"The House of Representatives passed the House Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2014 this week, offered by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. I supported this budget and was pleased that it passed with strong Republican support.
"A budget resolution is an important document, but there are misconceptions about what exactly a budget resolution is, and what it does. Rather than directing how taxpayer dollars are spent, the real purpose of a budget resolution is simply setting "caps," or limits, on spending each year over the next ten years. With the caps set, the resolution then provides a long-term blueprint for the functions of government by suggesting just how Congress would control spending and revenue to keep the budget below the caps.
"Since 2009 the Democratic controlled Senate has not offered a budget resolution in spite of the fiscal challenges facing our country. As a result, we haven't known what the Democrats plan for addressing this crisis would be. Republicans have had to compare our policies against theoretical ideas, speeches, and concepts offered by Congressional Democrats, but no actual budget.
"But this year is different. This year they put their plan down on paper.
"As you would expect, the proposed Senate Democratic Budget is very different than the House Republican Budget. The Ryan Budget slows the growth of spending and brings it in line with revenues, leading to a balanced budget in ten years. The Democrats' budget never balances, reflecting comments from President Obama and others that there is no debt crisis and we don't need to balance the budget. Our budget reduces spending by $4.6 trillion over the next decade; the Democrats' budget increases spending by $265 billion.
"The Ryan Budget calls for fundamental tax reform, adding fairness to the code and reducing tax rates on all Americans; the Democrats impose a new $900 billion dollar tax increase. Our budget repeals the health care bill. We also reform Medicare and Medicaid to add competition and transparency to the system and slow their growth, which is currently occurring at a rate faster than we can control discretionary spending. These reforms won't impact anyone 55 years or older. The Democrats ignore the math on Medicare, allowing a broken system to fail those who depend on it while eating up every penny in the budget.
"While the House and Senate have different visions, the reality is that neither is going to get everything they want. At the end of the day it will take some combination of Republican and Democrat ideas to solve this debt crisis. Recent polls have shown that 70% of Americans want the two sides to work together to replace the sequester, fix the debt, and end the practice of managing from crisis-to-crisis. It will take a combination of real spending cuts, pro-growth tax reform which brings in revenue, and reform of Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. I will continue to encourage my colleagues to recognize that this is not a purity test--it is about math, and it is about governing."