Republican Paul Ryan unveiled a fiscal plan on Tuesday believing that it would balance the country’s budget in a decade by cutting federal spending but without raising taxes.
However, the White House rejected it out of hand. “The math just does not add up,” it said in statement, describing it as “the wrong course for America”.
The Republican budget plane came after president Barack Obama headed to Capitol Hill to meet Senate Democrats. It will be the first of four meetings over the next three days with members of Congress from both parties that he says intends to find a compromise on tax and spending.
Ryan proposed to cut spending by $5.7tn and reduce the top rate of tax to 25%, The Guardian reports. The plan was aimed to bring federal spending down from 22.2% of gross domestic product to 19.1% by 2023 and to reduce spending in 2015 to $3.48tn, $40bn less than the government spent in 2012.
Ryan’s plan is quite similar to those offered by him and his fellow Republicans in the past two years. The main difference is an acceptance of tax rises on wealthy citizens that came into force in the fiscal cliff deal.
When asked about acceptance of the tax increases, the chairman of the House budget committee said: “We are not going to re-fight the past.”
Ryan also proposed $560.2bn in defence spending in the fiscal year that begins in October and $6tn in defence cuts over next 10 years. This contrasts with the pledge to increase defence spending supported by Ryan while vice-presidential candidate in last year’s White House race.
The plan is based on the repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The Republican predicted the law would prove so unpopular it will have to be repealed.
“We don’t like this law. This is why we’re proposing to repeal this law in the budget. We believe that this law is going to collapse under its own weight,” he said.
He agreed that his budget plan has no chance of being passed when he invited the president and the Senate Democrats to present counter-plans.
“If you do not like the way we are balancing the budget, show us how to balance our budget,” said Ryan, who met Obama last week as part of Obama’s new charm offensive on Capitol Hill.
The Senate Democrats are currently working out an alternative budget. The president, who was supposed to present a budget of his own on 4 February, is also due to present a budget plan.
Ryan argued that unless the country takes serious steps to reduce the deficit, it will be the next generation that suffers.
“You can’t continue to kick the can down the road,” he said. “We know we are condemning the next generation to an inferior standard of living.”
“Deficit reduction that asks nothing from the wealthiest Americans has serious consequences for the middle class,” he concluded.