It won't get anywhere in the senate, but Rep. Paul Ryan's bold budget proposal that cuts more than $5 trillion over the next decade while restructuring Medicare says he has the votes to pass his plan in the House.
House Republican leaders voiced confidence Tuesday that they will pass their budget despite unified Democratic opposition and grumbling from GOP conservatives that its proposed spending cuts are too small.
"We have the votes," the budget architect, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), told reporters on the day he unveiled a plan to overhaul the tax code and cut $5.3 trillion in spending over a decade.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) predicted the budget resolution would receive "a strong vote of support" when it hits the House floor next week.
The plan, released with extensive fanfare on Tuesday, serves as an election-year agenda for a party hoping to hold onto its young House majority and win back the White House in November. Democrats attacked the blueprint en masse, even as they welcomed Ryan's modified proposal to overhaul Medicare as a politically dangerous plan they hope to exploit in the fall.
Next week's vote will be an important test of unity for a House GOP conference that has grown more divided in the year since it passed Ryan's last budget plan with only four Republican defections.
Achieving the same cohesion will be close to impossible this time around, and cracks began to form almost immediately.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), a conservative member of Ryan's Budget Committee, said he would vote against the plan, saying it broke the GOP's "Pledge to America" and did not cut spending deeply enough. Huelskamp voted for the Ryan budget in 2011.
The budget plan is political poison say many pros on both sides of the aisle. Democrats will use it to scare seniors who fear the changes in Medicare, while excoriating the GOP for lowering the tax rates for the rich and cutting services to the poor. This is a very effective line of attack and hard to counter unless the GOP can seize the narrative and win the messaging battle.
That probably won't happen. As Jazz Shaw and I discussed on my radio show last night, it is always easier to play Santa Claus than Scrooge. The medicine being proposed by Ryan and the GOP is bitter indeed. But in 10 years, if we don't get a handle on our deficits and debt, Ryan will look like a prophet and any proposed solution at that time will be far, far worse than what he is offering today.