And the Budget Winner Is... Paul Ryan
The Republican-majority House took a stab at a variety of spending bills, but Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's $3.53 trillion "Path to Prosperity" came out on top of the heap today.
Ryan's budget, which cuts spending $5 trillion over the next decade compared to President Obama's plan, passed 228-191 with 10 Republicans voting "no." Democrats were united in opposing "Prosperity."
"Government has never come up with the magic formula to micromanage America," Ryan said on the House floor. "Let alone lower costs and improve quality. It’s time to put 50 million seniors, not 15 bureaucrats in charge of their own health care decisions. Forcing insurance companies to compete, that’s the only way to guarantee quality affordable health care for seniors that lasts for generations. That’s the answer to what comes next."
The ten GOP defectors were Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.), Joe Barton (Texas), John Duncan Jr. (Tenn.), Chris Gibson (N.Y.), Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), Walter Jones (N.C.), David McKinley (W.Va.), Todd Platts (Pa.), Denny Rehberg (Mont.) and Ed Whitfield (Ky.).
The Republican Study Committee plan from House conservatives that was leaner than the Ryan plan -- "Cut, Cap and Balance" -- failed, but received a good chunk of rightward support.
"Thank you to the 135 colleagues who voted with me to return spending to 2008 levels and balance the budget in 5 years," RSC Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said. "Your kids will thank you for trying to offer them a better future.”
Out of the 285 "no" votes, 104 were Republicans.
Barton was one of the "yes" votes, opting for the RSC's five-year balancing plan over Ryan's longer-term proposal.
“We are playing a little bit of a shell game. Each year we keep putting off the tough decisions – cutting a little less than we said we would, vowing to do it in the future," he said. "The cuts never seem to happen and now the national debt is more than $15 trillion and climbing fast. It is time to stop kicking the can down the road and display some political courage."
The Democratic counter to Ryan's plan, offered by Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), promised to stand "in stark contrast" to the "Path to Prosperity," Van Hollen said. It came without specifics to generate $1 trillion in new tax revenue and offered no timeframe for a balanced budget.
It failed 163-262.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus "Budget for All," which had a $2.9 trillion spending hike supported by $6.8 trillion in new taxes over the next decade, got just 78 "yes" votes -- one more than last year's proposal.
“Anyone who thinks trillions of dollars in cuts and more corporate giveaways are what the country needs has been sleeping through the last two years,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said. “This budget responds to what the people need, what the economy requires and what the Progressive Caucus believes in."
CPC co-chairmen Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) accused Republicans of a "scheme" to "sweep the competition under the rug" by moving debate on the measure to Wednesday night.