Rep. Paul Ryan laid out the framework for the House Republicans’ budget, in an op-ed to be published in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, that he says will cut $4.6 trillion over the next 10 years and balance the federal budget by 2023.
Mr. Ryan’s plan assumes spending levels of $41 trillion over the next 10 years, rather than the current trajectory of $46 trillion, though it accomplishes the balance with all spending cuts and includes the repeal of President Obama’s health care overhaul, so any blueprint will have to be reconciled with what the Democrat-controlled Senate produces.
“On the current path, spending will increase by 5% each year. Under our proposal, it will increase by 3.4%. Because the U.S. economy will grow faster than spending, the budget will balance by 2023, and debt held by the public will drop to just over half the size of the economy,” he writes. “The other side will warn of a relapse into recession — just as they predicted economic disaster when the budget sequester hit. But a balanced budget will help the economy. Smaller deficits will keep interest rates low, which will help small businesses to expand and hire.”
The plan includes the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which Mr. Ryan says will create 20,000 direct jobs and 118,000 indirect jobs. Starting in 2024, it would replace the traditional Medicare health care system for seniors with a “premium support” system where the elderly can use to shop around and purchase insurance plans in what Democrats deride as a voucher system.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, wrote in Politico the plan is essentially a warmed-over version of ideas that don’t even enjoy unanimous support in Mr. Ryan’s own party, to say nothing of Democrats.
“Mathematically, there is no other way to eliminate the deficit in ten years without a balanced approach that includes additional revenue — and Ryan knows it,” Mr. Hoyer wrote. “Yet, such an approach has already been rejected by many in Ryan’s own party. Whether House Republicans could even rally together to pass such a budget remains to be seen.”
The plan would also give states the flexibility to tailor programs like Medicaid and food stamps to their own particular needs and has the goal of simplifying the federal tax code and rates so that it contains just two tax brackets: 10 percent and 25 percent.
The Senate is working on a budget as well, which is expected to lean more heavily on revenues from closing tax loopholes for the rich and large corporations as a means to raise revenue. The two radically different blueprints will have to be reconciled before anything passes both Houses of Congress.
“We House Republicans have done our part,” Mr. Ryan concluded. “We’re offering a credible plan for all the country to see. We’re outlining how to solve the greatest problems facing America today. Now we invite the president and Senate Democrats to join in the effort.”