House conservatives to offer their own four-year balanced budget proposal

The conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) will put forward an alternative, more aggressive budget proposal than the main House Republican budget authored this week by Rep. Paul Ryan.

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Chairman Steve Scalise (R-La.) said the budget amendment offered by the large conservative bloc would call for eliminating the federal deficit within four years — more than twice as fast as the Ryan budget, which balances in a decade. 

It's the third consecutive year that House conservatives will present their own budget plan. 

Last year’s RSC budget balanced in five years. But Scalise, who took over as chairman in January, had said the group would wait until Ryan (R-Wis.) released his budget this week before deciding whether to offer its own.

“I don’t think anything we do is undermining the Ryan budget. In fact, we actually build on some of the things that Paul has worked on,” Scalise said in a taped interview for C-Span’s “Newsmakers” that will air on Sunday.

The key difference between the two proposals is the plan to overhaul Medicare. 

While Ryan calls for implementing his “premium support” plan for future beneficiaries age 54 and younger, the RSC budget would start the change for people 59 and below.

“I don’t think that’s a big difference philosophically, because at the end of the day, we’re both saving it from bankruptcy,” Scalise said.

Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, had floated changing the cut-off age to 56 but, under pressure from more centrist members, he kept it at 55.

Scalise praised the Ryan budget and said that, as in past years, members of the RSC would be encouraged to support both the group’s proposal and the Ryan plan. 

“We want to promote the RSC budget and we’re ultimately going to vote for the House budget,” Scalise said.

The RSC counts about two-thirds of the GOP conference as members, although its budget proposal last year garnered just 136 votes.