Dear Friends: The debate continues in Washington over last year's unfinished business in the continuing resolution (CR). While the fact that the debate now is over how much to cut -- rather than how much to spend -- is remarkable in itself, a more long-term plan introduced yesterday puts the debate over the CR into perspective.
Unveiled yesterday by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, "The Path to Prosperity" is the Republican proposal for Fiscal Year 2012 and beyond. Not only would it cut $6.2 trillion from President's budget, it lays the groundwork for us to begin paying down the national debt --reducing it by $4.7 trillion.
The "Path to Prosperity" offers a plan to right the ship. It is a budget for the next generation, not the next election, and puts aside politics to address the challenges we face. While some have already started partisan attacks, I hope that we can come together, Democrats and Republicans alike, to do the best thing for America.
Unlike the CR - the cuts in which amount to not more than 1-2% of federal spending - the "Path to Prosperity" includes much needed, long-term reforms. By taking on entitlements like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, it shows leadership where others have failed.
Some of reforms outlined in the plan include:
* a reduction of domestic spending below 2008 levels, frozen at that level for five years;
* converting Medicaid's Federal share to a block grant program, giving states more flexibility and participants more choices;
* saving Medicare by transitioning future beneficiaries to a premium-support model that allows them to chose a plan that works best for them while providing for no changes for those 55 and over;
* preserving Social Security for current retirees and strengthening it for future generations by building on the ideas offered by the Bowles-Simpson Commission while providing for no changes for those 55 and over;
* implementing budget-process reforms, including enforceable spending caps, so government spends and taxes only as much as it needs to fulfill its constitutionally-defined roles;
* simplifying and reforming the nation's tax code by consolidating brackets, lowering tax rates and eliminating a tangle of deductions and loopholes.
TROOPS SHOULDN'T SUFFER FOR WASHINGTON'S FAILURE TO ACT
Ensuring our Military Pay Act Press Conference
It has been 46 days since House Republicans passed HR 1, the only credible plan to date that would avert a government shutdown. The President, largely absent from the debate, has yet to offer a plan. To their credit, Senate Democrats offered a plan but it was so out-of-touch that it received less votes in the Democrat-controlled Senate than HR1!
Our troops should not suffer for Washington's failure to act! That is why I joined Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) to introduce legislation that would prevent any disruption in military salaries during a government shutdown.