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Toomey Takes the Lead in Senate GOP Budget

Toomey Takes the Lead in Senate GOP Budget

By Tom Mulkeen, Contributing Writer

Freshman GOP Senator Pat Toomey is preparing an ambitious budget plan that would balance the budget more than twice as fast as the plan recently released by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

According to The Hill, Toomey previewed his plan for Senate Republicans on Wednesday afternoon, but did not release details of the plan to the media.  However, sources indicated that the plan would balance the budget within ten years and was politically attainable.

Republicans in the Senate are reportedly upset about being left out of the budget discussions last week that were dictated by Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid along with input from the White House.  The GOP also believes that the Ryan plan does not balance the budget quickly enough.  Projections indicate it would take about 26 years.

It is almost a certainty that Toomey’s budget will include major changes to the entitlement spending that makes up the majority of spending by the federal government.  Ryan’s plan included a voucher program for Medicare that allows seniors to choose from private insurance plans and also would give block grants to the states for Medicaid.  The program does not make specific changes to social security, but it does open the door for future reforms for the program, which will become in more financial trouble as the baby boomers retire.

Traditionally in the Senate, it is very difficult for freshman to have much influence at all because the committees and leadership positions are dominated by more senior members who are established voices on their respective issues.  Even before his budget proposal, Toomey had introduced a balanced budget amendment in the Senate, which reportedly had the backing of every GOP Senator.  He also has made clear his position that repaying the debt that the U.S. owes to its creditors, should be its first priority when the debt limit is reached, which it is expected to next month.   

Toomey told the Morning Call that the budget received a “generally good reception” from his Republican colleagues and that he planned to release it to the public “soon.”    

Surprisingly, Toomey has been one of the most visible Republican Senators on the budget, which along with the debt limit will dominate the national political news for the next few months.  Somewhere Arlen Specter must be shaking his head.

2 Responses

  1. Since November I have developed a wait and see attitude, I have found that the preview hype is always more impressive than the actual facts.

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