Nothing New in the House Republican Budget

Well, it looks like reporters could have saved their time and reprinted their budget preview stories from last year.  Once again, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s Republican Budget is expected to include extreme cuts to critical programs – even worse than previous years – and is nothing more than a political messaging document. We’ve all seen this story before, and know how it ends.                                                                       

Wall Street Journal: House GOP Sees Budget Blueprint as Its Best Midterm Play

As it did last year, the budget would likely assume a repeal of the 2010 health law and allow the GOP to say it has a plan to balance the budget in the next decade, both core principles for the midterms.”                                          

“The strategy isn't without political risk. This spring's House GOP budget would have to propose spending cuts deeper than the previous blueprint, to make up for a gloomier economic forecast from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

“And to pass the House, the GOP budget would have to overcome the objections of many of the 62 House Republicans who voted against the December bipartisan budget deal, because most, if not all, Democrats will oppose the Republican blueprint.”

Roll Call: House Budget Priority: Energizing Election-Year Base

House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan’s fiscal blueprint is shaping up to be more political than previous budget resolutions that served largely as a manifestos of party policy. That’s in part because it is an election year…

“Some budget experts think it will be difficult, if not impossible, for GOP leaders to get enough Republican votes to adopt the Ryan budget resolution because it is expected to include deeper and more accelerated spending cuts than the Wisconsin Republican’s past budgets.”

“Cole said the House Republican Conference ‘needs to go out and prove to our base again, we back what Ryan says, that does represent the economic vision and thinking of our conference and we’re willing to make the statement and put it out there.’”

“Larry J. Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said in off-year elections, both parties will try to rally loyalists and ‘the Ryan budget will be music to tea party and other conservatives’ ears. Just another version of ‘It’s Time for a Change,” the most durable campaign slogan in American history.’”

Washington Post: House GOP budget will focus on reforming welfare, overhauling social programs

“As a direct counter to President Obama’s recent emphasis on the gap between rich and poor, the upcoming House Republican budget will focus on welfare reform and recommend a sweeping overhaul of social programs, including Head Start and Medicaid.”

The push, led by Rep. Paul Ryan, returns the GOP’s attention to a policy front that animated the party in the 1990s and signals Republicans’ desire to expand their pitch to voters ahead of this year’s midterm elections. This new effort comes after the party spent months fixated on combating the federal health-care law and engaged in intraparty squabbles over fiscal strategy.”

The Hill: Ryan runs into roadblocks on budget

“The Wisconsin Republican has just days to finalize his new budget resolution, and analysts say making the math work is less of a challenge than getting political buy-in from the GOP conference.”

“To pay for the $350 billion in increased defense spending after 2015, Ryan would likely need to cut non-defense discretionary spending to keep the budget in balance, experts said.”

“But that could alienate appropriators and centrist members. Last year, the House had to pull a transportation funding bill written at sequester levels from the floor.”

“’The political support to enact all the individual pieces of the Ryan budget I don’t think is there,’ said Marc Goldwein of the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget. ‘Even getting all Republicans on board to agree to something is a huge uphill climb.’”

“Analyst Josh Gordon of The Concord Coalition noted that including more than $130 billion in cuts to food stamps seems especially unrealistic given the farm bill, which cut the program by $8 billion.”

“’Can you make it add [up] mathematically? You take $1 trillion out of entitlements. Does it make sense from a policy point of view or politically? It strikes me as absolutely bizarre,’ said Scott Lilly of the liberal Center for American Progress.”

“He predicted that Ryan’s messaging on the budget will focus on poverty program cuts to distract from cuts that will affect seniors, a key GOP voting block in the coming midterm election.”