Republicans rally around Ryan budget amid signs of division

Senior Republicans rallied late Friday around Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) 2012 budget proposal amid indications of division over its plans to reform Medicare.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other members of the GOP leadership, including Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), issued a joint statement renewing support for Ryan's budget.

"House Republicans are united in our approach to achieve real and immediate spending cuts and reforms today. These reforms and others are included in the Path to Prosperity, which passed the House with the strongest majority of any budget in more than a decade," they said.

"This has been and remains the Republican position," they added.

The statement is meant to quell any perception of internal discord over Ryan's budget, a day after Camp said publicly that his committee wouldn't look to advance legislation to implement Ryan's proposed reforms to Medicare. Camp said that because he'd judged Ryan's plan for Medicare as unable to pass the Senate, it wasn't worth taking up committee time to work on the plan.

Democrats and outside liberal groups have seized on that proposal and warned it would radically revamp the system and threaten seniors' benefits, which resulted in occasionally boisterous constituent meetings for GOP lawmakers during their most recent recess.

The Republicans emphasized their unity amid two separate sets of budget talks: the bipartisan "Gang of Six" talks among senators, and the negotiations for a long-term fiscal deal led by Vice President Biden, which commenced on Thursday.

The GOP leaders said they were united behind Ryan's budget, which passed the House last month, and said they were united against any new taxes, as well.

"We are committed to our budget and to making the reforms necessary to grow our economy and create jobs, preserve and strengthen Medicare, and put our nation on a path to pay down the debt," they said.

Joining Boehner and Camp in the joint statement were Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), GOP Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.).

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