By Erik Wasson
House Republicans appear to be on the verge of moving forward with a 2013 budget plan despite an intra-party squabble over spending cuts.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the chairman of the House Budget Committee, is apparently on track to produce a budget plan despite tensions in the GOP conference over the spending cap it contains.
The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on Tuesday announced Ryan will deliver a speech on March 20 at the think tank to unveil "A Blueprint for American Renewal."
"The House Budget Committee remains on track and on schedule — a sharp contrast to Senate Democrats, who have failed to account for government’s spending and borrowing for 1,049 days," Ryan spokesman Conor Sweeney said Tuesday.
Ryan has spent recent weeks trying to reconcile competing views in his conference about how to account for the August debt-ceiling deal in the 2013 budget.
Some members want the 2013 budget to have a $1.047 trillion discretionary spending cap — the same cap the August deal establishes for the first months of 2013 before a January automatic spending cut is triggered. Other members want to set the cap at $1.028 trillion, the level Ryan set in last year's budget for 2013. Others still want to have it set at $931 billion and dedicate all mandatory spending cuts to deficit reduction.
The new budget is expected to again take on the controversial topic of Medicare reform. In last year’s GOP budget, Ryan proposed requiring future seniors to transition into a premium support system reliant on private insurance companies. Democrats attacked Republicans as wanting to end Medicare.
This time around, Ryan might propose keeping traditional Medicare as an option alongside a privatized system, along the lines of the plan he is developing with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.).
On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office will release a new budget baseline — a measuring stick that Ryan and his staff will use this week to write his new "Blueprint."