Tag Archives: Ryan Budget

Why Austerity Fails When the Cuts Get Specific

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. (Wikimedia Commons)

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. (Wikimedia Commons)

It’s one thing to support spending cuts in vague terms. It’s another thing to support specific cuts to tangible investments and public services. House Republicans enthusiastically supported severe — but vague — austerity in the Ryan budget. But on July 31, they refused to support the specific cuts required by that same budget.

Specifically, Republican leaders had to pull their spending bill for transportation and housing programs from the House floor, once it was clear that it lacked enough support to pass. That bill had to make deep cuts to infrastructure and affordable housing to fit within the Ryan budget’s low spending limit. When House members saw what those cuts would actually look like, they refused to support the bill.

My new report at Center for American Progress explains why the cuts in the House’s transportation and housing bill would be a disaster if they were every allowed to become law. Remember, these cuts were a sincere attempt by Ryan budget supporters to find the lowest-hanging fruit left to cut: Continue reading

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Spending Cuts are About to Get Specific

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers. (Wikimedia Commons)

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers. (Wikimedia Commons)

It’s unfortunate that discussions about federal spending are often filled with generic talk about overall spending levels, “non-defense discretionary spending,” and “sequestration.” Ultimately, what matters is funding for specific programs and agencies, such as Americorps, the National Institutes of Health, and VA hospitals. In that sense, it’s good to see the debate get more specific this week, with the House Appropriations Committee approving spending levels for each of the twelve appropriations bills that will fund the government in fiscal year 2014.

The Ryan Budget, which was passed by House Republicans, calls for deep across-the-board cuts in domestic spending. Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) followed that blueprint in his allocations for the twelve appropriations bills.

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Ryan Budget: Giving States Flexibility Works…But Only to Justify Shredding the Social Safety Net

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. (Wikimedia Commons)

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Ryan Budget makes enormous cuts to critical safety net programs that help low-income families access health care and put food on the table. Its author, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), claims that these programs will become more efficient, by transferring control over them from the federal government to the states. This belief in the power of giving states flexibility is central to the Ryan Budget. If the states fail to dramatically improve program efficiency, then the Ryan Budget would shred the social safety net.

Given the stakes, one would expect the Ryan Budget to be deeply committed to the idea of giving states flexibility. However, the budget only supports that concept when it is being used to justify deep spending cuts. The Ryan Budget actually takes a dim view towards programs where states already have flexibility, and is especially critical of decisions by the Obama Administration to delegate more authority to  the states.

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