Campaign Trail

As Illinois primary unfolds, House GOP unveils budget plan

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Mar 20, 2012

Kai Ryssdal: You can say this about the election we’re going to have this fall, and the campaigning we’re living through right now on primary day in Illinois: It’s not tough to tell where people stand about Washington and spending taxpayer money. Small government, big government; cut spending, don’t cut spending. You know the rest.

House Republicans laid their budgetary cards on the table today. Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall-Genzer has more.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer: The budget plan is the brainchild of Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. He says President Obama isn’t taking the deficit seriously enough.

Paul Ryan: The president’s increasingly on the outside of the emerging consensus, looking in.

The Ryan plan slashes the number of income tax brackets down to two. It cuts corporate taxes, and it includes a scaled-down version of the Medicare reform plan Ryan proposed last year. Seniors didn’t like that plan, and Democrats capitalized on the controversy, scoring a surprise win in a special House election.

Eddie Vale: If this wasn’t a radio interview, you’d probably see a big smile on my face right now.

That’s Democratic activist Eddie Vale. He’s with Protect Your Care, a group that promotes the president’s health care law. He says the Ryan plan is a gift to Democrats, because the GOP will alienate seniors again.

But Republican strategist Ron Bonjean says the party’s congressional candidates just have to emphasize that the plan would  only affect future Medicare recipients, giving them a choice of private insurance plans or traditional Medicare. Bonjean says the GOP has to make the case for reform — quickly.

Ron Bonjean: They have to define this issue before the Democrats define it for them.

J.D. Foster of the conservative Heritage Foundation says when GOP lawmakers do that in their campaigns, they’ll realize…

J.D. Foster: It gives them something very concrete to run on, and that’s precisely what they needed.

The Republican presidential candidates didn’t exactly rally around the Ryan plan today, but Foster says they will, once they’ve had a chance to study it.

In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall-Genzer for Marketplace.

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