House Approves Ryan’s 2012 Budget Plan; Senate Unlikely To Support It
The House on Friday voted 235-193, mostly along party lines, to approve House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) fiscal year 2012 budget resolution (H Con Res 34), which calls for an overhaul of Medicare and Medicaid, the Wall Street Journal reports (Hook/Bendavid, Wall Street Journal, 4/16).
Four Republicans -- Walter Jones (N.C.), David McKinley (W.Va.), Ron Paul (Texas) and Denny Rehberg (Mont.) -- joined all Democrats in voting against the plan (Hennessey/Mascaro, Los Angeles Times, 4/15).
Details of Ryan's Plan
The proposal that Ryan unveiled nearly two weeks ago would make $6 trillion in federal spending cuts over the next decade and attempt to repeal and defund the federal health reform law.
It also would make significant changes to Medicare and Medicaid by providing Medicare beneficiaries with lump-sum vouchers to purchase private insurance and providing states with fixed annual block grants of $11,000 per Medicaid beneficiary to use as they choose (California Healthline, 4/7).
Details of Vote
Before the House voted to approve the Ryan proposal, it rejected four other budget proposals -- three by Democrats and one by GOP members, the Los Angeles Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 4/15):
- A proposal from the House Republican Study Committee that would have raised the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 was defeated 119-136, with 172 members voting "present."
- A proposal by the Congressional Black Caucus that would have allocated $3.96 trillion to help lower the deficit over a 10-year period was defeated 103-303.
- A proposal by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which was designed to cut deficits by $5.7 trillion between 2012 and 2021, was defeated 77-347.
- A plan by House Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), which would have retained Medicare without a voucher program, failed in a 166-259 vote (Carter, CQ Today, 4/15).
Obama Criticizes Ryan Plan During Weekly Address, Interview
In his weekly Internet and radio address on Saturday, Obama said Ryan's proposal is the "wrong" solution to the nation's fiscal difficulties and warned that Republicans are attempting to dismantle the nation's essential safety-net programs (Kuhnehn, AP/Washington Times, 4/16).
Obama referenced a provision in the plan to provide tax breaks for high-income U.S. residents and noted that cutting the deficit requires all sides to make sacrifices. He said, "I don't think it's right to ask seniors to pay thousands more for health care ... just so we don't have to ask those who have prospered so much in this land of opportunity to give back a little more" (Lee, Politico, 4/16).
In an interview on Friday with the Associated Press, Obama said that the GOP plan represents "a pessimistic vision" and emphasized that he is pushing for "a smart compromise that's serious" through his own FY 2012 budget proposal and new deficit-reduction plan (Feller, AP/USA Today, 4/16).
Conrad Eyes 'Gang of Six' Plan as Framework for Senate Proposal
Senate Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) says he wants to consider a plan being developed by the bipartisan "Gang of Six" senators as a framework for the Senate budget blueprint, the Washington Times reports.
The Gang of Six -- which includes Conrad, two other Democrats and three Republicans -- has been working on a Senate budget proposal for several weeks. Conrad has been critical of Ryan's budget proposal since it was released, calling it "partisan and ideological," and "unreasonable and unsustainable" (Lengell, Washington Times, 4/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.