WASHINGTON – Republican leaders united Tuesday behind House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's (R-WI) newly-released proposal that cuts trillions in federal spending over ten years while ending Medicare and Medicaid as we know it.
"Chairman Ryan and the members of the Budget Committee have done an excellent job putting together a budget worthy of the American people," said House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). "I hope every American concerned about our country’s future will take a look at it."
"Our budget will help spur job creation today, stop spending money we don’t have, and lift the crushing burden of debt that threatens our children’s future."
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) chimed in: "Our vision is reflected in this fact-based budget for America's future. House Republicans will lead where the President has failed by reducing spending and addressing the biggest drivers of our debt, our insolvent entitlement programs.
"With this budget, we will not only ensure that our country's fiscal future is in better standing for the days ahead, but for our children and grandchildren," he said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) hailed it as "a serious and detailed plan for getting our nation’s fiscal house in order."
"Anybody can say that our nation’s problems need to be addressed — but history will show that Chairman Ryan is one of those who actually stepped up to do it. And he should be applauded for that by people of good will on both sides," McConnell said Tuesday on the Senate floor.
The proposal aims to cut $6 trillion in federal spending, in part by essentially privatizing Medicare for Americans currently under 55 and capping their benefit payouts at roughly $15,000. It also eliminates the guarantee on Medicaid benefits and turns it into a program of block grants for states.
"This is the path to prosperity," Ryan said Tuesday as he introduced the plan.
A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found Monday that 76 percent of Americans consider it unacceptable to cut Medicare, while 67 oppose cutting Medicaid, despite their deficit concerns.
For decades, liberals have accused Republicans of wanting to gut America's safety net. But Republicans have so far declined to champion drastic benefit cuts to Medicare. It appears those days are over.