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Budget battle

"Budget battle" Continued...

Ryan urged Americans to compare his outline to what the Democrats are proposing. That has been hard to do of late. Obama, who faced a legal deadline of Feb. 4 for submitting a budget, still has not released his plan despite being more than a month late. And the Democratic-led Senate has not adopted a budget in nearly four years. That has left Republicans on the defensive in previous years, having to explain their spending plans to voters while having contrasting plan from the other side. But now Senate Democrats have pledged to adopt a budget this year, and that is why Ryan spent so much of his Tuesday press conference urging Americans to take a look at the two competing visions. 

Despite Ryan’s challenge, neither Obama’s budget nor the Senate plan will balance the budget. Reports suggest that the Senate plan, to be introduced later this week, will seek nearly $1 trillion in new revenue. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, said balancing the budget was not one of Obama’s goals.

“It should not be deficit reduction for deficit reduction’s sake,” Carney said of federal budgeting.

Republicans are hoping the Senate’s adoption of a budget plan this year will revive the regular budgeting process and provide voters with a clear contrast between the spending philosophies of the two parties.

Democrats will argue that the austerity in Ryan’s plan would be too painful for a nation that has grown dependent on federal government dollars. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wasted no time going after Ryan’s budget on Tuesday, labeling the plan “extreme” and full of “draconian cuts” to government services.

“It guts investments in education, healthcare, public safety, scientific research, and job-creating clean energy technology,” Reid said. “The Republican budget also devastates the economy, costing jobs and slowing growth.”

Democrats will use caricatures of Ryan’s budget in their efforts to regain control of the House in the 2014 elections. But Republicans, for the first time in four years, will have a Democratic-authored alternative budget in the Senate to poke and prod. Republicans will point out how the Democrats will push for more taxes. Such revenue increases may be a hard sale for incumbent Democratic lawmakers from red states, particularly for those facing reelection.

“Will enough Senate Democrats be willing to endorse a plan that taxes more so that Washington can spend more,” asked Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga. It is a question a lot of Republican lawmakers will be asking voters during the next two years.

In laying out the Republican’s vision and priorities for Washington spending, Ryan is urging lawmakers to stop measuring success by how much money the government spends and instead put more emphasis on what works.

“We have put so much money in welfare program, but we have 46 million people living in poverty,” Ryan said. “That is among the highest rates of poverty we have had in a generation.”

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee is WORLD's Washington Bureau chief. As a reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, he was embedded with a National Guard unit in Iraq. He also once worked in the press office of Sen. Lamar Alexander.

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