Democrats and House Republican Budget Chairman Paul Ryan agree on this: Ryan’s budget should be a central issue in the coming presidential campaign.
The Republican candidates have yet to publicly embrace Ryan’s plan — which includes deep spending cuts, controversial changes to Medicare and cuts in income tax rates – but Ryan said today that he has spoken to them all about his budget and that they all support it.
“We do believe that our nominee, whoever this person is going to be, is going to be perfectly consistent with this,” Ryan told reporters as he unveiled his “Road to Prosperity budget. “I’ve spoken to all of these guys – and they believe that we are heading in the right direction.”
Democrats believe the Ryan plan is a political gift – a chance to portray Republicans as hell-bent on cutting Medicare and giving more tax cuts to the wealthy.
“This is not just the Ryan plan or the House budget, this is the Republican vision for this country,” said Matt Canter, spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “No matter how often they duck the issue or dodge the question, every single Republican candidate in the country will have to answer for their party’s dangerous plan.”
It’s a tactic Democrats used successfully last year to defeat Republican House candidate Jane Corwin in a special election in New York shortly after Ryan unveiled his last budget.
Ryan, however, said his budget will help the Republican presidential nominee by drawing a contrast with President Obama, who has seen the national debt increase more than $4.9 trillion since he took office – adding more to the debt in just over three years than George W. Bush did in eight years.
“Our nominee owes it to the country to give them a choice of two futures,” Ryan said. “We’re helping him do that.”
“The President and his party are ignoring this problem,” Ryan added. “And if we have a debt crisis, the people that get hurt the first and the worst are the poor and the elderly. We will be cutting indiscriminately just like they are doing in Greece. We have a moral and legal obligation to budget, to show how we will prevent this crisis-this most predictable crisis – from coming. And so yes, I expect our nominee, whoever he is, to talk about how he proposes to fix this problem.”