Rep. Paul Ryan
Rep. Paul Ryan

Say what you will about the House Republican Budget Bill proposed by Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), but the fundamental truth remains that it took a Republican Majority in the House to finally begin the ball rolling towards curbing the federal budget before it destroys this nation.

The Ryan plan passed the House by a vote of 235-193, with only four Republicans, including West Virginia First District Congressman David McKinley, voting against it.   But now the U.S. Senate has voted it down by a margin of 57-40.  Five Republicans joined all the Democratic Senators in opposing the House bill.  Though the bill slashed many billions of dollars from the federal budget, the most discussed aspect of it was in its replacement of the current Medicare benefit with a voucher system.

Contrary to the excessive rhetoric offered by the Democrats, the Ryan plan would not have affected anyone currently on Medicare, nor would those close to receiving the benefit be affected.  But clearly, the issue of Medicare costs is a serious one for a population expecting to age considerably in the years ahead, so the Ryan plan is an attempt to head off some of those incredible costs before they take the nation's economy down for the count.


To be frank, we didn't expect Democrats in our state's Congressional delegation to endorse the Ryan plan. Junior U.S. Senator Joe Manchin showed, once again, that he will always side with President Obama and the Democratic leadership on the big issues.  Senior U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller was a big spender of the people's money as a Governor, and he has never seen a spending bill he didn't like as a liberal Democrat in the U.S. Senate.  Over the past 27 years in Washington, Rockefeller has been as far removed from the wishes of most of his constituents as a U.S. Senator can possible be.

But again, we didn't expect the state's Democratic contingent in D.C. to boldly embrace the Ryan plan.  Boldness isn't in their DNA.

However, what every thinking West Virginia across party lines should expect from folks like Rockefeller, Manchin, and Rahall is an alternative solution to the federal budget crisis.   If they don't like the Ryan plan, let's hear their best solution for reining in the costs of entitlement spending.

Fat chance.

Criticism of another's ideas is easy, especially in Washington, D.C.  But wouldn't it be refreshing to see our Congressional Democratic contingent actually proposing a viable, sensible alternative instead of their stale, partisan caterwauling?

Because let's face it:  without the Republican Majority in the House of Representatives, this crucial conversation about the solvency of the federal government would not even be taking place.