Paul Ryan on budget: Your move, Obama
By: David Nather, Politico
Paul Ryan says it's time for President Barack Obama to get back in the game.
In a short briefing with reporters Wednesday, Ryan — the House Budget Committee chairman and former vice presidential nominee — blasted Obama for not giving any indication of when he'll release his next budget proposal, which is already more than a month late.
"I find it interesting that he's chosen to blow the deadline again, not only by a week or two, which is what we've seen in the past, but for an indefinite period of time and waiting for others to lead first," Ryan said.
"The person in the White House ought to lead. That's what presidents are supposed to do," Ryan said. "And by delaying your budget for an indefinite period of time, [it] shows that there's just not a seriousness of purpose to actually fixing our budget problems."
Ryan did say he talked to Obama about the budget this week but wouldn’t share any details of the conversation.
Ryan's briefing was intended to set the stage for next week, when he'll release his next budget on Tuesday and Senate Democrats are supposed to put out their own proposal.
The House budget will set a goal of balancing the budget in 10 years, a prospect that has unnerved some House Republicans because it could require even deeper cuts than in Ryan’s past budgets.
But Ryan insisted that "you won't see big surprises in our budget. For a number of reasons, and for some modest policy changes, we can get to balance. We can show the country that this is an achievable goal — a goal we all ought to share, a goal that helps us prevent a debt crisis."
“Our goal and hope here is not to pass a budget and then forget about it. Our goal is to get a down payment on this problem for America,” Ryan said. “The value of a Republican majority ought to be, at the very least, to help delay a debt crisis from hitting this country and hurting everybody.”
He wouldn't get into specifics, though, including any changes to his rewrite of the Medicare program.
With Senate Democrats already warning that his new budget will have to have even more draconian cuts, he clearly tried to use Wednesday's briefing to brush them back a bit.
"We're not claiming things that aren't going to happen. We're not claiming gimmicks," Ryan said.
Ryan’s aides on the House Budget Committee warned that Senate Democrats could use easy tricks to count as deficit reduction, like counting war savings from Afghanistan — even though Obama has already made it clear he’s going to draw down troops — or assuming savings because the level of spending on the Hurricane Sandy supplemental isn’t going to be maintained for 10 years.
Even so, Ryan said he hopes the Democratic budget helps to jump-start the budget conversation.
“The Senate’s finally doing a budget. The president hasn’t, but the Senate is. And it is my hope that we can start talking to each other and start solving some problems,” he said.