Paul Ryan avoiding public fight with conservatives over budget

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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WASHINGTON — A member of Paul Ryan’s own party took to the op-ed pages of the New York Times on Tuesday to publish a blistering critique of the House GOP Budget chairman’s proposed budget for next year, saying it needs deeper cuts.

But as the Republican leadership vows to put Ryan’s budget to a vote in the House this week, Ryan is avoiding getting into a public back-and-forth with the conservative wing of the GOP over whether he’s cutting enough spending.

“I’m not going to comment on it,” Ryan told The Daily Caller at the Capitol on Tuesday, in response to a question about Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun’s op-ed. “I haven’t read it yet.”

In the op-ed, titled “Paul Ryan’s Ax Isn’t Sharp Enough,” Broun made clear he won’t vote Ryan’s budget, arguing that despite Ryan’s projections of balancing the budget in a decade, his spending plan “fails to seriously address runaway government spending.”

“The latest budget proposal by Representative Paul D. Ryan, called ‘The Path to Prosperity,’ is anything but,” Broun argued in the article.

“It fails to seriously address runaway government spending, the most pressing problem facing our nation,” he wrote. “I cannot vote for something that would trick the American people into thinking that Congress is fixing Washington’s spending problem, when in actuality we’d just be allowing it to continue without end.”

In the op-ed, Broun, who recently announced he’s running for the U.S. Senate, says that under Ryan’s proposed budget, spending “would grow by an average of 3.4 percent annually, only slightly less than the rate under President Obama’s plan, which is 5 percent a year.”

“After 10 years — Mr. Ryan’s target for eliminating the deficit — the ‘Path to Prosperity’ will have spent $41 trillion, when the president’s plan would allow spending of $46 trillion,” he said.

In the op-ed, Broun proposes defunding the energy and education departments.

“This is the week when we bring to the country a responsible balanced budget,” Ryan said at a press conference earlier on Tuesday.

On Monday, the conservative Republican Study Committee offered an alternative budget, which they say would balance the budget by 2017.

House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday praised Ryan’s budget, and chose his words carefully when asked about the RSC budget.

“I think Paul Ryan and the budget committee has taken a responsible path in terms laying our priorities,” Boehner said.

A reporter asked if the RSC’s budget is “responsible” too.

“In their minds it is,” Boehner responded.

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