With House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) running for Vice President, you should expect to hear a lot over the next few weeks about the budgets the House passed over the last two years. There will certainly be many claims thrown around about what these budgets would do to certain programs. I want to dispel some of the more prominent myths.
The attack on our embassy in Benghazi, Libya was organized and perpetrated by Al Qaeda associated terrorists. They used heavy weapons including RPGs and mortars to destroy the consulate and the annex building that housed U.S. officials. While the Libyan embassy requested more resources for security, they were denied the tools they needed by the State Department to protect themselves.
Some are claiming that the Republican budget attempted to cut spending for diplomatic security. This is clearly false. The budget is a blueprint, not an appropriations bill. If you read the budget from cover to cover, you will see nothing about diplomatic security. The Vice President pretends that the budget cuts every State Department spending program equally.
What you will see in the budget is a call to reduce overall non-defense spending. With sky-high deficits, we need our government departments to trim waste and spend wisely. Claiming that cuts made at the top level will be evenly distributed to all government departments is absurd. When Congress acts to appropriate money to the State Department, we will cut vanity projects for secure embassies and spend more to protect Americans serving in vulnerable areas.
Another word you will certainly hear a lot over the next few weeks is "voucher." This is a scarey word that Democrats try to use to describe the Republican plan to strengthen and save Medicare. Again, you can read the budget from cover to cover and you will never read about Medicare vouchers.
According to the Medicare Trustees, the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget spending on Medicare is unsustainable. Without significant reform, it will simply go bankrupt leading to rapid and massive cuts to current beneficiaries.
If we make reforms to this program for future beneficiaries, not those currently on Medicare or nearing retirement, we can maintain the program for all future generations. Our plan calls for seniors to have an option to enroll in a premium support Medicare program. No one would receive a voucher. Instead, payments would be issued directly to health care providers who would have to maintain Medicare's guaranteed coverage. Just like members of Congress, seniors would have options and could even choose to stay in the traditional Medicare program.
The House Republican budget calls for full repeal of Obamacare. Another claim you may hear is that this would actually increase the deficit. The fact is that to help pass the President's health law, Democrats gamed the system by double-counting Medicare savings and including provisions that have already been overturned or simply shut down.
Obamacare takes $716 billion out of Medicare over the next ten years. Democrats try to maintain that these savings can be used to pay for new health programs and to preserve Medicare. The chief actuary for Medicare clearly states otherwise. The same dollar can't be counted twice.
Another way the President tried to cook the books was by including the CLASS Act long-term care insurance program in the law. This was supposed to bring in $70 billion in revenue. Unfortunately, the program never would have worked and the government was forced to shut it down before a single beneficiary was enrolled and before a single dollar was brought in. In fact, millions of dollars were wasted studying a program that we knew would never work.
There is one last thing I want to make clear: we passed budgets two years in a row. In the last two years of this Congress, Harry Reid and Senate Democrats didn't even offer a budget.
It takes courage to pass a budget when times are tough. It is far easier to sit on the sidelines and throw political bombs. House Republicans know that we have a responsibility to let the American peope know how we want to spend their money. We will not hide, even in an election year.