It's a bold plan to slash government spending. But so far, it's falling on deaf ears.
Republicans in the House today unveiled a new plan to cut $6.2 trillion from the federal budget over the next 10 years. Spearheaded by House Budge Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), the proposal is meant to provide a framework for government spending and fiscal responsibility.
On radio today, Ryan talked with Glenn Beck about what's exactly in the proposal, and explained why it's important to pass it.
“We’re talking about shrinking the Federal workforce by 10% over the next three years through attrition, pay freezes in the Federal workforce," he explained to Beck. "We’re talking about cutting discretionary spending on government agencies below 2008 levels. We’re talking about entitlement reform, block granting Medicaid to the states, and doing welfare reform 2.0 which is food stamps, housing programs."
We want to "get people into a system where they don't become complacent and dependent upon government," he added.
According to analysis done by the Heritage Foundation, he said, the new plan "kicks out about a million new jobs next year alone, brings unemployment rate down to 4% by 2015, and producing about 2.5 million new jobs by the end of the decade, a thousand dollars in extra family income...a year, and $1.1 trillion in higher wages, and $1.5 trillion in faster economic growth."
The interview is available in two parts below:
Ryan's plan far exceeds the $1 trillion-plus in budget cuts outlined in President Barack Obama's February budget and is on par with recommendations from Obama's own bipartisan deficit commission in December.
His Budget Committee put together a YouTube video explaining the plan:
Under the decidedly arcane congressional budget process, the GOP plan is not actual legislation but provides a nonbinding, theoretical framework for future action in Congress. And with Democrats controlling the Senate, the GOP plan serves more to frame the debate heading into next year's election than represent a program with a chance of passing Congress and actually becoming law.
Despite cuts already deemed draconian by Democrats, Ryan's plan can't claim a balanced budget by the end of the decade - getting the deficit to the $400 billion range after six years - because of promises to not increase taxes or change federal retirement benefits for people 55 and over. But he says the measure would stabilize the nation's finances and prevent a European-style debt crisis that could force far harsher steps.
"We're actually saving Medicare and Medicaid, making them solvent for future generations," Ryan told the Associated Press. "And, yes, we're cutting spending. We're cutting a lot of spending, because government is spending way beyond its means."
Tuesday's unveiling of the 2012 budget blueprint comes amid a separate, escalating battle between Republicans and the Obama administration over smaller but more immediate spending cuts for the current budget year. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, had a meeting scheduled at the White House Tuesday for a session with Obama aimed at staving off a government shutdown this weekend.
But by Tuesday afternoon, Boehner said those private talks with President Barack Obama failed to produce a deal to avoid a government shutdown and warned that the House Republicans "will not be put in a box" of accepting options they refuse to endorse.
Short of an agreement to cover the rest of the budget year, Boehner said House Republicans want a stopgap bill that would keep the government running for one more week and slash another $12 billion in spending. The White House has shown no interest in that approach.
Friday is the deadline to avoid a shutdown. Boehner's account of the meeting between Obama and top lawmakers of both parties, released in a statement from his office, did nothing to suggest the White House and Congress were closer to reaching a deal.
Boehner again insisted the parties have not even agreed on a target for spending cuts The White House disputes that.
As the meeting was taking place, White House press secretary Jay Carney had expressed confidence that a deal could still be reached this week as long all sides were reasonable. Yet some public frustration also seeped into the White House's words.
"The fact is that the president is calling this meeting in part because Congress can't get its work done," Carney said as Obama met with Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the top House appropriators from both parties.
The White House has begun advising government agencies on the proper steps in preparation for a shutdown of the government.
But the looming shutdown hasn't shaken Ryan's resolve.
"It’s what I owe you, my children, my constituents," he said of the GOP budget plan. "We owe this to our country."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.