WASHINGTON — US Republicans will unveil plans Tuesday for a 2013 budget aimed at slashing federal spending, but Democrats warned Monday the proposal would cut too deeply into the Medicare health program for seniors.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is expected to release details of his new budget blueprint in a Tuesday speech and highlight the country’s fiscal woes, which he hopes will rally fellow conservatives around an election-year issue.
The budget, should it pass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, would have no chance of passing the Democratic-held Senate. A similar 2012 Ryan plan went down to defeat in the Senate last year.
His latest budget poses a risk for Republicans in an election year as it again includes proposed reforms to Medicare and Medicaid, the popular but costly health insurance programs for the elderly and the poor.
It would transform Medicare from a traditional fee-for-service health care system for seniors into a voucher system giving them money to purchase insurance on the private market.
The Ryan plan would mark “the end of Medicare as we know it,” Representative Janice Schakowsky, a Democrat, told reporters.
“Some estimates are it would cost seniors out of pocket some $6,000” per person per year more than current costs, she added.
Details of Ryan’s plan have yet to be released, but he hinted at his blueprint in a recent web video in which he decried the “immoral” lack of action by the administration to rein in spending.
“This coming debt crisis is the most predictable crisis we’ve ever had in this country,” Ryan said in the video.
“This is why we’re proposing and passing out of the House a budget to fix this problem so we can save our country.”
President Barack Obama unveiled his $3.8 trillion spending plan for 2013 last month, when it was savaged by opposition Republicans as a “tax and spend” flop that would do little to end the country’s fiscal trauma.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the Republican blueprint would show that the party is demonstrating “leadership in Washington.”
“Most Americans agree: We ought to stop spending money we don’t have. We don’t want America to devolve into what some of the European allies now have to deal with,” Cantor told Politico magazine. “We have a plan.”
A new House plan would reportedly further lower discretionary spending levels already agreed to in last August’s contentious Budget Control Act (BCA), a debt deal that aims to reduce the deficit by more than $900 billion over 10 years.
Democrats warned such a move would threaten a government shutdown.
“Rather than trying to tear down the BCA, we should be holding it up as an example of what can be accomplished if we are willing to set aside our differences and work hard to find bipartisan solutions to our nation’s challenges,” Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad, a Democrat, wrote in a letter Monday to House Speaker John Boehner.
Ryan appeared willing to carve out a more politically sustainable position, enrolling support of Democratic Senator Ron Wyden with whom he worked late last year on Medicare reform.
Supporters say the plan would maintain traditional Medicare as an option, The Hill newspaper reported.
But analyst Paul Van de Water of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington think tank, wrote that the proposal would hurt seniors.
“The Ryan-Wyden plan would shift substantial costs to Medicare beneficiaries rather than protect them from cost increases, in part because the payment that beneficiaries would receive to help them buy coverage would likely fail to keep pace with health care costs,” he wrote.
“The plan also would likely lead to the gradual demise of traditional Medicare by making the pool of Medicare beneficiaries smaller, older and sicker — and increasingly costly to cover.”
[Image via Flickr user Medill DC]
There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness
As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.
He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”
It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.
This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend
As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.
At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.
Yet nearly 100 days in, Taiwan has just 376 confirmed cases and five fatalities while restaurants, bars, schools, universities and offices remain open.
The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.
Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health
On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.
"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."