Ryan: Obama offers ‘status quo’ budget

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Wednesday panned President Obama’s budget, saying he expected a “status quo” proposal that would fail to address the nation’s fiscal challenges.

“This is probably a status quo budget,” Ryan said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “The real question I want to know is when does he balance the budget and does he ever balance the budget. Those are the kinds of things we’re going to be looking for.”

The White House has said Obama’s $1.058 trillion fiscal year 2014 budget, which will be released later on Wednesday, will reduce the deficit in part through cuts to entitlement programs, a move that has infuriated some Democrats. 

But Ryan said the president’s perceived concessions to Republicans in the budget battle was just a way of dressing up an otherwise liberal agenda.

“I hope it’s not just a status quo budget all those things you said could just be icing on top of a status quo budget and I want to make sure it’s not that because the status quo isn’t working too well – we have massive deficits, crushing debt, and high poverty rates,” Ryan said. 

“So is he going to break the status quo, is he going to take on real entitlement reform, is he going to kick start true negotiations, that’s the question that is open in my mind. I don’t hear much of that so my fear, based on what I now know and what I’ve heard, is that it’s more of a status quo budget.”

The Obama budget would leave the nation with a $744 billion budget deficit in 2014, despite entitlement cuts and tax hikes.

The plan turns off the sequester and raises $580 billion in new tax revenues over the next ten years, including through the “Buffett Rule” tax on millionaire households.

The Obama budget also cuts entitlement spending by $230 billion by adopting chained consumer price index and reduces spending on Medicare through lower payments to healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies. 

Liberal Democrats have warned that it’s too big of a concession for the president to make on entitlements, but Ryan diminished the importance of the proposals to Republicans.

“He’s creaking the door open ever so slightly on entitlement reform, so there’s something there,” Ryan said.

“I don’t believe the president is giving us a fundamental entitlement restructuring today, a tax restructuring bill today, it doesn’t look like that, but that means probably not the wholesale change we need to really get this economy growing,” he added.

Ryan also argued that Republicans had already moved “to the middle” in the House GOP budget proposal, which he authored, and hadn’t seen the move reciprocated from Democrats.

“We, the Republicans, have already done things to move to the middle, to get to common ground that have not been entirely popular, but we have not seen reciprocal moves on the other side of the aisle,” he said. “Hopefully today we’ll see something of a change of heart on that.”

Ryan’s budget would balance in eight years, while the budget from Senate Democrats raises $975 billion in new taxes, but does not balance.