By Jordy Yager - 04/28/12 04:02 PM EDT
Republicans blasted President Obama and Democrats for failing to act on a budget while trying to sell the American public on the Republican proposal.
In his GOP weekly address, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the debate over the federal budget had the highest possible stakes, asking, "Is it too late to save America from a diminished future?"
The chairman of the House Budget Committee relentlessly promoted his budget plan, which the House passed along party lines last month, hitting on major key election-year issues and painting Democrats as stagnant.
"If enacted, this budget would promote economic growth and opportunity starting today, with bold reforms to the tax code and a credible, principled plan to prevent a debt crisis from ever happening,” said Ryan.
“The president and his party leaders are now insisting that Washington take trillions of dollars from hardworking Americans in an effort to lock in ever-higher government spending. If we've learned anything over the last three years, it's that this approach won't work.”
Ryan’s budget plan acts on the Republicans political theory that looks to reduce the deficit almost entirely through cuts to federal spending. Democrats, on the other hand, are continuing to push for a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.
Democrats have stressed to voters that Ryan’s plan will harm the middle class, by cutting programs they use while lowering the tax burden on the wealthy.
But Ryan defended the GOP budget on Saturday, saying that it would reform the tax code in a way that would prevent a debt crisis from happening again. He said the plan would also promote energy exploration in the U.S. to curb rising gas prices and would help senior citizens by repealing Obama’s health care law.
“Repealing the president's health care law would also protect America's seniors,” said Ryan. “The law raids over $500 billion from Medicare and empowers a board of 15 unelected bureaucrats to cut Medicare in ways that would deny seniors access to the care they need.
"Our budget saves and strengthens Medicare by proposing to put 50 million seniors, not 15 unaccountable bureaucrats, in charge of their personal health care decisions."
Ryan's budget would cut more than $5 trillion more than President Obama's proposal, reduce spending in 2013 and 2014 compared to 2012, and revive his proposal last year to turn Medicare into a health insurance supplement program for anyone younger than 55.
Democrats say the Ryan budget would essentially end the Medicare guarantee.
The budget issue is likely to be a major election issue for voters in this year’s presidential and congressional races, especially if the Senate opts to not take action before the end of the fiscal year. As though anticipating this possible stalemate in the upper chamber, Ryan took another shot at the Democrats.
“The president is hunkered down in campaign mode, and seems intent on dividing Americans for political gain instead of offering credible solutions to our most pressing fiscal and economic challenges,” said Ryan. “And his party leaders in the Senate? They're about to go another year without a budget.”
The Republican presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney has endorsed the Ryan budget, saying that it will enhance his campaign because it will show voters what the GOP will do if given the full reins of power in Congress and the White House.