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Paul Ryan and Debbie Wasserman Schultz Tangle on Budget Proposal

April 1, 2014 - 6:00pm
This week, U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., unveiled the Republican proposal for the 2015 fiscal year budget and drew fire from a prominent congresswoman from Florida.

Ryan, who was former Gov. Mitt Romneys, R-Mass., running mate on the 2012 Republican presidential ticket and a possible contender for his partys presidential nomination in 2016, introduced the budget proposal on Tuesday and spotlighted it at the House Budget Committee meeting on Wednesday. The House leadership is considering bringing Ryans plan for a full vote later this week.

The proposal, which Ryan dubbed the Path to Prosperity, would cut $5.1 trillion from federal spending, mostly from domestic programs, over the next 10 years and would repeal President Barack Obamas federal health-care law. Ryans proposal would allow more free-market options in Medicare. Pointing to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) studies showing a balanced budget would lead to economic growth, Ryan insisted his plan would balance the budget over a 10-year period and will help reduce the national debt.

This is a plan to balance the budget and create jobs, and it builds off a simple fact: we cant keep spending money we dont have, Ryan said. This budget provides relief for families. Too many Americans struggle to make ends meet, while Washington continues to live beyond its means. Its irresponsible to take more from hard-working families to spend more in Washington. Todays proposal -- the Path to Prosperity -- shows that its not too late to tackle our countrys most pressing challenges.

The Bipartisan Budget Act was a good first step, Ryan added. But we can and must do more. As the House majority, we have a responsibility to lay out a long-term vision for the country, and this budget shows how we will solve our nations biggest challenges. By cutting wasteful spending, strengthening key priorities, and laying the foundation for a stronger economy, we have shown the American people theres a better way forward.

With this being an election year, Democrats looked to fire away at Ryans proposal. Republicans are expected to easily keep control of the House and their efforts to flip control of the U.S. Senate from Democrats appear to be picking up steam in recent weeks. With November looming, Democrats are looking to tie Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., to Ryans proposal.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), has been front and center in opposing Ryans proposal and trying to set the stage for further attacks on congressional Republicans who back it.

A budget proposal of this magnitude should reflect the priorities of a dynamic, diverse, and growing nation, Wasserman Schultz said. Instead, Chairman Ryan has forged a familiar and previously rejected path that rewards wealthy individuals and corporations with tax breaks and punishes middle- and low-income families with punitive cuts to essential services.

In particular, cutting Medicare as we know it is a cruel way to achieve the GOPs zeal for fiscal austerity at all costs, as is the nonstarter of repealing the Affordable Care Act, Wasserman Schultz added. Any budget that seeks balance on the backs of our seniors and our most vulnerable citizens does not deserve to see the light of day in the House of Representatives.

It is clear that Chairman Ryan has no desire to work with the president and Democrats on a more sensible, balanced budget plan even in the aftermath of his own Ryan-Murray deal that showed the potential for future bipartisan collaboration on behalf of a stronger nation, Wasserman Schultz continued. The Ryan Plan redux returns to the same unfair, harmful Republican policies that have been repeatedly rejected by the American people.

Wasserman Schultz also pointed to the 2012 presidential election in which Ryan played a prominent part.

We rejected these ideas in 2012 and in the years since, and we're not going to back down no matter how many times Paul Ryan brings them up, Wasserman Schultz insisted.

Reach Kevin Derby at

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