by John Dankosky – A midnight deadline is approaching for Congress to reach a budget agreement or face a government shutdown. Democrats and Republicans are locked in a short-term political battle over the scope of government cuts, but congressman Jim Himes says its a long-term conversation that needs to happen.
Himes said that Republican congressman Paul Ryan is proposing a “glidepath” for the federal government to reduce its deficit over the next ten years, similar to the “Simpson-Bowles” recommendations that came out of President Obama’s deficit commission.
Speaking on WNPR’s Where We Live, Himes says he doesn’t like a much about Ryan’s plan – a plan that he says would shift healthcare costs and cut deeply into transportation funding.
“But look, it’s an opening statement for a negotiation that we need to have. I’ve been on record for a couple of months saying that I support the Simpson-Bowles proposal. I’m not happy about much that’s in there – but we do need to have that broad-based conversation. And frankly, Ryan’s proposal, though problematic in a lot of ways, has now shifted the spotlight to the Democrats for them to sort of say, ‘Here’s our version of the next ten years, and what government should be doing.’”
The Simpson-Bowles plan proposes some caps on spending that are similar to Ryan’s plan, but also proposes cuts to defense spending, something the Republican plan does not.
Himes says he hopes that now that Ryan’s plan is out, that President Obama will get behind Simpson-Bowles and push it through the Senate.