WASHINGTON, April 5 (UPI) -- House Republicans Tuesday released a 2012 budget proposal that would slash $5.8 trillion over the next 10 years, casting the GOP as more willing to make cuts.
The proposal, introduced by budget committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., involves deep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid but for the most part avoids major reforms to Social Security, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The plan has almost no chance of passing, as it includes a repeal of President Obama's landmark healthcare reform legislation -- a prospect Senate Democrats cannot countenance -- and Ryan admitted it would not deliver a balanced budget until the 2030s. The proposal would maintain tax cuts enacted by President George W. Bush and lower the top income tax rate from 35 percent to 24 percent.
"This is not a budget, this is a cause," Ryan said surrounded by a dozen of his House colleagues. "We can all do something else with our lives. We are here to fix this country's problems. We cannot keep fearing what the other party can do to us if we try to solve this problem."
"I think that it completely lacks balance," Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., told The Hill. "He has dramatic cuts in taxes for the wealthiest among us and finances that by draconian cuts to those of us who are dependent on Medicaid and Medicare."
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said Ryan's plan would "end Medicare as we know it and funnel Medicare dollars directly into private insurance companies' pockets."
"Under the House plan, seniors' coverage would be cut drastically, benefits would no longer be guaranteed and seniors' costs would skyrocket," Baucus said.
"While we agree with [Ryan's] ultimate goal, we strongly disagree with his approach," the White House said in a statement Tuesday.
"Any plan to reduce our deficit must reflect the American values of fairness and shared sacrifice. Congressman Ryan's plan fails this test. It cuts taxes for millionaires and special interests while placing a greater burden on seniors who depend on Medicare or live in nursing homes …
"The president believes there is a more balanced way to put America on a path to prosperity," the White House statement said. " … Democrats and Republicans have an obligation to find common ground in a way that is true to our values and meets our responsibilities to the American people."