Mar. 20, 2012 | Two of the East Bay's most prominent lawmakers in Congress harshly criticized today a Republican budget proposal aiming to significantly cut spending over the next decade. The plan issued by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the chairman of the House Budget Committee, would reduce spending by over $5 trillion over the next 10 years--a good chunk targeted by cuts to social services for the poor and elderly. Rep. Barbara Lee called the proposal "an attack on low- and middle-income people."
“This budget proposal confirms that House Republican leaders intend to cut the deficit that they helped create by draining support from vital programs and services," said Lee. "Republicans want to pay for their reckless tax giveaways to millionaires on the backs of our nation’s most vulnerable: working families, seniors, children, and our middle class – and that’s wrong."
This plan is a ‘Roadmap to Ruin’ for our neediest communities and our country, and I will work to ensure that we protect our nation’s most vulnerable populations, who are already bearing the brunt of these difficult economic times.”
The Ryan plan would also make sharp reductions in education and infrastructure, along with cuts to Medicare. Both Lee and Rep. Pete Stark, a long-time member of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, had terse words for an attempt at slashing health care for poor and older Americans.
Stark said the plan would ultimately shift more costs to seniors and allow health care providers to choose to insure the healthiest among them. "This year's Republican Budget, once again, is a plan to dismantle the Medicare guarantee that Americans overwhelmingly support and that seniors and people with disabilities rely on," said Stark.
"The Republican claim that their budget would preserve Medicare is both irresponsible and disingenuous. Beneficiaries would be given a voucher--crafted to decrease in value over time--to buy private insurance or try to stay in traditional Medicare," he said.
The Ryan plan would reduce funding from the nation's safety net by 30 percent, according to an analysis today in the Washington Post. Programs such food stamps, housing assistance and earned-income tax credit would be affected, according to the Post.
In reality, the GOP proposal is likely more of a election year political tool for Republicans to use as a stick against the president's own budget proposal and backloaded with deficit-reduction savings ramping up in coming years. The plan also reduces the tax rate to essentially two brackets--10 and 25 percent. Similarly, the House plan reduces the corporate tax to 25 percent.
The current deficit sits at around $1.8 trillion. Obama's plan would reduce the deficit to $977 billion in the next fiscal year, while the Ryan plan would only lower the deficit to $797 billion, according to The New York Times. Neither proposal brings immediate fiscal health. Obama's plan, according to a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office, found it would still post a $529 billion deficit in 2016, while the House bill still projects a shortfall of $241 billion the same year.