Connecticut senator and former Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman, on Paul Ryan's budget:

I thank Chairman Ryan for having the courage not just to talk frankly about the danger America's national debt poses to the American people but also to propose a comprehensive program to cut the national debt. One does not have to agree with all or most of Chairman Ryan's proposals to be able to applaud his serious commitment to reduce the debt that threatens our nation's future. I look forward to reading and studying Paul’s proposals. I hope it will begin an open and honest national conversation about exactly what we can do together to bring our government's books into balance. More of us in Congress from both sides of the aisle need to step forward to embrace comprehensive solutions to address this problem. Now is not the time for half-measures or politics as usual, and Chairman Ryan has recognized this reality by offering his plan. Let us now work together to forge and pass bi-partisan legislation that puts our country on a course to restore fiscal responsibility and places entitlement programs on a sound financial footing.

Speaker of the House John Boehner:

“The American people understand we can’t continue spending money we don’t have, especially when doing so is making it harder to create jobs and get our economy back on track. The Administration has put forward a budget for next year that raises taxes by $1.5 trillion and is silent on our debt crisis, a surefire recipe for destroying jobs. Our budget will help spur job creation today, stop spending money we don’t have, and lift the crushing burden of debt that threatens our children’s future. It also recognizes Americans are concerned not just about how much government spends, but how government spends it, and keeps our pledge to set strict budget caps that limit federal spending on annual basis. Most importantly, this budget shows families and small businesses that we’re serious about dealing with America’s spending illness so we can put our country on a path to prosperity.

“Chairman Ryan and the members of the Budget Committee have done an excellent job putting together a budget worthy of the American people. I hope every American concerned about our country’s future will take a look at it.”

House majority leader Eric Cantor:

We had a Conference meeting last night, and we had a Conference meeting this morning. Our Members are resolute in wanting to see that we can cut as much spending as possible, so we can get our fiscal house in order, so we can begin to see people get back to work in this country. Our Members are embracing this budget that actually leads. I think that the point has to be made that the White House refused to take the tough issues on, and that’s what Chairman Ryan and his Budget Committee are going to do today. They are going to demonstrate that Republicans are serious about leading. We're serious about resolving problems in this town so that people across the country can get their lives back in order, get back to work and continue to compete and lead again.

The White House has increased the likelihood of a shutdown in dismissing out of hand a vehicle that we have put forward to say, look we don’t want a shutdown. Again, our Members are very concerned to make sure that our troops are funded and they are paid regardless. That is our real concern. We've got real lives on the line in harm's way. None of us want to see a govenrment shutdown, we just want to cut spending. We've got to change the status quo in this town. That’s what our budget is about long-term and frankly that’s what we are trying to do short term. It is a lack of leadership in the Senate that has brought us to where we are over the last couple months, it's the fact that the Democrats didn’t pass as budget or any appropriations bills last year, that has brought us to where we are. We are changing the dynamic here. It's tough business, our Members are ready to do what is necessary to solve problems. We need the White House and the Senate to go along with us.

House majority whip Kevin McCarthy:

We have reached a point in America where the excessive federal debt threatens our future prosperity. We have reached a point where we will be the first generation to pass on a future to our children and grandchildren with less freedom and opportunity than we've experienced. This is unacceptable. The American people sent a message loud and clear last November to that we must cut spending, reduce the debt, and revive the American dream. Thus, the budget unveiled by House Republicans today shrinks the size and scope of government, cuts trillions in spending, and fosters economic growth that will create millions of new jobs.

“The House Republican budget is a responsible alternative to President Obama’s unaffordable plan to tax, borrow, and spend. The Republican budget will not only put our nation on a path back to economic security and prosperity, but it will preserve and strengthen critical programs like Medicare for future generations. The time to act is now. House Republicans have chosen to lead when President Obama has irresponsibly chosen a future of debt and despair. Republicans have put forward a fact-based budget that makes tough choices and recognizes we must limit government and grow the economy in order to ensure our future as a free and prosperous nation.”

Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn:

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who unveils his budget this week, deserves credit for pushing the debate toward our $14.2 trillion question. His critics who fail to offer plans of their own have little credibility.

Congress can choose a path of prosperity over austerity but only if we act quickly. History, and future generations, will not be kind to those who sleep.

Peter Wehner:

What it does is to restore the GOP’s reputation for intellectual vitality. This cannot be achieved through incantations or the recitation of shallow talking points; it can only be done by offering a comprehensive governing agenda along with carefully argued and compellingly articulated programs of reform. And from state houses to the United States Congress, Republicans are now “setting the public policy agenda,” as Daniel DiSalvo argues in his important essay in the current issue of COMMENTARY. (DiSalvo quotes Paul Starr, editor of the American Prospect, who admits that liberalism has become largely “defensive” and “oppositional.”)

...For two years President Obama, a man of the left whose stated purpose was to “transform” America, had his way. But he badly overreached; Republicans have pushed back with vigor and passion and now, thanks to Ryan’s Path to Prosperity, a compelling governing alternative. So here we are at a political and philosophical inflection point, where issues of first principles are being debated and decided. There are worse things that can happen in a republic.

New York Times columnist David Brooks:

The country lacked that leadership until today. Today, Paul Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, is scheduled to release the most comprehensive and most courageous budget reform proposal any of us have seen in our lifetimes. Ryan is expected to leap into the vacuum left by the president’s passivity. The Ryan budget will not be enacted this year, but it will immediately reframe the domestic policy debate.

His proposal will set the standard of seriousness for anybody who wants to play in this discussion. It will become the 2012 Republican platform, no matter who is the nominee. Any candidate hoping to win that nomination will have to be able to talk about government programs with this degree of specificity, so it will improve the G.O.P. primary race.

The Ryan proposal will help settle the fight over the government shutdown and the 2011 budget because it will remind everybody that the real argument is not about cutting a few billion here or there. It is about the underlying architecture of domestic programs in 2012 and beyond.

The Ryan budget will put all future arguments in the proper context: The current welfare state is simply unsustainable and anybody who is serious, on left or right, has to have a new vision of the social contract.

Jim Capretta:

House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan has laid out a vision for 21st-century governance that will become the GOP program for 2011, 2012, and beyond.

It is unquestionably the boldest budget plan ever offered (including Reagan’s first budget), focused first and foremost on bringing federal spending commitments into line with the revenue generated from a pro-growth tax system. It reforms entitlement programs, starting with Medicare and Medicaid of course, but not ending there. Farm payments, welfare programs, and corporate subsidies all are reformed and refocused to reduce costs to taxpayers and work as they should. Outdated programs are thrown out. The bureaucracy is cut down to size. No corner of the budget is spared from scrutiny, including defense. The challenge of unlimited government, and runaway spending, deficits, and debt is immense — but the Ryan plan more than meets it.

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