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Posted at 03:10 PM ET, 04/07/2011

Conservative Republicans, liberal Democrats release alternative budget proposals

Two groups on opposite sides of the ideological spectrum on Thursday released their proposals for the fiscal year 2012 budget in response to the House Republican budget introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) earlier this week.

The Republican Study Committee, a group of more than 175 conservative House members, has titled its proposed budget “Honest Solutions.” In a conference call with reporters Thursday afternoon, RSC Chairman Jim Jordan (Ohio) and three other members of the RSC’s Budget and Spending Task Force said that they planned to vote for both the Ryan plan, dubbed “The Path to Prosperity,” and the RSC’s plan.

”We view this as a complementary effort,” Jordan said. “We view it as a tradition of RSC and an obligation for the conservative caucus here on Capitol Hill.”

The Congressional Progressive Caucus, meanwhile, which represents about 80 House Democrats, has begun rolling out its own plan for an alternative budget.

In a letter to Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, CPC Co-Chairs Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) outlined their budget plan, dubbed “The People’s Budget.”

“We can present a clear alternative to the American people,” the two wrote. “We can and must produce a budget that eliminates the deficit, protects the American people, and creates jobs. ... This budget saves the American people from the recklessness of the Republican majority.”

The two alternative budgets will likely be considered next week along with Ryan’s plan and the House Democratic leadership proposal, which Van Hollen has yet to unveil in detail.

On Thursday’s conference call, Jordan noted that the RSC’s budget for the last fiscal year garnered 111 votes and said that the group’s leadership “would love” for its budget this year to win the 218 necessary for passage, although RSC leaders have not been keeping close track of how members plan to vote.

“We’re hopeful that we can get more than 111 votes, but we haven’t talked with our members specifically about that question,” Jordan said.

House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (Texas) told reporters on Wednesday that he expected many House Republicans would vote for both the RSC budget and the Ryan budget.

The RSC budget would balance the federal budget by 2020 and enact $9.5 trillion in cuts over the next decade; Ryan’s plan would bring the budget into balance by 2030 and make $6.2 trillion in cuts.

The RSC budget would also overhaul Medicare and Medicaid and slowly raise the retirement age to 70 years through increases in two-month increments for workers currently under 60. In addition, it would freeze federal discretionary spending at 2008 levels beginning in 2013, cut non-defense discretionary spending from $409 billion in 2012 to $218 billion in 2021, and would also meet Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ defense spending request.

The CPC plan, according to the outline released Thursday, would create a budget surplus by 2021 and reduce the deficit by $5.7 trillion by 2021. It would also rescind the Bush-era tax cuts for higher earners, enact a health-care public option and reduce defense spending.

The full RSC budget outline is here; the CPC budget outline is here.

By  |  03:10 PM ET, 04/07/2011

 
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