Son of Ryan

You’d think that after careful consideration of the polling data that came out last year about Paul Ryan’s budget proposal that congressional Republicans would be loath to bring it up just as an election year gets fully underway.

But they are apparently fixated on showing they can unite around a particular budget blueprint, unlike Democrats, and the House wants to show it can pass a budget, unike the Senate. So Ryan is unveiling a revised version of his famous budget tomorrow.

But it’s more perilous for Republicans that just warmed-over Ryan, as WaPo’s Rosalind Helderman explains:

Ryan may this year face a new headache: tea party conservatives in his party eager to slash spending more quickly than his proposal will advocate.

To earn their support, Republican leaders have said that a consensus was emerging around a budget that sets discretionary spending at $1.028 trillion for fiscal 2013 — the same level included in Ryan’s budget adopted a year ago.

Even so, Ryan’s budget will face a key test with fiscal conservatives who pack the House Budget Committee, which he chairs. Republicans on the committee were briefed on the document last week, and the full committee will publicly dissect the plan Wednesday.

The Club for Growth fired a warning shot Friday, arguing in a news release that any budget that fails to eliminate deficits within a decade would be “simply an exercise in futility.” Ryan’s budget last year would have taken nearly 30 years to eliminate the deficit.

The pressure for more savings without any revenue measures will, it appears, make it very difficult for him to shift to the modified Medicare proposal he made with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden that would keep traditional Medicare available as an option alongside the private-insurance-based voucher plan he originally unveiled to unfavorable reviews.

Moreover, if Ryan and GOP congressional leaders can manage to come up with a budget plan drastic enough to satisfy renewed conservative demands, it will not only represent a big, dangerous recorded vote for Members of Congress, but a blueprint that GOP presidential candidates will be forced to embrace (as occurred last year, when Newt Gingrich’s dismissal of Ryan’s entitlement proposals nearly wrecked his campaign before it formally began).

So all eyes will be on Ryan, and his latest budgetary progeny, tomorrow.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.