Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pay Attention: Dee Perez-Scott: 2012 Federal Budget

Democratic and Republican lawmakers are running out of time to reach an agreement on the 2011 budget.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, is looking beyond this Friday's midnight deadline. He has announced plans for blockbuster legislation for fiscal year 2012.

The plan will cut the budget by more than $4 trillion over the next decade, bringing spending back to 2008 levels.

"Look, we intend to not only cut discretionary spending and put caps on spending, you have to address the drivers of our debt," Ryan told "Fox News Sunday."

"We need to engage with the American people on a fact-based budget, on stopping politicians from making empty promises to people, and talk to the country about what is necessary to fix these problems," Ryan added.

In a recent interview on The 700 Club, Ryan said America has a choice between two futures.

"Do you want the historic American idea, the 'exceptionalism,' that opportunity society with a safety net?" Ryan asked. "Or do you want to go down the path that the president has put out for us, which is putting us down towards a debt ridden crisis, a cradle to grave, European-style, social welfare state?"

At the top of Ryan's To Do list is making changes to Medicaid and Medicare. The Wisconsin congressman says that's the key because spending on those programs will skyrocket in coming years.

"The key is this -- There is nobody saying that Medicare can stay on its current path. Even "Obamacare" acknowledges that," Ryan said. "So we should not be measuring ourselves against some mythical future of Medicare that isn't sustainable."

Ryan also proposes pro-growth tax changes, including lower tax rates and broadening the tax base.

"We want job creation," he said. "Pro-growth tax reform is a key ingredient to getting this economy working again, getting this economy growing again."

In the meantime, the 2011 budget still hasn't been resolved. Republicans and Democrats are trying to strike yet another deal to avoid a government shutdown.

Lawmakers are running out of time to reach an agreement. Funding for the government expires at midnight Friday.

"We control one-half of one-third of the government here," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, noted. "But we're going continue to fight for the largest spending cuts that we can get."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. suggested GOP lawmakers were under the thumb of the Tea Party.

"The Republican leadership in the House has to make a decision whether they're going to do the right thing for the country or do the right thing for the Tea Party," Reid said.

While Democrats have agreed to make over $30 billion in spending cuts over the next 6 months, the Tea Party members say there's no room for compromise -- especially on issues like Planned Parenthood.

"If liberals in the Senate would rather play political games and shut down the government instead of making a small down- payment on fiscal discipline and reform, I say shut it down," Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., said.

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