Van Hollen rips Ryan budget

House Budget Committee ranking member Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said on Tuesday that the House Democrats will call for a return to Clinton-era top tax rates and defense cuts in their response to the GOP budget plan put forward by Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

The Democratic alternative, Van Hollen said during a speech at the Center for American Progress, will cut spending in a "targeted, smart way, not with a meat ax" and bring the budget into a primary balance by 2018. But his speech was vague about how the Democrats' proposal would generate savings from mandatory programs not related to health care and offered no new ideas on how to curb Medicare and Medicaid costs beyond those already in President Obama's health care law.

Van Hollen said he will present the final budget to the Democratic Caucus on Tuesday afternoon and plans to unveil it publicly on Wednesday. Obama will outline his own approach to curbing long-term deficits on Wednesday afternoon.

Both House Democrats and White House officials have hinted that they will model their ideas on the proposals offered by Obama's bipartisan deficit commission last year. That plan proposed reducing the deficit by about $4 trillion over 10 years through a mix of discretionary-spending cuts, reductions in future entitlement-program benefits, and and tax increases.

Van Hollen used much of his Tuesday-morning speech to criticize Ryan's budget -- and Republicans in general -- as well as to sound the now-ubiquitous Democratic theme of investing in order to "out-educate, out-innovate and out-build the rest of the world."

The GOP plan would transform Medicare into a defined-contribution, lump-sum subsidy program and convert Medicaid into a block-grant program administered by the states; it would also cut the top corporate- and income-tax rates to 25 percent. According to Van Hollen, that would amount to "a yellow-brick road for the already prosperous and a dead-end for the rest of the country."

"This does not reform Medicare," he said of Ryan's proposed budget. "This deforms and dismantles Medicare."

Ryan has been praised -- even by some of his detractors -- for having the courage to offer up a specific long-term debt plan. The Republican has argued that the only way to preserve Medicare and Medicaid is to fundamentally change them. Van Hollen called that approach "Orwellian," comparing it to the Vietnam-era aphorism that "to save the village you must destroy it."

"When you strip away all the soothing, sweet-sounding talk of reform, at its core the Republican budget is the same tired formula for extending tax breaks for the wealthy at the expense of everyone else," he said. "Except this time, it's on steroids."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.