The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

April 12, 2014

In Iowa, Ryan says budget a step toward GOP unity

(Continued)

CEDAR RAPIDS —

"I certainly do not endorse all the details in that budget. But I do give him credit for at least trying to do something," Branstad told The Associated Press this week. "I obviously am concerned about those things that would have a negative impact on our state or on our state budget."

Ryan authored the mostly symbolic measure. It promises a balanced federal ledger in 10 years through sweeping cuts in social spending, including major changes to the health care law.

The plan, which also calls for steps toward private market solutions, could be a sort of political credo for Ryan, should he seek the presidency.

Under the plan passed in the GOP-controlled House, Congress would repeal the Medicaid component of the 2010 health care bill. Last year, Branstad, like several GOP governors, agreed to expand and modify the state-administered health care plan for poor people, with the understanding that the federal government would provide financing for the expansion for three years before gradually decreasing the portion to 90 percent.

The GOP plan would cut more than $5 trillion over the coming decade. It would rely on sharp cuts to domestic programs, but leave Social Security untouched and shift more money to the Pentagon and health care for veterans. The cuts would come at the expense of poor people and seniors on Medicaid, lower-income workers receiving the health care law's subsidies, and people receiving food stamps or Pell Grants.

"House Republicans put our votes on the line, and we passed for the fourth year in a row a budget that balances the budget and pays off our debt," Ryan said, in his lone mention of the measure during his 20 minute speech Friday night.

The comment sparked a slow roll of applause across the banquet hall. But, several other Iowa GOP leaders and candidates said it would not go far enough.

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