House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.
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.
A judge struck down New York City’s size limits on sugary drinks, calling the restrictions “arbitrary and capricious.” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday he would immediately appeal the decision. “We believe that the judge’s decision was clearly in error, and we believe we will win on appeal,” he said.
Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, wrote a letter to Mr. Obama on Monday saying she was disappointed that none of his second term Cabinet selections have been African-American. “You have publicly expressed your commitment to retaining diversity within your cabinet,” Fudge wrote. “However, the people you have chosen to appoint in this new term have hardly been reflective of this country’s diversity.”
The Associated Press reports that the Obama administration is now denying more Freedom of Information requests than in its previous years. The analysis coincides with Sunshine Week, which promotes journalism that presses for open government.
The White House also celebrates Sunshine Week, starting with this blog post on how it has reduced the FOI request backlog in the federal government.
Ed O’Keefe has the skinny on Thursday’s menu for Mr. Obama’s lunch with Senate Republicans, as chosen by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine: University of Maine lobster, Fox family potato chips and wild Maine blueberry pie.
Josh Rogin has the best headline about former Sen. Joe Lieberman joining the American Enterprise Institute.
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was found guilty Monday on 24 of 30 corruption charges, including extortion, bribery and racketeering. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
A report out Tuesday on the state of school buildings in the U.S. finds it would take more than $500 billion to bring them up to date (not even accounting for student population growth), the Associated Press reports.
Roll Call’s Joshua Miller reports that the League of Conservation Voters has made a six-figure field investment in Rep. Ed Markey ahead of next month’s Massachusetts Democratic primary for the special Senate election. Markey has made a television ad buy expected to air Monday.
Former Politico reporter David Catanese started a blog that ranks and handicaps the possible 2016 presidential bidders. It’s called The Run 2016.
EMILY’s List is setting its sights on governors’ mansions in 2014, talking to women in 15 states.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is on the road for a “Listening Tour,” meeting with black Republicans in Brooklyn on Monday ahead of the release of the party’s postmortem of the 2012 election from its “Growth and Opportunity Project.”
The Republican Party will address its technological shortcomings for the 2016 presidential election with a “major restructuring” of digital strategy, NBC News reports.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington compares Louisiana GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal’s dealings with companies to Frank Underwood of “House of Cards.”
Steve Goldbloom gets a little irreverent in the latest edition of PBS’ SXSW Diaries.
- Today’s tidbit from NewsHour partner Face the Facts USA shows how fast the BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China — are growing economically compared with the United States.
- The NewsHour looks into the digital afterlife and the legal issues after someone dies and leaves behind a social media presence. Watch the segment here or below:
- Correspondent Judy Woodruff spoke with a former Afghan ambassador to the United States and a career U.S. diplomat on relations with Afghanistan after two U.S. soldiers were killed in an attack.
Victory in NYC for liberty-loving soda drinkers. To politicians with too much time on their hands we say: Govt, stay out of my refrigerator!
— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) March 12, 2013
Why Does (INSERT 2014 Democrat here) Want To Raise Your Hamburger Prices?ow.ly/iLwoO
— Brad Dayspring (@BDayspring) March 11, 2013
Pentagon is only place you can arrive at 0710 and feel late for day. Except of course @gma where you would be very late!
— Martha Raddatz (@MarthaRaddatz) March 12, 2013
— Sunlight Foundation (@SunFoundation) March 11, 2013
This woman in front of the WH wins the day: she KNITTED a pie chart of the US budget onto an umbrella. twitter.com/jbendery/statu…
— jennifer bendery (@jbendery) March 11, 2013
— P.J. Tobia (@PJTobia) March 11, 2013
Christina Bellantoni and Simone Pathe contributed to this report.
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