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White House rips Ryan budget plan

March 12, 2013 at 5:27 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., proposed a plan he said will balance the budget by 2023 but the White House said "the math doesn't add up."

The plan proposed Tuesday by Ryan -- the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2012 -- relies on the same proposals contained in his 2012 campaign to balance the budget in 10 years, The New York Times reported. Called the "Pathway to Prosperity," as it was during the campaign, the plan would cut spending by $4.6 trillion through 2023 by rolling back President Barack Obama's legislative accomplishments while taking advantage of the savings they created, the Times said.

"While the House Republican budget aims to reduce the deficit, the math just doesn't add up," the White House said in a statement. "Deficit reduction that asks nothing from the wealthiest Americans has serious consequences for the middle class. By choosing to give the wealthiest Americans a new tax cut, this budget as written will either fail to achieve any meaningful deficit reduction, raise taxes on middle class families by more than $2,000 -- or both."

The White House said Ryan's plan does not "ask for a single dime of deficit reduction from closing tax loopholes for the wealthy and well-connected," but calls for "deep cuts to investments like education and research -- investments critical to creating jobs and growing the middle class. And to save money, this budget would turn Medicare into a voucher program -- undercutting the guaranteed benefits that seniors have earned and forcing them to pay thousands more out of their own pockets."

The statement said Obama will continue to work with Republicans to "cut the deficit in a balanced. way."

A proposed Democratic budget, the first in four years, has $1 trillion in new taxes but does not balance the budget, The Hill reported.

Liberal Democrats met with President Obama for 90 minutes Tuesday and challenged him over his seeming willingness to cut Social Security benefits, the newpspaper said.

Obama has said he is open to a "chained CPI," a formula that generates less Social Security benefits, as part of a bargain with Republicans that include new revenue and cuts, The Hill reported.

The newspaper said Obama refused to back down from that position during the closed door meeting with Democrats.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, issued a statement calling on Obama and Senate Democrats to follow our lead."

"We owe it to the American people to balance the federal budget -- and Republicans have a plan to do it in 10 years," Boehner said. "Our balanced budget is focused on growing our economy and expanding opportunities for all Americans. It cuts government waste, fixes our broken tax code to help create new jobs and increase wages for working families, repairs the safety net for struggling Americans, and protects and strengthens important priorities like Medicare and defense."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement Ryan's budget proposal is "nothing more than more of the same. It still destroys jobs and puts our economic recovery at risk. It still protects the wealthiest at the expense of the middle class. It still undermines the health and economic security of the elderly and disabled. It still ends the Medicare guarantee and shifts costs to seniors."

Pelosi said the Ryan plan "is an exercise in contradictions" because it would "repeal the Affordable Care Act while counting on the law's savings" to achieve a balanced budget.

"Americans deserve better than the same old fuzzy Republican math and budget gimmicks," Pelosi said.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank, said its analysis found Ryan's proposal balances the budget in less than 10 years, without raising taxes, and keeps the budget in balance thereafter; swiftly overhauls entitlement programs, including Social Security; repeals the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, in its entirety; fully funds defense; rolls back discretionary spending; and rolls back recent tax increases "with a sweeping, growth-oriented tax reform plan and caps taxes at the historical average of 18.5 percent."

The budget plan would preserve Medicare cuts -- denounced by the GOP in the 2012 campaign -- and would eliminate the subsidized insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act, the Times said. The plan also would repeal Wall Street regulatory reform enacted during Obama's first term.

Obama has said he will release his budget proposal in April.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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