House Republicans Unveil New Budget Blueprint

                                                    (Image Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/AP Photo)

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled his latest budget blueprint today, proposing to cut spending and enact significant tax and entitlement reform, but drawing disdain and disapproval from the White House and Washington Democrats in the process.

Ryan held a morning news conference with reporters on Capitol Hill to explain his updated budget, a 99-page document titled "The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal."

"Look at where our country is headed.  Look at where the president and his budget [are] taking the country.  The president's budget is putting us on a path of a debt crisis, of decline, and these are the deficits that are in store for America if we stay with the status quo," Ryan, R-Wis., said. "We propose to get our budget on a sustainable path.  We propose to get our budget not only on a path to balance but on to paying off the debt on a path to prosperity.

Ryan's proposal would raise $2.73 trillion in tax revenue in 2013, leaving a $800 billion projected deficit for 2013 compared to $3.53 trillion in budget outlays. It also claims $5 trillion less relative to the president's budget spending proposal, and spends $3.5 trillion less over 10 years than the current spending levels. It also brings deficits below 3 percent of GDP by 2015.

"The House budget once again fails the test of balance, fairness, and shared responsibility," White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer wrote in a statement today. "The House economic plan draws on the same wrong-headed theory that led to the worst recession of our lifetimes and contributed to the erosion of middle-class security over the last decade.  And the President believes we cannot return to a failed theory that didn't lead to the growth of jobs, incomes, or the economy." 

House Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., contributed his input in crafting proposed changes to the tax code. The plan would consolidate six individual income-tax brackets into just two brackets of 10 percent and 25 percent. Ryan and Camp also propose to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent and call for an end to the alternative minimum tax credit.

Ryan also partnered with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon late last year to craft an alternative to Medicare that would let beneficiaries use premiums to buy into traditional Medicare as well as opt into private insurance.

"We believe competition and choice should be the way forward versus price controls that lead to rationing," the Wisconsin Republican said. "We preserve the Medicare guarantee for today's seniors so they can count on the benefit that they've organized their retirement around, and we preserve that guarantee going into the future for tomorrow's seniors by empowering them with choices, including a fee-for-service traditional option within a premium support system."

Last year's budget blueprint, also known as the Path to Prosperity, was a lightning rod for criticism from liberals but still passed the House in a partisan vote.

Already, the updated document is under fire with Democrats questioning whether candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president will endorse the proposal.

"If you're Mitt Romney you're going to love this budget, which provides another round of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and does it at the expense of middle class taxpayers and senior citizens," Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the top-ranked House Budget Democrat, stated. "The Republican plan will do nothing to promote jobs, rebuild our country, or support working families."

Another idea Democrats are opposed to is the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  House Democrats have mounted opposition to the budget by calling attention to the two-year anniversary of the president's health care law and the benefits it has created.

"The Republican proposal would end the Medicare guarantee, shift costs to seniors, and let Medicare wither on the vine, while providing billions in tax breaks for Big Oil and special interests, and destroying American jobs," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote in a statement today. "Our budget must always be a statement of our values - a reflection of our commitment to fairness and opportunity for all Americans.  The Republican budget once again fails that test."

Ryan is set to begin marking up his bill in committee Wednesday.

Republicans hope to have the budget resolution on the floor for consideration by the end of the month, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has said the Senate will not consider a budget for the third straight year. Instead, Senate Democrats have insisted Republicans adhere to spending levels agreed to in the Budget Control Act.

Ryan's proposal lowers the discretionary spending cap from $1.047 trillion to $1.028 trillion for FY2013. He also calls for budget reconciliation though the creation of six advisory panels to devise cuts respective to their committee to  avert the sequestration cuts mandated by the failure of the supercommittee last year.

"The sequester is coming.  Now a lot of people in Washington would like to simply ignore this.  A lot of people in Washington would like to simply think that we can spend as we're going and ignore the fact that on January 2nd, the sequester kicks in We don't think we should ignore this," Ryan said. "This plan of action is about putting an end to empty promises from a bankrupt government and restoring the fundamental promise of America, ensuring that our children have more opportunity than we do.  That's the American idea."