Ryan Budget: Why the Senate killed it

The bill made it through the House on Thursday 221-207 by the skin of its teeth. Photo: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) holds up his budget plan AP

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2014 — The Ryan Budget had a snowball’s chance in hell of passing the Senate. And then when five Republicans joined the Democrats in voting against it 59-40, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) bill went down in flames.

The bill did make it through the House on Thursday 221-207, but barely, by the skin of its teeth. Even ten Republicans joined dissenting Democrats. It was touted as plan, like two previous Ryan proposals, as a means to balance the budget within ten years without raising taxes and actually cutting them. Who wouldn’t love such a proposal? Actually most of us.

Here is why the Senate voted to kill it:

* The Ryan proposal called “The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal” balances the budget by cutting spending by $5.7 trillion dollars by slashing middle class programs.

* It would turn Medicare into a voucher system. To counteract that Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) offered an amendment that would prevent Medicare from becoming a voucher system and it passed the Senate 96-3, which means most Republicans agreed with her and the Democrats.

* The Ryan cuts would gouge out revenue for programs like food stamps for the poor.

* It would cut 20% from the domestic agencies such as the FBI and the National Institute of Health.

* It would reform the tax code by reducing the millionaire/billionaire tax rate or the top tax rate by 25%, a cut of 10%. Democrats say that to make up for such a drastic reduction, taxes would have to be raised on the middle class.

* The Ryan plan cuts corporate tax rates even further.

* It would protect the Pentagon from any spending cuts.

* It would fully repeal Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act.

* States and local governments would be hit hard by the cuts, losing $247 billion in federal funding for education, law enforcement, water treatment, and disaster response.  Also state and local grants would get the ax, ultimately resulting in injuring the economic recovery and slowing job growth as state and local governments lay off workers to offset the cuts in federal aid.

Is it any wonder the Ryan Proposal went nowhere for the third year in the row? And this list is just the tip of the iceberg.

And yet the Republican leadership boasts of its bigness and boldness. It certainly is that, but nothing to boast about, much less run on in 2014.

The extreme plan has had its vote. Now it’s time for the Republicans to quit strutting around the corridors of power, playing Big Man on Capitol Hill and get down to doing the work of the people, the reason they were sent there in the first place. They were not voted into office to toss out another piece of legislation that barely got through the House and received a No vote by even conservatives in the Senate.

Stop the games and do the hard work of governing.

To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib at the Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. She can also be heard on Democrats for America’s Future. She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media.


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Catherine Poe

Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. She has been a guest of President Obama in the Rose Garden.

As past president of Long Island NOW, she worked to reform women's prisons in New York, open the construction trades to women, change laws to safeguard battered women, and protect the rights of rape victims. 

Long active in Democratic politics, she served as the presidentof the Talbot Democrats in Maryland for six years and fought to getthe Health Care Reform bill passed.

Catherine has been published in a diverse range of newspapers and magazines, including Newsday, Star Democrat, Rocky Mountain News, Yellowstone News, and the Massachusetts Review.

If Catherine has learned anything over the years it is that progressive change does not come easily, but in baby steps. 

Contact Catherine Poe

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