On March 29, 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Congressman Paul Ryan (WI-R)’s budget. The plan, which passed 228-to-191, received no Democratic votes and only 10 Republicans who strayed from their party line, sets up the debate for the 2012 election. New Jersey’s delegation voted 6 and 6 along party lines.
Republicans argue that they are just making hard choices in the face of a soaring federal debt. Quoting from yesterday’s New York Times article, the two parties weighed in.
“It is so rare in American politics to arrive at a moment in which the debate revolves around the fundamental nature of American democracy and the social contract, but that is exactly where we are today,” said Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee and the architect of the blueprint. “Today’s budget is a vote of confidence for the American experiment.”
And the Democrats countered against drastically harmful cuts to Medicaid, SNAP (former Food Stamp program), healthcare, housing, job training and college Pell grants. Quoting again from yesterday’s NYT:
“We’re tearing asunder the very middle class that we seek to provide a guarantee, a guarantee of a social safety net of Social Security, Medicare, and yes, health care,” said Representative John Larson, Democrat of Connecticut. The budget cuts critical safety net programs like Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), gives wealthy Americans additional tax cuts.
Click here to read further analysis from the CBPP.
According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), Ryan’s budget would cut $3.3 trillion over 10 years from programs that help low income Americans with Medicaid facing the most harm. A New York Times editorial today speaks against “A Cruel Budget.” 62% of cuts come from programs that help the poor.
With the Democratically lead Senate saying that it will not pass the bill, the budget is not likely to become law this year but as stated earlier, it will have a critical impact on the election. Democrats will use the dramatic cuts that would prove disastrous to the most vulnerable Americans against their Republican opponents. And the presidential candidates are weighing in – Romney has praised the budget while Santorum feels it does not make enough cuts.