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Ryan's Budget Plan Takes Midterm Elections Into Consideration


It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.


And I'm David Greene. Elsewhere on the program today we heard of President Obama's push to raise the minimum wage. Maybe it will become law; maybe it won't. Either way, Democrats believe it helps them in this election year. Now let's hear about Republicans.

INSKEEP: House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has proposed a budget again. There is no chance the Senate will pass this plan which would balance the budget over a decade while also changing Medicare and food stamps. But the budget does provide campaign material for the election. NPR's Ailsa Chang reports

AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: Remember that two-year budget deal Congress passed just last December? Well, Senate leaders say they're happy enough with that, so they're not drafting a more detailed budget plan this year. But House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan had other ideas. Yesterday he came out with a budget vision statement - one he says provides the leadership that was missing from last December's deal.


CHANG: Ryan says his plan would cut $5 trillion in spending over the next decade - in large part by repealing the Affordable Care Act. Additional savings would come out of deep cuts to Medicaid and food stamps. The plan would also create a new alternative to Medicare - by letting people enroll in private insurance plans with government subsidies. In sum, it's basically a proposal that will be Dead On Arrival in the Senate. So, what's the point of the House doing this?

STAN COLLENDER: You always have to keep in mind this is an election year.

CHANG: For years, Stan Collender has seen budget proposals spring up and then die in Congress.

COLLENDER: And what they're doing is putting a document out there that Republicans can run on, that they can say: This is what we would do if we were in charge of the White House and the Senate, as well as the House.

CHANG: But Democrats also intend to milk the House GOP budget for their own campaign purposes. They got started right away Tuesday, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid opened the Senate by mocking the name Ryan gives his proposal: The Path To Prosperity.


CHANG: Conservative Republicans may brag about all the spending cuts, but Democrats, like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, will talk about how Republicans would leave poor Americans twisting in the wind.


CHANG: Even if Ryan's proposal gets to the House floor, there's still a question whether it has the required 217 votes to pass. Ailsa Chang, NPR News, the Capitol. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ailsa Chang is an award-winning journalist who hosts All Things Considered along with Ari Shapiro, Audie Cornish, and Mary Louise Kelly. She landed in public radio after practicing law for a few years.

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