Claims about Paul Ryan’s Budget Cuts – Fiction!

Claims about Paul Ryan’s Budget Cuts – Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:  

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan would slash federal spending by $2.5 trillion over 10 years.

The Truth:


A long list of cuts to government spending listed in this eRumor is real, but the list wasn’t taken from Paul Ryan’s budget plan. 

The list of spending cuts came from the Spending Reduction Act of 2011, which was introduced by Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan in January of 2011. Paul Ryan was not one of the Spending Reduction Act’s 32 co-sponsors. The bill later died, and lawmakers signed the Budget Control Act of 2011 into law instead, which Paul Ryan voted in favor of.   

The Republican Study Committee (RSC) undertook a study on the impact of Jim Jordan’s bill in 2011, and the list of government spending cuts included in the eRumor was taken directly from the group’s report. The RSC found that:

“The Spending Reduction Act of 2011 reduces federal spending by $2.5 trillion over ten years. The bill will specifically hold FY 2011 non-security discretionary spending to FY 08 levels, hold non-defense discretionary spending to FY 06 levels thereafter for the rest of the ten-year budget window (the same level as in effect during the last year of GOP control of the Congress), and include more than 100 other program eliminations or savings proposals, consisting of proposals from the RSC Sunset Caucus, YouCut, or past RSC budgets.”

And it should be noted that opponents of the Spending Reduction Act of 2011 called the accuracy of the RSC’s report — and the merits of the bill — into question, ABC News reports:

“After reading this radical proposal by House Republicans, we now know why they have been so tight-lipped about their budget plans. The likelihood of this becoming law is around zero, but even putting forward a plan that puts more people out of work and endangers our economic recovery calls into question how serious the GOP is about tackling our nation’s most difficult challenges,” said Doug Thornell, spokesman for the ranking member of the House Budget Committee Chris Van Hollen. “House Republicans need to realize that the campaign is over, the time for political stunts has past, and they have a responsibility to move the economy forward not backwards.”  

Somehow in January of 2015, the list of cuts from the RSC’s 2011 report was included in forwarded emails that touted the benefits of Paul Ryan’s budget plan.

Paul Ryan’s actual 2015 budget plan is called “The Path to Prosperity.” Ryan said his budget would cut spending by $5.1 trillion — more than double the eRumor’s $2.5 trillion claim — over the next 10 years:

“By balancing the budget, the Path to Prosperity will promote economic growth. Over the next ten years, it will cut $5.1 trillion in spending, and CBO has said that such a plan would help the economy. By paying down the debt, the federal government will help keep interest rates low, which will spur greater investment and productivity. And by giving job creators some certainty and workers some relief, the Path to Prosperity will give free enterprise some much-needed help.” 

It remains to be seen in Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity budget plan will gain enough support to clear Congress and become law.