Dem budget chief: Ryan plan 'draconian'

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) decried the 2012 budget proposal introduced by House Republicans Tuesday as “draconian.”

“I think that it completely lacks balance,” he said of the plan unveiled by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). “He has dramatic cuts in taxes for the wealthiest among us and finances that by draconian cuts to those of us who are dependent on Medicaid and Medicare."
 

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“It’s draconian,” added Conrad, who first ran for Congress on a pledge to reduce the federal deficit and has positioned himself as a fiscal hawk throughout his Senate career.
 
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who has jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid, also blasted Ryan’s plan, which seeks to cut the deficit primarily through cuts to those programs.
 
“Independent experts agree the House plan would make deep cuts to the Medicare benefits seniors count on,” Baucus said. “It would end Medicare as we know it and funnel Medicare dollars directly into private insurance companies’ pockets. 
 
“Under the House plan, seniors’ coverage would be cut drastically, benefits would no longer be guaranteed and seniors’ costs would skyrocket,” Baucus added.
 
Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), one of the Senate’s most conservative Democrats, said he had deep concerns over the House GOP budget blueprint.
 
Nelson said it would shift more responsibility for funding Medicare and Medicaid to state governments.
 
“There’s no reform in that,” he said. “It’s just cutting the federal government, meaning that private individuals and seniors will have to pick up more of the cost.”