As House Republicans prepare to unveil the third iteration of Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget on Tuesday, some rank-and-file members are visibly uncomfortable defending the measure’s reliance on President Obama’s policies to achieve balance in 10 years.
During an appearance on CNN’s Starting Point on Monday morning, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) struggled to explain why the blueprint will include more than $600 billion in additional revenue that was part of the fiscal cliff compromise if Republicans oppose increasing marginal tax rates and overwhelmingly voted against the measure:
RYAN LIZZA (NEW YORKER): Did you vote against the fiscal cliff deal?
CHAFFETZ: Yeah, I did.
LIZZA: Is this budget going to assume the $600 billion in new revenues in that fiscal cliff deal?
CHAFFETZ: Well, we haven’t gotten to the final product. Paul has not yet released it. It potentially will [...] But look, at the end of the day you’ve got to put numbers on a piece of paper and achieve balance. So I think there’s a mix there…
LIZZA: Speaking to America’s frustration, Republicans voted overwhelmingly against a deal that raised $600 billion in revenue, and now it sounds like they’re going to put out a budget that pockets that $600 billion and put that up for a vote. So I think that paradox is — is a little difficult to understand.
Chaffetz ultimately conceded that the GOP lost on the tax issue and is now looking to benefit from the very changes they claimed would hamstring the economy and undermine job growth.
The budget will also likely include Medicare savings from the Affordable Care Act and “adjustments for an expected decline in war spending, a move that could reduce assumed expenditures by up to $600 billion over the next decade.” Ryan has consistently derided war savings as “phantom savings” and promised to restore the Medicare cuts during his vice presidential bid.
Aside from adopting Obama’s policies, the budget will likely assume unrealistic levels of revenue to achieve balance in 10 years.