WASHINGTON -- The austere Republican budget proposal from Rep.
That approach does not sit well with hard-line budget hawks, and could make Ryan's job even more difficult as the House prepares to vote on the budget next week.
"We think we have an obligation to lead and show how we would do things differently," Ryan said Tuesday in a conference call. "We think it's important to show people our vision."
The vote is essentially nonbinding, because the budget document is merely a statement of principles and does not carry the force of law. President
But the blueprints serve as defining documents before the midterm election, and Democrats all but thanked Ryan for reviving his signature ideas for changing Medicare, cutting spending and reducing taxes for the wealthy.
"Budgets are about choices and values,"
"We might as well call it the Koch budget," said
Ryan's budget is again long on vision but short on details, as he leaves many of the specifics to be decided later.
For example, the budget fully repeals the Affordable Care Act, but counts $1 trillion in tax revenues and more than $700 billion in savings from Obamacare toward his bottom line.
Ryan defended this approach, saying the Obamacare taxes would eventually be done away with because his budget also calls for an overhaul of the tax system.
But finding consensus on tax policy, even within the Republican Party, has proved difficult. A sweeping outline from the GOP chairman of the tax committee, Rep.
Even more, tax experts have said Ryan's quest to push down top individual tax rates to 25% from 39.6% for the wealthiest Americans cannot be done without incurring costs or doing away with tax breaks that would essentially raise taxes on middle-class earners. This was a key debate issue during the 2012 presidential campaign, when Ryan was on the ticket with
At the same time, Ryan relied for the first time on a new measure of the benefits of deficit reduction that Democrats argued was applied selectively to ensure that his budget would balance.
Ryan can afford to lose about 15 Republicans on the vote, and it remains uncertain whether GOP hawks who have pressed for a balanced budget will pan his accounting methods or simply support their party's document as a blueprint. Obama's budget never balanced.
Democrats have already panned Ryan's effort. Rep.
Budget office record-keeping, the congressman added, does not appear to go back far enough to show a time before the Dwight Eisenhower administration when funding for education, roads, healthcare and the rest of the government's nondefense was proportionately as low.