Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan for the next federal fiscal year will be dead-on-arrival in the Senate, a Democratic senator is vowing.
Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who chairs the House Budget Committee, unveiled a budget proposal Tuesday that, as expected, would cut deeply into Medicare, Medicaid and other federal programs.
Ryan released his spending plan for the 2012 federal fiscal year that begins October 1 even as Democrats and Republican continue to wrangle over a budget for the current fiscal year. Unless lawmakers agree to a budget for the current year, the federal government is expected to close on Monday. It would be the first such government shutdown in 15 years.
Ryan’s budget would cut Medicaid by as much as $1 trillion over the next 10 years and convert it into a block grant, according to one independent expert.
The proposal also would slash Medicare and other programs, as well, which is drawing sharp rebukes from Senate Democrats.
“Next year’s Republican budget is a thinly veiled attempt to dismantle Medicare for tens of millions of Americans,” says Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, a member of the Senate Democrats’ leadership. “We need to do everything possible to responsibly reduce our debt, but we should do that by holding government accountable and eliminating programs that aren’t working, not by putting all of the burden on middle class families and seniors. 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.”
Despite Ryan’s claims, his approach would not help tame the federal budget deficit, according to a more moderate Senate Democrat, Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska.
“In order to protect our long-term economic growth, we must get serious about cutting federal spending and ensuring the government lives within its means. However, a plan that puts our seniors’ safety and health at risk is not a plan about long-term security, but about political ploys and instigating fear,” the freshman lawmaker says. “If Republicans would join me and my colleagues at the table, I am confident that we could get a real budget plan that not only reduces our deficit, but also ensures that the economy is growing, businesses are thriving and our seniors are protected.”
Scott Nance is the editor and publisher of the news site The Washington Current. He has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.