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Ryan prepares to unveil balanced budget

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Philip Klein

House Budget Committee Chair Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is set to unveil his latest fiscal plan on Tuesday and it will balance the budget within a decade, according to a House Republican aide.

The budget isn’t expected to have any major surprises, but it will take advantage of higher revenues from the “fiscal cliff” deal and make some extra tweaks on the spending side to get to balance within the 10-year budget window.

According to a report in the Hill, Ryan had been floating the idea of having his Medicare reforms kick in earlier – perhaps even affecting Americans currently at age 59. But the aide said that the prevailing sentiment among Republicans was that they were too committed to holding off on reforms for anybody over 55, so that will remain the cut off age.

Also, in a decision that is likely to open up Ryan to criticism, the aide said the budget will assume the same level of Medicare savings over the next decade as if Obamacare were to go into effect, though it calls for the repeal of the health care law. This has been a feature of Ryan’s prior budgets, but when he served as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate, he got behind Romney’s plan to restore the roughly $700 billion that Obamacare cuts from Medicare.

Republicans are likely to argue that in contrast to Obamacare – which uses Medicare savings to help  finance a new entitlement – Ryan’s plan would extend the solvency of the program.

The new Ryan budget is scheduled to go before the Budget committee next Wednesday, and be up for a vote in the full House the following week.

One thing that Republicans believe will work to their advantage is that Senate Democrats are also expected to release a budget next Wednesday or Thursday (for the first time in four years). In the past two years, Ryan’s budget stood out as an open target for Democrats, but now the presence of the Senate budget will allow Republicans to draw contrasts, especially assuming the Democrats don’t produce a balanced budget.

Another interesting wrinkle is that Obama still hasn’t released his budget that was due the first week in February and is now expected to release it two months late, in April. That would be the latest that an incumbent president has ever released a budget in the modern era (excluding transitional budgets generated in a president’s first year in office). Historically, the president releases a budget before Congress does, not weeks after.

Ryan is scheduled to appear on Fox News Sunday this weekend to preview his budget plan.

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Author:

Philip Klein

Commentary Editor
The Washington Examiner