Continued from page 1

Democrats are particularly critical of a provisions in the House GOP plan that would convert the government’s Medicare health plan for seniors into a system in which the government would provide payments for private health insurance plans.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Michigan Democrat, said the Ryan budget plan is a “thinly veiled attempt to dismantle Medicare.”

“Pulling the rug out from under seniors who have paid into Medicare and Social Security their entire lives is wrong, and extreme plans that dismantle benefits seniors have earned will not pass the Senate,” she said.

Mr. Ryan said his proposed Medicare changes wouldn’t apply to those in or near retirement.

The Ryan proposal was unveiled as Congress struggles to work out a temporary spending deal this week to keep the government running for the next six months. Many federal programs and departments could be shut down if a deal isn’t reach by the end of Friday.

Mr. Ryan downplayed speculation that his plan could be used as a bargaining chip to entice conservative House Republicans to accept a stopgap spending plan that includes fewer cuts than they want.

“That remains to be seen,” he said. “We don’t want a government shutdown. But we also don’t want to rubber stamp high, big spending.”