House approves chairman Ryan’s FY12 budget

The House of Representatives passes House Concurrent Resolution 34, the Ryan Budget.

Both the House and Senate are in spring recess this week and next, but before heading out of town the House passed House Concurrent Resolution 34, the Fiscal Year 2012 proposal from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). The resolution passed 235-193, with four Republicans voting against the bill (Walter Jones, NC; David McKinley, WV; Ron Paul, TX; and Dennis Rehberg, MT) and five Members not voting (John Boehner, R-OH; Dave Reichert, R-WA; Gabrielle Giffords, D-AZ; Gregory Meeks, D-NY; and John Olver, D-MA).

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) weighed in on the House bill, calling Ryan’s plan “most troubling because it lacks balance. A balanced long-term deficit reduction plan would include discretionary spending cuts, including defense; entitlement changes; and tax reform that simplifies the tax code, lowers rates, and raises revenue. That is what the President’s bipartisan Fiscal Commission proposed. Representative Ryan’s plan, on the other hand, fails to include savings in defense and actually reduces revenue. The result is that his plan relies on deep cuts in the safety net for seniors, children, and other vulnerable populations, as well as deep cuts in critical areas like education, which are needed to promote long-term economic growth.”

When Congress returns, watch for what is sure to be a vastly different budget bill to emerge in the Senate, and prepare for wrangling to ensue between the two chambers. House and Senate appropriations committees have begun work on the actual Fiscal Year 2012 funding bills, holding hearings with staff from all of the federal agencies (including those with scientific research portfolios), and following recess they will continue to draft appropriations legislation despite the lack of an agreed-upon budget resolution and a looming fight over the federal debt ceiling.