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GOP Unveils 2012 Budget Plan

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GOP Unveils 2012 Budget Plan

Politics

GOP Unveils 2012 Budget Plan

GOP Unveils 2012 Budget Plan

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House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveils the GOP alternative to President Obama's fiscal 2012 budget plan. It includes sweeping changes in Medicare and Medicaid, plus new caps on discretionary spending. Democrats won't embrace it. But it does move the discussion onto "real money," or entitlements, and give the GOP a chance to lay out its priorities for putting U.S. fiscal affairs in order.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

NPR's Audie Cornish reports.

AUDIE CORNISH: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

ERIC CANTOR: We've always said that there's going to be three bites at the apple in the spending fight. The first was going to be the C.R. resolving the rest of this fiscal year. The next was going to be the budget, and the final would be the debt limit. But we've got two bites at that apple today.

CORNISH: So Republicans unveiled a 70-plus page blueprint for 2012 - filled with charts and graphs and bullet points. House Budget Committee chairman, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, is the force behind the proposal.

PAUL RYAN: Now, let me walk you through some of the charts and some of the numbers. If you take a look at the screens on the side here, first of all, let's look at spending.

CORNISH: But core to the blueprint are proposals that would fundamentally change the structure of the health programs Medicare and Medicaid for people who are 55 years old and younger.

RYAN: We believe in this country that we ought to have a social safety net. We believe that we ought to have a safety net to catch people from slipping through the cracks, to help people when they're down on their luck and to help people who cannot help themselves. Problem is our social safety net is fraying at the seems.

CORNISH: Another cornerstone of the proposal, cuts tax rates for corporations and wealthy individuals from 35 percent down to 25 percent. Overall, the Ryan plan cuts the deficit by $4.4 trillion over 10 years.

MAX BAUCUS: Of course, we have to lower our budget deficit.

CORNISH: Montana's Max Baucus is the top Democrat on the Senate's tax-writing committee.

BAUCUS: But, of course, we have to do it fairly, so all Americans are part of the solution. All Americans are part of the solution. So that health insurance companies are also part of the solution. So the most wealthy are also part of the solution. All Americans have to be part of the solution.

CORNISH: Audie Cornish, NPR News, the Capitol.

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