House Barely Passes Paul Ryan’s Budget, With 12 Republicans Voting No

All Democrats voted against the bill.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) walks to a meeting with House Republicans on Capitol Hill October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC.
National Journal
Billy House and Sarah Mimms
See more stories about...
Billy House Sarah Mimms
April 10, 2014, 8:48 a.m.

The House on Thursday nar­rowly passed Rep. Paul Ry­an’s Re­pub­lic­an budget, which in­cludes $5.1 tril­lion in spend­ing cuts over 10 years without clos­ing tax loop­holes, as Ry­an and oth­er GOP lead­ers aver­ted a po­ten­tially em­bar­rass­ing de­feat on the bill be­cause of party de­fec­tions.

The meas­ure passed 219 to 205, with 12 Re­pub­lic­ans join­ing all Demo­crats in vot­ing no. A swing of just sev­en Re­pub­lic­an votes would have de­feated the meas­ure.

Those Re­pub­lic­ans who lined up against the budget are a blend of mostly con­ser­vat­ive mem­bers and some mod­er­ates. They were: Reps. Paul Broun, Phil Gin­grey, Jack King­ston, and Aus­tin Scott of Geor­gia; Thomas Massie of Ken­tucky; Rick Craw­ford of Arkan­sas; Chris Gib­son of New York; Frank Lo­Bi­ondo of New Jer­sey; Ral­ph Hall of Texas; Dave Jolly of Flor­ida; Wal­ter Jones of North Car­o­lina; and Dav­id McKin­ley of West Vir­gin­ia.

King­ston voted for the Ry­an budget in 2013, while Broun and Gin­grey op­posed it. All three are locked in a con­ten­tious, sev­en-way Re­pub­lic­an primary for re­tir­ing Sen. Saxby Cham­b­liss’s seat. Scott, Hall, and Lo­Bi­ondo also sup­por­ted Ry­an’s budget last year.

Mean­while, Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan, Joe Heck of Nevada, and Randy For­bes of Vir­gin­ia, who op­posed the Ry­an budget last year, voted in fa­vor of the 2014 budget Thursday.

GOP Rep. Vance Mc­Al­lister of Louisi­ana, who has missed votes all week on the heels of a kiss­ing scan­dal, and Rep. Jon Run­yan of New Jer­sey did not vote. Six Demo­crats also did not vote, in­clud­ing Rep. Allyson Schwartz, who is run­ning for gov­ernor of Pennsylvania.

The ac­tion fol­lowed a series of House votes on al­tern­at­ives, in­clud­ing de­feats earli­er Thursday of a House Demo­crat­ic al­tern­at­ive and Wed­nes­day of what Re­pub­lic­ans offered as a ver­sion of Pres­id­ent Obama’s pro­posed fisc­al 2015 budget — a de­pic­tion Demo­crats dis­puted.

In a lead-up to the vote on the Ry­an plan, the Budget Com­mit­tee chair­man and 2012 GOP vice pres­id­en­tial nom­in­ee de­fen­ded his pro­pos­al on the cham­ber floor and cast the Demo­crat­ic al­tern­at­ive as one that “nev­er bal­ances.”

“At the end of the day, it’s just not cred­ible,” Ry­an said.

But Demo­crats, led by Budget Com­mit­tee rank­ing mem­ber Chris Van Hol­len and Minor­ity Lead­er Nancy Pelosi, cast the Ry­an plan as one that pro­tects the rich and spe­cial in­terests at the ex­pense of the middle class, with Pelosi say­ing it is “a path to ru­in; it is not a path to prosper­ity.”

Pas­sage of the Ry­an bill is ef­fect­ively a sym­bol­ic mes­saging man­euver in a midterm-elec­tion year.

In fact, Demo­crats who lead the Sen­ate don’t plan to pass a budget at all for fisc­al 2015, which be­gins Oct. 1, say­ing that the two-year spend­ing agree­ment Sen­ate Budget Com­mit­tee Chair­wo­man Patty Mur­ray reached in Decem­ber with Ry­an makes that un­ne­ces­sary. The Mur­ray-Ry­an agree­ment set dis­cre­tion­ary spend­ing levels for the up­com­ing fisc­al year at $1.014 tril­lion.

Even some Re­pub­lic­ans ac­know­ledge pas­sage of the Ry­an budget is more an as­pir­a­tion­al de­clar­a­tion of their party’s pri­or­it­ies and vis­ion of gov­ern­ment spend­ing.

But the vote Thursday showed that it is not ne­ces­sar­ily a re­flec­tion of all House Re­pub­lic­ans’ vis­ion. Some con­ser­vat­ive de­fec­tions had been an­ti­cip­ated.

“This is a mes­saging bill. What it says is, if you give us the Sen­ate and we have the House, this is what we will do, this is what we can do,” Massie said earli­er this week.

“And so I think it should be bold, it should be cred­ible…. I think it should be bolder than it is and I can’t sup­port it.”

“The reas­on I’m not go­ing to vote for the Ry­an budget is it has the 10-year num­ber “¦ be­fore we bal­ance it,” he said. “When the Amer­ic­an people look at this and say we elec­ted them to bal­ance a budget and now they’re go­ing to rely on people 10 years from now to ac­tu­ally get the job done — when in fact this year we raised the budget gap, we couldn’t even keep the prom­ise that we made a year or two ago.”

Still, Ry­an’s plan does rep­res­ent a sort of Re­pub­lic­an mani­festo on deal­ing with the na­tion’s fin­ances. And Ry­an had said in un­veil­ing the plan last week that he thinks “it’s im­port­ant to show our vis­ion as a party for the fu­ture.” The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is now about $17.5 tril­lion in debt.

His budget pushes high­er de­fense spend­ing — and cuts and changes to Medi­care, Medi­caid, food stamps, and oth­er so­cial safety-net pro­grams.

