Ryan budget preview: Energy, Obamacare, welfare, taxes
Rep. writes editorial in Wall Street Journal
Ahead of the release of his House GOP budget Tuesday, Rep. Paul Ryan previewed some of the plan's key provisions, which he claims will lead to a balanced federal budget in a decade.
"On Tuesday, we're introducing a budget that balances in 10 years -- without raising taxes. How do we do it? We stop spending money the government doesn't have," Ryan wrote in an editorial published on the Wall Street Journal's website Monday.
Savings would come from a series of measures that have long been backed by Republicans. One is a repeal of President Barack Obama's sweeping health care law, which continues to be implemented after being deemed constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court last summer. Ryan's plan would replace the law with what he called "patient-centered reforms."
One of those would be a major change to Medicare starting in 2024, when Ryan's plan stipulates seniors would have a choice of health care plans, including traditional Medicare. Seniors would receive support from the government toward paying their premiums based on their income level and health.
In the op-ed, he writes, "Those in or near retirement will see no changes, and future beneficiaries will inherit a program they can count on." Ryan recently backed off a proposal to make changes to Medicare for people under the age of 57 -- GOP aides said an analysis of the two-year difference showed it would not save the federal government a significant amount of money.
In his editorial, Ryan writes his plan would open government-owned land to energy development, and would include approval for the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that's been delayed by the Obama administration.
Ryan also says mimicking the welfare reform laws of the 1990s on other federal aid programs would save money and reduce the number of Americans dependent on the federal government. And he adds that tax reform that closes loopholes and consolidates rates would help Americans save billions of dollars per year.
"Our opponents will shout austerity, but let's put this in perspective," Ryan writes. "On the current path, we'll spend $46 trillion over the next 10 years. Under our proposal, we'll spend $41 trillion. On the current path, spending will increase by 5% each year. Under our proposal, it will increase by 3.4%. Because the U.S. economy will grow faster than spending, the budget will balance by 2023, and debt held by the public will drop to just over half the size of the economy."
Ryan's full budget, with further details of his proposed measures and cuts, will be unveiled Tuesday morning.