Washington (dpa) – Members of the conservative Republican Party laid out a 2014 US budget proposal Tuesday that they say would slash spending and balance the budget within a decade.
The plan, announced by Congressman Paul Ryan, would cut projected spending by 4.6 trillion dollars during the next 10 years, eliminate President Barack Obama’s signature health insurance reforms and remodel government programmes for retirees and the poor.
”Balancing the budget is not simply an act of arithmetic, not just getting expenditures and revenues to add up. Balancing the budget is a means to an end,” Ryan said. ”It’s a means to a healthier economy, a pro-growth society, a pro-growth economy that delivers opportunity.
That is first and foremost why we are doing this.”
The centre-right Republicans control the House of Representatives.
The Senate is controlled by Obama’s left-leaning Democratic Party.
The Republican proposal stands little chance of advancing beyond the the lower chamber of Congress but establishes potential negotiating point with Obama on fiscal policy.
The White House said the ”math just doesn’t add up” in the Republican plan. Spokesman Jay Carney criticized the lack of increased revenue from wealthy taxpayers and Republican changes to Medicare, the government health plan for pensioners.
Obama met later Tuesday with Senate Democrats as he holds talks with lawmakers on fiscal issues, as well as other parts of his agenda such as immigration reform and gun control.
Obama’s meeting was closed to reporters, but the website Politico reported the president told Democrats that some changes may be needed to government programmes for the poor and pensioners in order to secure more tax revenue from Republicans. Obama is to meet with Republican lawmakers this week.
Senate Democrats on Tuesday released their own budget plan, which would raise nearly 1 trillion dollars in new taxes and along with 1 trillion dollars in spending cuts over 10 years.
The Senate has failed to pass a regular budget for years, leaving the government to finance operations with a series of short-term spending measures.
The White House has yet to release its own 2014 budget proposal, which was due in early February. Carney said Tuesday it would be released the week of April 8.
Obama and the Republicans have battled for months on tax and budget matters, with 85 billion dollars in automatic spending cuts that took effect March 1 among the latest points of contention.
Obama has called on lawmakers to replace those cuts, known as the sequester, with less drastic spending reductions coupled with higher taxes, while Republicans look to lock in spending cuts.
The sides must agree to a short-term deal to fund the government through the rest of the budget year before the current law expires later this month, or risk a government shutdown.