Van Hollen on GOP budget: "Where is the shared sacrifice?" 

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, on Wednesday blasted the Republican budget proposal offered by chairman Rep. Paul Ryan.

"Where is the shared sacrifice?" Van Hollen asked rhetorically.

Citing last year's Fiscal Commission recommendations, he argued that tax increases had to be part of any "balanced approach" while the GOP budget relies exclusively on spending cuts to achieve deficit reduction.

Though he acknowledged the long-term debt crisis, Van Hollen said the nation needed to make "strategic national investments" to spur economic growth and job creation. "We do do not see the government as the enemy, but as the imperfect instrument by which we can accomplish together as a people what no individual or corporation can do alone," he said.

Van Hollen argued that the GOP budget would benefit the rich at the expense of everybody else. He said the proposed reforms to Medicare and Medicaid wouldn't reduce health care costs, but shift the burden to the old and poor.

"Indeed, this Republican budget is the same tired formula of extending tax breaks to the rich and powerful at the expense of the rest of America," Van Hollen said, "except this time on steroids and dressed up with nice-sounding sweet talk of 'reform' that masks the damage it will do."

He went on to say, "What is new in the Republican budget is the termination of the Medicare guaruntee for seniors. It doesn't reform Medicare; it deforms and dismantles it."

He said that Medicaid was already underfunded, and block granting the program to states "is like saving a drowning person by throwing them an anchor."

While Van Hollen also said, "significant and sustained spending cuts must be part of any balanced plan to reduce the deficit," there is no Democratic plan currently on the table to do that.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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