Some 40 per­cent of the $5.1 tril­lion in sav­ings en­vi­sioned in Ry­an’s “big­ger pic­ture” for the next 10 years is de­pic­ted as com­ing through a full re­peal of the Af­ford­able Care Act. In all, his plan would spend about $42.6 tril­lion over 10 years, com­pared with about $47.8 tril­lion un­der ex­ist­ing policies.

At the same time, Ry­an’s budget does not say pre­cisely what he would re­place Obama­care with, only of­fer­ing the ex­pect­a­tion that it will be re­placed. And Demo­crats, like Van Hol­len of Mary­land, com­plain that Ry­an’s pro­pos­al, even while scrap­ping the health care law, keeps all of its more than $700 bil­lion in Medi­care sav­ings, as well as $1 tril­lion in rev­en­ues from Obama­care.

And Ry­an’s budget calls for re­du­cing taxes on the wealthy — in­di­vidu­als would have just two rates, 25 per­cent and 10 per­cent — and cut­ting the cor­por­ate tax rate to 25 per­cent. But it does not lay out a de­tailed route to those goals or even em­brace a re­cent one pro­posed by Ways and Means Com­mit­tee Chair­man Dave Camp of Michigan.

Ry­an’s plan would abide by the agree­ment with Mur­ray on a split in spend­ing levels between de­fense and nondefense pro­grams for fisc­al 2014 and 2015. But his longer-range mil­it­ary spend­ing would blow past that deal. Mil­it­ary spend­ing through 2024 would ac­tu­ally be in­creased by $483 bil­lion over a cap es­tab­lished in 2011, and to pre-se­quester levels — $274 bil­lion more than re­ques­ted by the pres­id­ent. Mean­while, nondefense spend­ing would be cut by $791 bil­lion.

To reach bal­ance in 10 years, Ry­an’s plan em­braces a con­tro­ver­sial “dy­nam­ic scor­ing” no­tion that there would be some pos­it­ive im­pact on the na­tion’s eco­nom­ic growth simply by re­du­cing the de­fi­cit and cut­ting spend­ing — al­though some eco­nom­ists dis­agree with this and even sug­gest that it could slow the eco­nomy. Ry­an had not in­cluded such a cal­cu­la­tion in his pre­vi­ous budget pro­pos­als.

Ry­an’s plan also would turn more con­trol of Medi­caid and food stamps over to states — an an­nu­al pro­pos­al that some say would save money but has been a pop­u­lar elec­tion-year tar­get for Demo­crats.

The plan re­tains Ry­an’s idea for each Medi­care re­cip­i­ent to choose from a list of cov­er­age op­tions and pay­ments that would “best suit his or her needs,” and then pay­ments would be made dir­ectly to that plan. Over the longer term, the pro­pos­al dis­cusses giv­ing seni­ors who first be­come eli­gible when turn­ing 65 on or after Jan. 1, 2024, a choice of se­lect­ing private plans along­side the tra­di­tion­al fee-for-ser­vice Medi­care pro­gram.

Ry­an in­sists that this is not a “vouch­er sys­tem.”

But Van Hol­len has dis­puted that. And he said on the House floor be­fore the vote that “budgets re­flect the choices we make for our coun­try. They tell the Amer­ic­an people what we care about and what we care less about.”

What We're Following See More »
FIRST WOMAN NOMINATED BY MAJOR PARTY
Hillary Clinton Accepts the Democratic Nomination for President
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"It is with humility, determination, and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for president," said Hillary Clinton in becoming the first woman to accept a nomination for president from a major party. Clinton gave a wide-ranging address, both criticizing Donald Trump and speaking of what she has done in the past and hopes to do in the future. "He's taken the Republican party a long way, from morning in America to midnight in America," Clinton said of Trump. However, most of her speech focused instead on the work she has done and the work she hopes to do as president. "I will be a president of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For the struggling, the striving, the successful," she said. "For those who vote for me and for those who don't. For all Americans together."

COUNTER-CHANTS AT THE READY
Protesters Make Good on Threat to Disrupt Speech
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

Supporters of Bernie Sanders promised to walk out, turn their backs, or disrupt Hillary Clinton's speech tonight, and they made good immediately, with an outburst almost as soon as Clinton began her speech. But her supporters, armed with a handy counter-chant cheat sheet distributed by the campaign, immediately began drowning them out with chants of "Hillary, Hillary!"

SUFFOLK POLL
New Survey Shows Clinton Up 9 in Pennsylvania
15 hours ago
THE LATEST

If a new poll is to be believed, Hillary Clinton has a big lead in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania. A new Suffolk University survey shows her ahead of Donald Trump, 50%-41%. In a four-way race, she maintains her nine-point lead, 46%-37%. "Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, going back to Bill Clinton’s first win in 1992. Yet it is a rust belt state that could be in play, as indicated by recent general-election polling showing a close race."

Source:
THREE NIGHTS RUNNING
Democrats Beat Republicans in Convention Ratings So Far
16 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Wednesday was the third night in a row that the Democratic convention enjoyed a ratings win over the Republican convention last week. Which might have prompted a fundraising email from Donald Trump exhorting supporters not to watch. "Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight," the email read. "Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies and fight back against her nasty attacks."

Source:
SHIFT FROM ROMNEY’S NUMBERS
Catholics, Highly Educated Moving Toward Dems
20 hours ago
THE LATEST

Catholics who attend mass at least weekly have increased their support of the Democratic nominee by 22 points, relative to 2012, when devout Catholics backed Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, a Morning Consult poll shows that those voters with advanced degrees prefer Hillary Clinton, 51%-34%. Which, we suppose, makes the ideal Clinton voter a Catholic with a PhD in divinity.

×