Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the ranking member of the Budget Committee and incoming chairman if Republicans capture the House in November, has a budget plan called “America’s Roadmap.” Right-wing pundits have applauded the plan, calling it “bold,” but reporters have noted that few Republicans have been willing to go on the record and actually cosponsor the legislation.
Yesterday at a town hall in Carmichael, California, a constituent got up and told Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) that she had visited the America’s Roadmap website after Lungren had told her at a previous town hall to visit it to see how Republicans would operate differently than the current Congress. She said she was unimpressed, and, as someone who “watches Fox News all day,” she wanted to see Tea Party principles of eliminating “almost everything” the federal government does. Lungren largely sidestepped her comment, and told the audience that he would promote national defense but cut spending for bicycle trails. After the town hall, ThinkProgress approached Lungren — who has not cosponsored Ryan’s budget — for clarification:
TP: Well, what about the Roadmap?
LUNGREN: The Paul Ryan Roadmap is, that is the best long term look at trying to deal with our fiscal insanity right now that anybody has done. But that doesn’t mean I would sign on to everything. Paul Ryan would probably look for some changes. But no one else has had the courage to try to come forward with a comprehensive approach, that’s what I said.
TP: But when you talk about “courage,” you haven’t cosponsored the Roadmap even though you’re endorsing it now. Would you endorse it before the election and cosponsor the bill?
LUNGREN: I don’t know.
Lungren tried to remain coy about many of his policy positions. Asked by another person at the town hall if he would sign onto a bill to repeal the Wall Street reform law passed by Congress earlier this year, he said he would “consider” it.
There is a reason why Republicans have tried to hide their support for the Ryan budget. The budget plan privatizes Social Security, creates a privatized-style voucher system for Medicare, and freezes nonsecurity discretionary spending from 2010–2019. As the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities notes, the Ryan budget would not even balance the budget or seriously reduce the national debt. It would, however, cut benefits for generations of elderly Americans and place millions into poverty.