- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 1, 2011

Rep. Michele Bachmann thinks the federal government is “going out to eat” on America’s dime.

“It’s like if my family was overspending or if your neighbor’s family was overspending, you cut up your credit cards, you’d sell the boat. You’d sell your vacation home if you had one,” the Minnesota Republican told “Fox Sunday News.”

“You wouldn’t be going out to eat.”

She and the rest of Congress may have to settle for McDonald’s.

When Congress returns Monday, lawmakers will be back to tackling the issues of spending cuts and whether to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, which could be critical to keeping loans out of default.

“Look, we’re probably not going to get some grand-slam agreement that fixes all of these problems,” Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, told ABC’s “This Week.’” “My now hope is to get a single or a double, you know, to get something done that gets us on the right path.”

The “Gang of Six,” a bipartisan group of three Republicans and three Democrats, might be close to a solution, but it would take compromise from both sides. Sen. Kent Conrad, North Dakota Democrat, told “Fox Sunday News” the group has made “enormous progress” and there is a “serious chance” of reaching an agreement soon.

Still, Mr. Ryan’s plan as it stands now, is turning heads in Washington and across the country. He wants major cuts, including $389 billion from Medicare over the next 10 years. He says his plan for Medicare would be softer if it were implemented now rather than a decade down the road.

“Put these reforms in now - they don’t take effect for 10 years - to give people time to prepare,” he said. “If we keep kicking the can down the road, and if we keep going trillions of dollars deeper in the hole, then the reforms are going to be sudden, urgent and severe and immediate, and people wouldn’t have - they’re going to catch them by surprise.”

Democrats don’t like the approach.

Mr. Conrad called it “extreme,” and at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday, President Obama joked about it. “Of course, the deficit is a serious issue. That’s why Paul Ryan couldn’t be here tonight. His budget has no room for laughter.”

Even some Republicans say it will be a tough sell. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told “Fox News Sunday” the plan won’t get the necessary 60 votes in the Senate as it stands now. And House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, didn’t offer much support, either.

“This is Paul’s idea,” he said. “Other people have other ideas. I’m not wedded to one single idea.”

But Republicans, such as Mrs. Bachmann, have no intention of backing down. She said she has a “conviction” to reduce the deficit before America goes “down in flames with our economy.”

“We have to realize we’re only accelerating decline for the United States,” she said. “That is not going to bring us into prosperity.”

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