Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ryan introduces GOP budget plan, slashing social programs and tax rates

House Republicans renewed their commitment Tuesday to the politically risky strategy of targeting Medicare and other popular social programs to tame the national debt, unveiling a $3.5 trillion spending plan that would also slash the top tax rate paid by corporations and the wealthy.

The GOP blueprint, authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), is designed to draw a sharp contrast with President Obama heading into the November election in the ideological battle over taxes and spending. But the plan also renews a narrower fight over agency budgets that has tied the Capitol in knots since Republicans took control of the House last year.

Bowing to demands from conservatives influenced by the tea party movement, House leaders are pressing to protect the Pentagon in 2013 while cutting budgets for domestic agencies below levels set during last summer’s showdown over the federal debt ceiling. The decision has alarmed both Democrats and some GOP moderates, who said the move could spark a fresh clash over the annual bills needed to keep the government running into the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

If that dispute is not resolved, Democrats warned that the government — or significant parts of it — could shut down five weeks before the election.
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