Chairman of the House Budget Committee Rep. Paul Ryan said he’s pleased the president has released a budget (albeit “two months late”), but said he doubts it has the kind of reforms his budget vision includes.
“I want to make sure this isn’t a status quo budget, because the status quo isn’t working,” the Wisconsin Republican said on Wednesday’s Morning Joe. He hadn’t read the budget yet, he said, but has a lot of questions—like how it balances and whether tax hikes just pay for more spending.
Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, said he’s pleased the president has released a budget (albeit “two months late”), but said he doubts it has the kind of reforms his budget vision includes.
“At least we’ve got everybody putting a plan on the table,” he said, hailing the president and Senate’s proposed budgets as a good first step. But senior administration officials told reporters on Tuesday the budget was “not a starting point,” but a “sticking point.”
Obama’s 2014 plan fuses ideas from his base on the left—implementing the Buffet rule, reversing the sequester, expanding pre-school and tax credits for child care—with ideas from the right, like reforming entitlements and only proposing new spending initiatives that are revenue neutral.
“I don’t think the president is going to give us a fundamental entitlement reform” Ryan said. “We put forward a budget that balances; we’ve said here’s how you fundamentally restructure Medicaid and Medicare.”
“He’s creaking the door ever so slightly on entitlement reform,” he said. The president has promised to use chained CPI—a lower measure of inflation in adjusting Social Security benefits to the cost-of-living—and effectively cut the program long-term. Ryan dismissed chained CPI as a “statistical,” not fundamental reform. (Other Republicans have applauded the proposal, however.)
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Democrats aren’t ready to support it. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent, joined progressive groups to protest outside the White House on Tuesday and present a petition with 2.3 million signatures from Americans protesting the cuts to Social Security. “We are here today because there is a serious disconnect between the American people and many of the elites of Washington,” said Nancy Altman, co-director of Social Security Works, said at the protest.
“The president is proposing to steal thousands of dollars from grandparents and veterans by cutting cost-of-living adjustments, and any congressional Democrat who votes for such a plan should be ready for a primary challenge,” Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder Stephanie Taylor said in a statement last week.
Unlike everyone else, though, Republican political consultant Mark McKinnon saw a bright side in Wednesday’s Morning Joe: “If both sides are mad, [the president is] doing something right.”