Chairman Paul Ryan's budget proposal being considered by the House Budget Committee could face hurdles clearing the full chamber next week. That’s even though it aims to balance the budget in a decade, cuts $5 trillion in spending over the same period, and aims to repeal the Affordable Care Act -- all goals shared by the House's Republican majority. But conservatives say that's not enough.
Ryan, R-Wis., unveiled his 2015 budget plan on Wednesday, once again titled “Path to Prosperity.” It proposes to do exactly what conservatives want -- trim spending, gut Obamacare, reduce taxes and pump more money into the military -- but still, the votes may not be there to send it to the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it would surely fail. Ryan’s plan adheres to the $1.014 trillion discretionary spending cap set forth in a December bipartisan budget deal, which 62 of his fellow Republicans rejected as excessive spending.
Tea party-aligned lawmakers and pundits have already declared their dissatisfaction with Ryan’s plan.
“Holy Moly! Are you kidding?” wrote Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, Republican vice presidential candidate and Tea Party favorite, on her Facebook page. “The latest Ryan Budget is not an April Fool’s joke. But it really IS a joke because it is STILL not seeing the problem; it STILL is not proposing reining in wasteful government overspending TODAY, instead of speculating years out that some future Congress and White House may possibly, hopefully, eh-who-knows, take responsibility for today’s budgetary selfishness and shortsightedness to do so.”
“If we can’t balance the budget today, what on earth makes us think it will happen at some future date?” her post continued. “The solution is staring us in the face. We need to rein in spending today, and don’t tell me there is nothing to cut when we know every omnibus bill is loaded with pork and kickbacks.”
Some Tea Party-affiliated groups have dismissed new Ryan budget as a work of fiction and a bad April Fool’s joke.
Republican conservatives like Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina opposed the December deal Ryan cut with Democrats to fund the government for two years. Gowdy publicly voiced preference for a preservation of the sequester spending levels or “systematic changes to drivers of our debt.” Gowdy’s office said he is still reviewing Ryan’s proposal but noted “he has voted for all of his previous budgets and respects his work greatly.”
Democrats are painting Ryan's budget as bad news for the middle class and the poor. Ryan's plan would include $125 billion cuts to food stamps over a decade; education funding would be slashed $145 billion, and Pell grants for college students would face a $90 billion reduction. Moreover, students would start getting interest charges on their loans while still in school. More than $2 trillion of the savings in Ryan’s budget would come from repealing Obamacare, but the law is increasingly popular. More than 7 million Americans signed up for medical insurance coverage by the Monday midnight deadline.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, a leading House Democrat, said Ryan’s plan would condemn America to “a potholed road of economic decline.”
“Of all the reckless Republican budgets we have seen, I regret to say this one is the worst for America,” he said.