Late last year, Rep. John Boehner stepped down from his seat in Congress and his role as Speaker of the House. Shortly thereafter, Rep. Paul Ryan was confirmed as his successor. Now, as Speaker of the House, Ryan now holds the most influential position in the House of Representatives. So how might this affect the budget process in 2016?
Before becoming Speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan chaired the House Ways and Means and House Budget Committees. As chair of the Budget Committee, it was Ryan’s responsibility to release multiple budget proposals as alternatives to the president’s budget proposals.
Generally speaking, Ryan’s budget proposals, each titled “The Path to Prosperity,” made deep cuts to critical domestic programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). They proposed repealing the Affordable Care Act, which studies show has helped the poor gain access to medical care. They failed to fund domestic initiatives badly in need of investment, such as job creation, education and infrastructure. And the proposals did all this while also proposing to reduce taxes for corporations and the wealthy and urging for steady increases in Pentagon spending over time.
In 2016, with Ryan as Speaker, the House Budget Committee could release a budget proposal this spring that revives some of Ryan’s previous budget proposal plans, such as proposing to block grant Medicaid and the food stamp program, which cut them deeply and turned them into state-administered programs. We’re also likely to see the return of sequestration for domestic spending programs but not for the Pentagon.
We’ll be watching to make sure this budget doesn't become a reality under Ryan's leadership. And in the coming months, we’ll help you make informed decisions at the upcoming primaries and caucuses coming to states around the country this spring. Stay tuned.