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Ala. Republicans unanimously support Ryan budget, vote to cut $5 trillion in spending

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed Congressman Paul Ryan’s Fiscal Year 2015 “Path to Prosperity” Budget by a vote of 219-205. No Democrats voted for the budget, and 12 Republicans joined them in their dissent. All six Republicans in Alabama’s congressional delegation voted in favor of the budget, while the state’s lone Democrat, Rep. Terri Sewell, R-AL07, voted against it.
Ryan Path to Prosperity Vote Count
According to The Heritage Foundation, the Ryan “Path to Prosperity” Budget would:

• Cut spending by $5.1 trillion, including about $800 billion in lower interest costs.
• Achieve the biggest spending savings, $2 trillion, from repealing ObamaCare.
• Keep a cap on discretionary spending through the end of the 10-year budget window, after the Budget Control Act expires in 2021.
• Reduce the public debt from 73 percent of GDP in 2015 to 56 percent of GDP by 2024.
• Increase spending in nominal terms from $3.6 trillion (20.2 percent of GDP) to just shy of $5 trillion in 2024 (18.4 percent of GDP), spending $1 trillion less in 2024 than President Obama’s Budget called for.

In addition to repealing ObamaCare, Ryan’s budget would make reforms to Medicaid, Medicare, defense spending and the tax system that many conservative groups are applauding.

But some conservatives, including some in Congress, insist that Ryan’s budget is not aggressive enough about reducing the size of the federal government. A group of staunch fiscal conservatives in the House crafted an alternative to the Ryan plan that balances the budget in four years, instead of the 10 years in the “Path to Prosperity.” Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin even called Ryan’s budget a “joke.”

Additionally, a handful of Republicans in swing districts voted “no” for fear of going on the record in favor of something in an election year.

But regardless of anyone’s opinion of Ryan’s budget, no one will ever be able to accuse him of not having a plan or the fortitude to put his name on something, especially in a political environment where the safest bet is to vote “no” on everything.

Path to Prosperity Graph

Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-AL01, said Alabamians he has talked to cannot understand why it’s so hard to get Congress to pass a balanced budget.

“I served for five years in the Alabama state legislature. In that body, we were bound by law to pass a balanced budget, and we did it every year,” Byrne said. “America’s families have to live by this practice, spending less than they take in. So many folks I’ve talked to in Alabama’s First District are confused why Congress can’t do the same.”

Byrne touted the “Path to Prosperity” as a “bold step forward” and criticized Senate Democrats for not only opposing the Ryan budget, but not even working to pass a budget at all.

“This plan cuts spending by $5.1 trillion dollars over the next 10 years, bringing the federal budget back into balance by 2024,” he said. “It promotes a strong national defense without busting the budget. It makes sure important safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security are available for future generations of Americans, and it reduces our dependence on foreign nations like China, who holds $12.3 trillion of our current debt, equaling a 47% share.”

Ryan’s budget is D.O.A. in the Senate, where Democrats say the spending levels for 2015 are already set by a deal struck last year to avoid a government shutdown.

“While this budget year is settled and it wouldn’t be productive to re-litigate it so soon after our two-year deal, I plan to work with my colleagues on the Budget Committee to lay out our long-term vision for creating jobs, boosting the economy, and tackling our deficits fairly and responsibly,” said Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee.

“Senate Democrats have declared to the American people that you have no right to know what their plan is for your family or your country,” Stephen Miller, a spokesman for Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Budget Committee, said in response.

Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

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