WASHINGTON (AP) — When House Republicans pass Rep. Paul Ryan's budget for a fourth year in a row this week, they'll go on record again in favor of big spending cuts across a wide swath of programs, including Medicaid, food and farm aid and eliminating subsidies for Amtrak and airline flights to small cities.
But a budget is only a non-binding framework. It can promise the sky, but to actually fulfill its pledges requires follow-up legislation.
When the cuts turn real, lawmakers tend to lose their nerve, even some of the hardiest tea party conservatives. Virtually none of the bold promises of the Ryan budget have come to pass.
Says Ryan: "Cutting spending is hard. Easy in theory, hard in practice."