- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 15, 2016

House Republicans unveiled their 2017 spending blueprint Tuesday that holds the line on agreed-upon spending levels from last year and ultimately charts a course of balancing the federal budget within 10 years.

The plan “provides a vision and specific solutions for how we can, as a nation, get our fiscal house in order, strengthen our national security, provide support for those who need assistance, and empower our citizens and our communities,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, Georgia Republican.

The budget plan aims to reduce the deficit by $7 trillion over 10 years through cuts and projected growth, repeals Obamacare, and reiterates opposition to President Obama’s plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.

It also requires the consideration of legislation this year to get at least $30 billion worth of automatic spending cuts in the near term. Some conservatives in the House have objected to the top-line $1.07 trillion number agreed upon in a deal last year, calling instead for a $1.04 trillion level, as mandated in the recent budget sequester cuts.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Tuesday pledged in his speakership that there would not be “a top-down, cram-it-down-people’s-throat kind of leadership.”

“We want to work together [to] get this done, but it’s going to be a decision ultimately left up to our members,” he said.

There are already some signs of dissent within the House GOP caucus on the issue.

On Monday, the House Freedom Caucus, which is comprised of some 40-odd conservative members, said it couldn’t support the budget plan. The conservative Republican Study Committee has also called for a reduction in either non-defense discretionary spending or enacted mandatory savings to offset any spending in excess of $1.04 trillion.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, also indicated her own opposition Monday, saying the GOP budget plan “would do savage damage to good-paying jobs, education and infrastructure in America.”

“Once again, Republicans are trying to take us back to the radical trickle down agenda that shattered our economy and hollowed out the wages of middle-class Americans,” Mrs. Pelosi said.

Mr. Price’s committee has scheduled a markup on the fiscal 2017 budget plan for Wednesday.

President Obama unveiled his own $4.1 trillion blueprint last month that included spending increases and a $10-a-barrel fee on oil for clean energy initiatives, among other provisions. The plan was summarily rejected by Republicans, who had already agreed with the administration last year to boost spending in fiscal 2017 by $30 billion.

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