| WASHINGTON, April 2
WASHINGTON, April 2 House of Representatives
Republican leaders on Wednesday predicted passage of a budget
blueprint offered by Representative Paul Ryan, despite criticism
from conservative Tea Party activists who said the plan would
not eliminate federal deficits quickly enough.
"It'll pass," said Republican Representative Kevin McCarthy,
the No. 3 Republican in the House who, as Majority Whip, is
responsible for rounding up votes for legislation.
The Ryan plan, which proposes deep cuts to healthcare,
social safety net and other domestic programs in order to reach
a small surplus by 2024 while boosting defense spending, could
face resistance from the most conservative Republicans in the
"I'm still reviewing it. That's the most I can say right
now," said Representative Justin Amash, a libertarian Republican
from Michigan, when asked if he would support the plan from
Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee.
Amash was one of 62 Republicans who voted against a
short-term budget deal negotiated last year by Ryan and
Democratic Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, which
lifted discretionary spending slightly.
With all House Democrats expected to oppose Ryan's latest
budget plan, only 16 Republican "no" votes would cause it to
Ryan's budget has no chance of passing the
Democratic-controlled Senate. But for the November congressional
elections, it will serve as a manifesto of Republican priorities
- a plan the party will use to draw contrasts with Democratic
President Barack Obama's push to trim federal spending more
gradually, boost taxes on the wealthy and increase protections
for lower- and middle-class Americans.
Some leaders in the conservative Tea Party movement voiced
their dissatisfaction as the plan was unveiled on Tuesday.
Jenny Beth Martin, head of Tea Party Patriots, criticized
Ryan's budget for merely slowing federal spending and doing too
little to shrink the $17.5 trillion national debt.
"In truth, Congress is digging America's financial grave and
the solution is not to dig slower but to stop digging - period,"
Martin said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Tea Party icon Sarah Palin also chimed in, saying in a post
on her Facebook page that Ryan's budget pushes off balancing too
far into the future.
"Holy Moly, are you kidding?" Palin wrote. "The latest Ryan
(R, Wisconsin) budget is not an April Fool's joke. But it really
is a joke because it is still not seeing the problem; it still
is not proposing reining in wasteful government overspending
Two conservative groups that tend to have more direct
influence on Congress, Heritage Action and Club For Growth, so
far have not commented on the Ryan budget.
House Speaker John Boehner, asked if it was possible to
design a budget that would cut spending enough to satisfy Tea
Party groups, said emphatically: "No. No. You know if we want to
make perfect the enemy of the good every day, we'd never get
anything done here."
He said Ryan's budget was "essentially the same" as budgets
passed by Republicans the past four years and Democrats were
ignoring the growth of federal debt and "whistling past the
"We've been responsible for last four years in putting
forward our vision, and we're going to do it again," Boehner
The Republican-controlled House Budget Committee is expected
to pass Ryan's budget late on Wednesday night, clearing the way
for a House floor vote later this month.
(Editing by Eric Walsh)