The plan would cut spending on the major programs for the poor, including Medicaid and food stamps, while giving the states greater responsibility for their administration. Recipients would also be given a deadline to find work and get off the dole.
Education and job training programs would be consolidated and “modernized,” the plan says. And spending on Pell grants would be reduced and retargeted toward low-income college students most in need of assistance.
Conservative Republicans unveiled a budget blueprint that combines slashing cuts to safety net programs for the poor with sharply lower tax rates in an election-year manifesto painting clear differences with President Barack Obama.
On Medicare — a flash point last year — the Ryan budget once again proposes to raise the eligibility age to 67 and cap spending on those who turn 65 after 2023, offering them a set amount with which to purchase private health insurance on newly created federal exchanges. In reaction to Democratic criticism that his plan “ends Medicare,” Ryan now aims to preserve traditional Medicare as an option, though it could cost seniors more than the cheaper private plans.
All told, Ryan proposes to slash federal spending by $5.3 trillion over the next decade, compared with Obama’s latest budget blueprint. But deficits under the Ryan budget would be only about $3.3 trillion smaller because his plan would generate less tax revenue.
On taxes, Ryan proposes to collapse today’s six brackets into two. The bottom 10 percent rate would be preserved, while the top rate would fall from 35 percent to 25 percent. Corporations would get the same reduction, as well as dramatically lower rates on profits earned overseas.
To pay for those changes, Ryan proposes to wipe out deductions, credits and other tax breaks that benefit people at every income level. Neither he nor House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) would spell out specifics on Tuesday.
“We owe the country an alternative path if we don’t like the path the president is taking us on. Whoever our nominee is going to be owes the country that choice of two futures,” Ryan said. “We’re helping them put this together.”
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney immediately endorsed the Ryan budget, calling it “a bold and exciting effort.” Former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) was silent. Meanwhile, reaction from the White House was sharp.
“The House budget once again fails the test of balance, fairness and shared responsibility,” White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement. “It would shower the wealthiest few Americans with an average tax cut of at least $150,000” — paid for, he said, “by undermining Medicare.”