House Republicans Passed the Ryan Budget Plan FY2013: A Nation Divided

House Republicans Passed the Ryan Budget Plan FY2013. The House Budget Committee Chairman, US Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., entitled his FY2013 budget plan “The Path to Prosperity”.  The Ryan Budget Plan for FY2013 has faced strong opposition by House Democrats  and others. Many opponents assert that the Ryan budget irresponsibly seeks to balance the federal budget on the backs of the poor and other vulnerable citizens.  Opponents to the Ryan budget assert that, we, as a nation, must find a balanced approach to the federal budget that will serve to protect investments in our nation’s greatest resource its people.

On Thursday of this week, the Republican-led US House of Representatives passed the Ryan Budget Plan FY2013 by a partisan vote of 228 to 191. Ten Republicans voted against the bill, and no Democrats voted for it. The Ryan Budget Plan and the resulting vote in the House highlight the deep divisions in the vision for this nation.

Opponents to the Ryan Budget Plan call it anything but a road map to financial health for this nation. One such opponent to the Ryan Budget Plan is Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)[i].  Van Hollen is the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee. Since the passage of the Ryan budget by the House, Van Hollen and others have been writing and speaking about the devastating implications of the Ryan Budget.

When discussing his budget plan, U.S. Rep. Ryan promised that it would free America “from the crushing burden of debt now threatening its future.” Opponents to the Ryan Budget Plan assert that it would do no such thing. To the contrary, the Tax Policy Center says that “… major tax cuts included in the Ryan budget would reduce federal revenue by $418 billion in 2015 alone; by 2019, revenue losses would exceed half a trillion dollars each and every year. That will make the deficit worse, not better…”

US Rep. Van Hollen asserts that the Ryan Budget Plan is a $3.5 trillion budget bill that has no chance of becoming law but that draws a clear line in the sand between Republican and Democratic goals for our nation.  Van Hollen and other opponents have stated that instead of working with President Obama on a balanced approach, House Republicans passed a radical budget that seeks to: not only maintain but expand the Bush tax cuts; end the Medicare guarantee; Medicaid budget would be cut by $810 billion. Two-thirds of Medicaid spending covers seniors and people with disabilities; reduce the number of Pell Grant awards; and allow interest rates on loans to double in July. If House Budget Committee Chairman, US Rep. Paul Ryan,  has his way with his proposed budget resolution, Medicare will be privatized and Medicaid, food stamps, and countless other federal entitlement programs will be eliminated. The cuts under Ryan’s budget proposal, if implemented, would drastically increase income inequality and poverty.

While the Ryan budget reduced health, education, welfare, and transportation spending, the defense department budget was increased. Although, the Defense Department recommended a decrease in defense spending, its budget recommendation went unheard by House Budget Committee Chairman, US Rep. Paul Ryan.  In response to the divided opinion on the defense department budget line, Ryan responded that, “the Generals aren’t giving us their “true advice”…” Meanwhile, the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy aren’t just extended, they’re vastly expanded. Billionaires and corporations that ship jobs overseas would receive millions while seniors are forced to pay more for their health care.

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[i] “Van Hollen was elected to Congress in 2002 in a high-profile election that received national attention. He quickly earned a reputation as an active, engaged, and effective member of Congress, rising to become one of the youngest members of the Democratic leadership in 2008. In addition to representing the Eighth District of Maryland and serving in House leadership, Congressman Van Hollen was elected by his colleagues in 2010 to serve as the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee. In this position, he is working to advance policies that support job creation and economic growth, reduce the deficit, and put America on a path to long-term fiscal sustainability.”

“The Washington Post named Chris Van Hollen one of “10 members to watch in the 112th Congress.” Roll Call has noted that “Van Hollen gets near-universal respect from his colleagues for his intellectual firepower and combination of policy and political chops.””

“Congressman Van Hollen is a tireless advocate for Maryland in Congress, and his leadership has helped to obtain funding for a wide range of critical investments in our community, including infrastructure, biotechnology and education; public transportation in the Washington National Capital area; and anti-gang initiatives. Congressman Van Hollen was recognized by Washingtonian Magazine as the ‘Best Metro Area Member of Congress’ in 2010 and as the ‘Best Local Elected Official’ by Bethesda Magazine in 2008.”

“Throughout his career, Congressman Van Hollen has been a champion of education, energy, the environment, health care, and civil rights. He is a leader on cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, and fought successfully to obtain a historic boost in federal funds for the Bay as part of the Farm Bill and to secure provisions in the Recovery Act that provided loan guarantees for renewable energy projects. He also played an integral role in the effort to pass comprehensive health care reform and fought to ensure that young adults receive expanded access to health insurance. He has been a staunch advocate for critical government reforms. He led the fight to pass far-reaching lobbying disclosure reform and has been a key supporter of whistleblower protections. A former professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Congressman Van Hollen has a strong background in national security policy. He lived and studied abroad in South Asia and has remained active in issues related to U.S. foreign policy in that region and around the world.”

“Congressman Van Hollen has received numerous leadership awards for his legislative activities, including the Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s “Climate Champion of the Year” award for his contribution to clean-energy policies; the “Community Health Superhero Award” from the National Association of Community Health Centers for his efforts on behalf of the uninsured and medically underserved Americans; the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce’s “Legislator of the Year” award; Progressive Maryland’s “Champion of Working Families” award; the Maryland Executive Council for Educational Opportunities’ “Excellence in Educational Advocacy” award; and the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s “Representative of the Year” award.”

“Before his election to the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Van Hollen served 4 years in the Maryland House of Delegates and 8 years in the Maryland Senate. His legislative record in Annapolis earned him the praise of The Washington Post, which called him “one of the most effective members of the Maryland legislature.” He is a graduate of Swarthmore College, the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and Georgetown University Law Center. He lives in Kensington, Maryland with his wife, Katherine, and their three children, Anna, Nicholas, and Alexander.”

Source: US Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s Congressional website. US Rep.Van Hollen Action Alert. Van Hollen Congressional website. “Why Paul Ryan’s budget would explode the deficit”, Jay Bookman, Atlanta Journal Constitution, March 30, 2012. “House passes GOP budget with no Dem support” Stephanie Condon, CBSNews.com., March 29, 2012. http://www.examiner.com. Washington Post. Wall Street Journal. http://www.MSNBC.com. “Republican budget: Ryan Plan would hurt seniors”, Daily Koos, Joan McCarter, March 30, 2012, http://www.dailykos.com

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