ABOUT THAT ALTERNATIVE GOP BUDGET…. There were, we were told, two main reasons for Republican lawmakers to present an alternative budget. In the face of near-constant criticism from the White House and Democratic leaders on the Hill, the GOP’s first goal was to prove that it had serious, credible ideas of its own. Republicans then said they wanted to demonstrate that the government could re-embrace fiscal responsibility, pursuing goals while reducing the deficit.
So far, the minority party is failing badly in both categories.
Last week, the House GOP presented its alternative budget proposal. Members of the media, including conservative commentators, widely panned the document for being scant on details and appearing more as “campaign-style talking points.” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), ranking member of the House Budget Committee, has said he will release yet another budget proposal, but this time with more specifics.
Though Ryan has been most critical of the deficit impact of Obama’s budget, he has been unable to assess the deficit impact of his own budget. After being repeatedly asked this weekend by Bloomberg’s Al Hunt about “how large” the deficit would be under the Republican plan, Ryan finally respond, “A lot.”
This is only marginally better than Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), who stammered and stumbled last week when pressed on how big the deficit would be under the Republican plan.
Remember, according to Republican lawmakers, the principal criticism of the Obama administration’s budget is that it runs large deficits in the short term. In response, the GOP proposes a massive tax cut for everyone earning more than $100,000, a deficit that would be “a lot,” and has not (or cannot) offer any details on the proposal itself.
At the same time, we have one leading Republican senator saying the party is “working very hard” to produce a budget “with numbers” in it, while another leading Republican senator says the caucus won’t bother to produce a document at all.
Can’t anybody here play this game?
The GOP really didn’t think this one through.