political, statistical, nor scientific evidence.***

***Just keep reelecting us and we'll make sure NOTHING changes for decades at a time ~wink~

...Why did I as the writer actually get a chill writing that last line? For some reason it doesn't seem false.

KnuckleDragger

If you confiscated every penny of wealth from the top 1% it wouldn't run the government for a week. So on that note, this country can't seriously address the deficit without cutting entitlements since they consume the lions share of the federal budget. It's time to wean the babies off the breast.

coasterfan

Exactly: and it's the entitlements enjoyed by the wealthy that NEED to be cut. When the wealthy have lower tax rates than you and I, and when they have loopholes available that result in them paying little or nothing in taxes, we will never seriously address the deficit.

Until conservatives begin to address the above, and stop giving huge tax cuts/breaks to the 1%, no one will take them seriously when they whine about cutting the deficit. I sure don't...

2cents's picture
2cents

($1.5 trillion in tax hikes)

http://www.slobodaiprosperitet.t...

OMG.LOL.WT_

Yeah, 2cents, that word alone should scare everyone. Of course what we have now is government contolled by large corporations but just throw out the S word for effect.
so·cial·ism (sō′shə-lĭz′əm)
n.
1. Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.
2. The stage in Marxist-Leninist theory intermediate between capitalism and communism, in which collective ownership of the economy under the dictatorship of the proletariat has not yet been successfully achieved.

Dr. Information

I don't see the liberals coming up with a plan. They just like to get in the way. Time for some real change. Obama and the Dems had their shot. They lost.