House Republicans to Create Budget Czar with Executive Powers: Paul Ryan
Monday, January 03, 2011
Budget Czar Paul Ryan
The new Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives intends to give broad new powers to the chairman of the budget committee, authorizing him to craft large budget cuts or tax breaks without requiring a full vote by all House members. Democrats and budget watchdogs are outraged by the proposal, calling it a complete reversal of the GOP’s pledge to be more transparent, not to mention antithetical to the legislative process.
Under the proposed rule change, the new Budget Committee chairman, Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, will be able to unilaterally set spending ceilings for 2011. Republicans say the move is necessary because Democrats did not approve a new federal budget during the last Congress.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities claims the change would facilitate incoming House Speaker John Boehner’s desire to cut non-security discretionary funding for fiscal year 2011 by $101 billion (or 21.7%) below the level appropriated for 2010. The think tank characterized the imposition of budget limits without debate or votes as inconsistent “with the promised increase in transparency in the legislative process, much less with sound—or fair—budget practices.”
Ryan also will have an easier time pushing through legislation that seeks to repeal the health reform law adopted by Democrats. “The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the health reform law will reduce deficits by more than $100 billion over the first ten years and by roughly $1 trillion or more over the second ten years,” wrote the think tank. “Its repeal would increase deficits by those amounts.”
Ryan’s budget suggestions include drastically cutting the amount of money the government spends on Medicare and instead giving seniors a voucher to buy health insurance from private insurance companies. According to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, seniors would end up paying more, but receiving less coverage.
Dems Rip Proposed Rule Giving New Power to GOP Budget Chairman (by Erik Wasson, The Hill)
House Republican Rule Changes Pave the Way For Major Deficit-Increasing Tax Cuts, Despite Anti-Deficit Rhetoric (by Robert Greenstein and James R. Horney, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)
H. Res. 5, page 21 (U.S. House) (pdf)
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