Just two days after winning Tuesday’s primary election three
Democratic candidates voiced their opposition to Congressman Paul Ryan’s
GOP budget plan, which passed the Republican-lead House Budget
Committee Wednesday night.
Challenging candidates Tammy Duckworth, Brad Schneider, and Bill Foster held a press conference in Chicago’s River North neighborhood to urge their Republican opponents to fight Ryan’s budget.
Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran who will
face Tea Party lightning rod Joe Walsh (R-8) come November, said most
notably Ryan’s plan will “gut Medicare as we know it.”
According to the New York Times, Ryan’s budget plan would slash Medicare funding by $205 billion and would turn the government program into a free-market voucher system. Additionally, the Republican budget would reduce the number of tax brackets, which max out at 35 percent, from six to two at 10 percent and 25 percent rates.
By 2016, the Ryan plan would reduce the country’s $1.18 trillion deficit to $241 billion compared to the $529 billion deficit proposed by Obama’s budget, which includes large military cuts rather than slashing entitlement programs.
The Democratic candidates blasted Ryan’s budget saying it would benefit the country’s richest citizens while cutting essential government services to America’s neediest populations: the poor and elderly.
“Everybody understands that we’re going to have to make decisions on where to reduce spending, but to do it on the backs of the people who can afford it the least, to do it in a way that’s going to end Medicare and turn it into something we don’t recognize … is absolutely wrong,” said Brad Schneider, who is challenging incumbent Bob Dold (R-10).
Here's more from today's press conference with Duckworth, Schneider and Foster, the latter of whom is going up against Republican Judy Biggert in the newly-drawn 11th congressional district:
Ryan has defended his budget, which would also cut Pell grant funding for needy college-bound students, saying he’s trying to cut taxes and close the deficit of a “bankrupt government.”
Mitt Romney, who won Illinois’ GOP presidential primary, is backing the budget along with at least 19 House Republicans. The Los Angeles Times reported that Romney praised Ryan’s budget “for taking a bold step toward putting our nation back on the track to fiscal sanity.”
Minutes before the press conference ended, Duckworth said residents in her district, 104,638 of which, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, are 55 years or older, are concerned about Medicare changes.
“It’s about getting out there and talking to people in the community and what they’re telling me from this primary campaign is that they do not want us to gut Medicare, they do not want us to ask them to give up their benefits just so we can give tax breaks to those who don’t need it,” Duckworth said.
The other two Democratic candidates agreed with Duckworth when she said there were “no sacred cows” when it came to proposing other areas for cuts, including military spending.
None of the Republican incumbents were available for comment on this story by deadline.