(NBC NEWS) -- Republicans set the stage for this spring's fiscal battles by
readying the debut of their new budget blueprint on Tuesday, which they
said would achieve $4.6 trillion in savings and balance the U.S. budget
within a decade.
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., argued that his
forthcoming budget — the third he's authored as chairman of the House
Budget Committee — would be able to achieve a balanced budget by 2023,
and boost the gross national product by as much as 1.7 percent in the
The plan is unlikely to ever become law in its
entirety; it assumes a repeal of President Barack Obama's health care
reform law, and collects no new revenue from taxes, two elements which
are unpalatable to Democrats.
But budgets are often more political statements about a party's
priorities than a hard governing blueprint. With that in mind, Ryan, the
2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, sought to inoculate Republicans
from criticism of the budget, and play offense against Democrats'
"Our opponents will shout austerity, but let's put this in perspective," Ryan wrote in an op-ed to be published in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal.
"On the current path, spending will increase by 5 percent each year.
Under our proposal, it will increase by 3.4 percent. Because the U.S.
economy will grow faster than spending, the budget will balance by 2023,
and debt held by the public will drop to just over half the size of the
Ryan was set to detail his full plan in a press
conference on Tuesday morning, but his op-ed contained key elements of
the budget. Ryan's plan would:
Achieve a total of $4.6 trillion in savings over the next decade
Enact tax reform that closes loopholes and deductions, while
reducing the number of income brackets to two — one at 10 percent, the
other at 25 percent
Change Medicare to a model in which future retirees would receive
"premium supports" (Democrats call them vouchers) to subsidize the
purchase of insurance from a menu of options, including traditional
Repeal the president's health care reform law
Approve the proposed Keystone XL transnational oil pipeline
Enact welfare reforms to give states more flexibility in enforcing the program
There are other aspects of Ryan's plan that the Wisconsin
congressman will outline tomorrow. Many elements of the new Ryan budget
are familiar Republican proposals, weaved together in a comprehensive
statement of governing principles.
The new budget, however, is
only the opening salvo in a budget battle that could stretch throughout
much of the spring. Congress acted earlier this year to extend the debt
limit through mid-May, but only on the condition that the House and the
Senate each pass a budget. The Senate budget, authored by Democrats, and
their first in years, is also due this week.
And the political fighting over the dueling proposals has already begun.
hate to break the suspense, but their budget won't balance—ever," Ryan
wrote. "We House Republicans have done our part … Now we invite the
president and Senate Democrats to join in the effort."
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