House Conservatives Skeptical of Paul Ryan's Budget

Wednesday, 09 Apr 2014 10:19 AM

By John Gizzi

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Conservative activists within the ranks of House Republicans hailed Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan for crafting a budget that furthers debate, but said they had doubts about parts of the blueprint — and some said they would not even vote for it.

This mixed approach to the work of Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, was apparent Tuesday during "Conversations with Conservatives," a forum of conservative lawmakers on Capitol Hill sponsored by the Heritage Foundation.

"I applaud Paul Ryan for dealing with entitlements," freshman Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky told the group, but he added, "I won't vote for it because of the 10-year number."

Referring to the 10-year period that the Ryan budget spelled out for ending the deficit, Massie said, "We can't rely on people 10 years from now to get the budget done."

Two-term Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, praised Ryan's work but also voiced worry that "I don't know if the [House Republican] majority has the resolve to do what's in it."

Labrador suggested that lawmakers will go home to town hall meetings in their districts and "people will start screaming about small areas of reform" that Congress has to enact before passing the budget.

He contrasted this attitude among Republicans with that of Democrats who, Labrador said, "have the resolve to pass everything in the president's budget."

Labrador said he felt the Ryan plan "had a clear and bold vision, and if we actually followed through on it, we'd have the trust of the American people."

"Ceremonial bill" is how sophomore Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., characterized the Ryan budget.

"Medicare reform is not done in one page. Tax reform is not done in one page,"
Huelskamp said.

Even if the House did pass it, "What difference does it make?" Huelskamp asked.

Majority Leader "Harry Reid won't take it up in the Senate," Huelskamp said. "The Senate has yet to take up appropriations bills such as those dealing with the IRS budget or [Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen] Sebelius' budget. I would like the opportunity to vote on those."

Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., made clear that he favored any Republican approach to the budget over anything the Democrats might propose.

"I plan to vote for the Ryan budget," Duncan said. "I plan to vote for the Republican Study Committee budget and the Liberty Caucus budget. And I plan to vote against the president's budget and against the Black Caucus budget and the Progressive Caucus budget."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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