PARKERSBURG - A House Republican budget proposal was called misguided and politically partisan by West Virginia's two Democratic senators.
Sens. Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller panned the proposal from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who proposed $5 trillion in cuts over the next five years. A major proposal in the Ryan plan is Medicare eligibility raises to 67 and caps spending on those who turn 65 after 2023. Traditional Medicare plans would be available as an option at a higher cost than private plans.
"The House Republicans' latest attempt at a partisan budget proposal is just as misguided and irresponsible as the last one," Rockefeller said.
"How is it fair to ask seniors to sacrifice the guarantee of Medicare while at the same time giving a tax cut to the very wealthy? Chairman Ryan wants to give the wealthiest Americans a multi-trillion-dollar tax cut that would cause the national debt to skyrocket," Rockefeller said.
"His plan also throws out the window cuts to unnecessary Pentagon spending that we agreed on less than a year ago. The Ryan budget carries no sense of balance or shared sacrifice. It is a slap in the face to struggling Americans who have already given up so much," he said. "I can't support a budget that is not good for West Virginia or the rest of the country."
Manchin said the most critical fiscal challenge is finding a solution that will bring people together, not drive them apart.
"While I appreciate that Congressman Ryan put forth a budget, this proposal hurts our core values and priorities and it won't win the support of members of both parties," Manchin said.
The only plan that has bipartisan support is the Bowles-Simpson proposal, Manchin said. Partisan proposals meant to score political points won't solve problems, he said. Formed as the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform by President Obama for long-term solutions, it became known for its chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson,
"As I have said since I arrived in the Senate, there is already a template with broad bipartisan support one that puts this country on the right path and that forces us live within our means," he said. "The Bowles-Simpson approach lays out a framework for meaningful tax reform that makes our system more fair and responsibly cuts government spending without damaging our core priorities of keeping our promises to our seniors, veterans and children in poverty."