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Ryan Set to Release GOP Budget Plan

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.; photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

The Morning Line

The ultimate goal for President Barack Obama’s renewed outreach to members of Congress is reaching an agreement on a long-term deal to address the country’s deficit. But as the president prepares Tuesday to make the first of four trips to Capitol Hill this week, it’s the issue of the 2014 budget that is taking center stage.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on Tuesday will release his blueprint for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins in October. The plan would seek to cut spending by $4.6 trillion over the next decade while bringing the budget into balance without raising taxes.

The 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee previewed his proposal late Monday in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

“On the current path, spending will increase by 5% each year,” Ryan writes. “Under our proposal, it will increase by 3.4%. 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 economy.”

Ryan also launched a pre-emptive strike against attacks on his suggested reforms to entitlement programs, namely Medicare.

Our budget repeals the president’s health-care law and replaces it with patient-centered reforms. It also protects and strengthens Medicare. I want Medicare to be there for my kids–just as it’s there for my mom today. But Medicare is going broke. Under our proposal, those in or near retirement will see no changes, and future beneficiaries will inherit a program they can count on. Starting in 2024, we’ll offer eligible seniors a range of insurance plans from which they can choose–including traditional Medicare–and help them pay the premiums.

The other side will demagogue this issue. But remember: Anyone who attacks our Medicare proposal without offering a credible alternative is complicit in the program’s demise.

Despite that warning, The Hill’s Cameron Joseph reports that Senate Democrats are making clear they intend to use Ryan’S budget to target Republican candidates in next year’s midterm elections.

“The Ryan budget will be a gift that gives throughout the 2014 cycle for Democrats,” pollster Geoff Garin said Monday on a conference call hosted by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

As Ryan prepares for the expected backlash to his proposal, Senate Democrats are readying their own 2014 budget that could prove to be a tough political sell. The Washington Post’s Lori Montgomery lays out the numbers for the proposal, which is expected to be unveiled Wednesday:

Senate Democrats are drafting a federal budget blueprint that would raise nearly $1 trillion in new taxes over the next decade and slice roughly $1 trillion more from projected spending, according to Democratic aides familiar with the document. >

But the framework would never bring the budget into balance, potentially putting Democrats on the defensive as Washington enters a new phase in the ongoing battle over the swollen national debt.

The New York Times’ Jeremy Peters, meanwhile, writes about the challenge facing Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., who must harmonize a variety of viewpoints among the Democratic members of her panel:

That diversity is one of the major reasons Senate Democrats have not written a spending plan of their own since 2009, given the challenge of bringing together senators from Oregon to Virginia to Vermont who do not always agree on issues like whether cuts should fall more heavily on military or nonmilitary programs, and which tax loopholes to eliminate.

“Dealing with the difference of opinion is tough,” said Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont, an independent who has tried to ensure that the Democrats’ budget does not include an adjustment to the inflation rate that would calculate it in a way that would decrease federal benefits. Mr. Sanders said he was confident the inflation rate calculation would be untouched, but he was not prepared to sign on to Mrs. Murray’s plan until he sees the final document.

“We’ve had long talks; we’ll see what happens,” he said.

That wait-and-see approach could apply to any of the short- or long-term fiscal issues facing lawmakers. The real test for Mr. Obama this week is to see whether his “schmooze offensive” can help advance the process of loosening the stalemate over tax and spending issues. If the budget plans put forward this week are any sign, the president better turn up the charm even more.


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Christina Bellantoni and Simone Pathe contributed to this report.

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