By Corey Mitchell
Democratic U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson is sparring with House Republicans over U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan, which would repeal the Affordable Care Act and partially privatize Medicare.
By cutting more than $4.5 trillion in projected spending over the next decade, Ryan's plan could erase federal deficits by 2023 without raising taxes. To make that happen, the 2104 fiscal year spending plan would reject most of President Obama's health care reforms and suspend the administration's Wall Street regulatory reforms.
Peterson, the lead Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, bashed Ryan's spending plan, calling it unrealistic. House Democrats have yet to formally respond, but Democrats condemned many of the proposals during the 2012 campaign. Many of the policies are holdovers from prior Republican budgets.
"For the third time, the House Majority has put forward a political messaging document rather than a realistic budget that makes the balanced tough choices we need to get our country back on solid financial footing," Peterson said. "The American people are tired of political games. It's time to get serious."
The National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm of House Republicans, took a jab at Peterson's response. The group is targeting Peterson's seat in the 2014 election.
"Balancing budgets is common sense to Minnesota families and businesses. Washington politicians, like Collin Peterson, could learn a thing or two from them," said NRCC communications director Andrea Bozek. "It's time for Peterson to stand up against his party's plan to never balance the budget."
Ryan's budget does not offer specific prescriptions for cutting spending on agriculture, but said that programs such as crop insurance be adjusted to reflect "economic realities." The Senate and House are expected to begin work on new farm bills later this year after failing to reach consensus in 2012.
"If the House Republicans do take the Ryan budget numbers seriously, I don't see how they can be serious about passing long-term farm policy this year," Peterson said.