Wisconsin's Pocan opposes Paul Ryan's budget plan
Wisconsin Congressman Mark Pocan, a Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said on March 12 that colleague Paul Ryan's budget proposal does not reflect the values of their state.
The budget committee, which Ryan chairs, is expected to consider the proposal on March 13.
Pocan, an openly gay representative who was elected to the seat Tammy Baldwin held until her 2012 Senate bid, said in a news release, "I’m a small business owner, and I co-chaired the Joint Finance Committee in the Wisconsin State Assembly. I understand what it means to make tough choices when reviewing a budget. But balancing our budgets on the backs of our seniors and working families is not a tough choice – it’s a reckless and irresponsible choice. Our budgets should reflect our values. And the budget the GOP released today does not reflect Wisconsin values or Wisconsin needs."
He continued, "Rep. Ryan and I share Rock County between our two districts, and Rock County has one of the highest unemployment rates in our state. Families in Rock County and across Wisconsin are not strengthened by a budget that locks the irresponsible sequester cuts in place, turns Medicare into a voucher program, and preserves tax cuts for oil companies and corporations that outsource jobs . What they deserve are substantive actions from Congress that can lead to economic growth and long-term job creation."
The White House on March 12 also issued a statement responding to the proposal from the conservative Ryan, who came to national attention as Mitt Romney's running-mate in 2012.
The White House said, in part, "The president believes that there is an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to come together around a balanced plan to grow the economy and shrink the deficit by investing to create jobs, cutting wasteful spending, and strengthening programs like Medicare and Medicaid. This approach will require both parties to compromise and make tough choices.
"While the House Republican budget aims to reduce the deficit, the math just doesn't add up. Deficit reduction that asks nothing from the wealthiest Americans has serious consequences for the middle class. By choosing to give the wealthiest Americans a new tax cut, this budget as written will either fail to achieve any meaningful deficit reduction, raise taxes on middle class families by more than $2,000 – or both. By choosing not to ask for a single dime of deficit reduction from closing tax loopholes for the wealthy and well-connected, this budget identifies deep cuts to investments like education and research – investments critical to creating jobs and growing the middle class. And to save money, this budget would turn Medicare into a voucher program – undercutting the guaranteed benefits that seniors have earned and forcing them to pay thousands more out of their own pockets. We've tried this top-down approach before. The president still believes it is the wrong course for America."
The Ryan plan, according to the AP, generally resembles prior ones, relying on higher tax revenues enacted in January and improved Medicare cost estimates – along with somewhat sharper spending cuts –to promise balance.
The plan promises to cut the deficit from $845 billion this year to $528 billion in the 2014 budget year that starts in October. It would drop to $125 billion in 2015.