Republicans proposed a budget this week that would cut more than $4 trillion in government spending over the next 10 years. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, spearheaded the effort to reshape long standing federal programs like Medicare in order to cut the United States’ debt.
“We are going to put out a plan that gets our debt on a downward trajectory and gets us to a point of giving our next generation a debt-free nation,” Ryan told reporters after releasing the budget.
Much controversy has come from the proposal, as a budget plan is necessary by Friday in order to keep the government running. The current budget ends Saturday, effectively ending financing for the government if a new budget is not passed.
President Barack Obama met with House Speaker John Boehner yesterday in order to avoid a government shutdown. The president and many Democrats argue that the Republicans are using a time of budget crisis to force a social agenda which cuts spending to programs which Republicans have been attempting to defund for many years, like Planned Parenthood.
The Republican plans are being criticized for supporting rich tax payers and wealthy corporations.
Spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Jesse Ferguson told The New York Times, “Paul Ryan made clear that the Republican budget will protect big oil companies’ subsidies over seniors’ health care.” He continued, commenting that, “It’s already becoming clear who will be the priority in the House Republican budget — special interests, not middle-class families.”
On the other side of the coin, Republicans argue that the current trend of massive government debt cannot be maintained forever. Ryan commented that ambitious and outdated government programs like Social Security and Medicare will need restructuring if the U.S. is going to have a strong financial future, but also clarified the Republican plan.
Commenting on Medicaid, Ryan said that the new plan would not be a voucher system, an idea heavily criticized by the Democrats, but would rather provide, “more for the poor, more for people who get sick, and we don’t give as much money to people who are wealthy.” The new plan will require wealthy people to cover more of their Medicare costs than the poor.
“We want real spending cuts,” Boehner told The New York Times on Friday. “We’re dealing with the discretionary part of the budget.” Notably, the discretionary budget does not include military or defense spending.
“If you just cut from domestic discretionary, you’ll have to cut things like helping students go to college. You’ll have to cut scientific research, including cancer research,” Mr. Schumer recently told reporters. He warned that such cuts might be counterproductive to assisting the recovering economy. “These things have created millions of jobs through the years.”
Despite current disagreements, most lawmakers agree a final budget will be proposed before a government shutdown occurs. “I think we’ll get together,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), said on Sunday.