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Paul Ryan's fiscal blueprint, jobs-bill battle ahead in Congress

March 19, 2012|By Lisa Mascaro
  • House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan holds up a copy of President Obama's fiscal 2013 federal budget during a hearing on Capitol Hill.
House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan holds up a copy of President… (Carolyn Kaster / Associated…)

Reporting from Washington — Congress is heading into a busy stretch, returning this week to the themes that are driving the message: Jobs, healthcare and budget deficits.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday is expected to unveil his 2013 fiscal blueprint -– a do-over of last year’s battle to substantially rein in federal spending, cut taxes and change Medicare.

The GOP proposals are drawing fire from Democrats and within Republican ranks as conservatives want Ryan to cut deeper into federal spending and others are wary of straying too far from the budget levels agreed to in last summer’s debt-ceiling accord.

Reneging on that deal could lead to a showdown with Democrats in the Senate later this year when Congress will need to avert a government shutdown.

Also on Tuesday, the Senate is preparing for a series of votes on a House-passed jobs bill that aims to make it easier for small businesses and start-ups to access capital. Senate Democrats want to amend the House measure to bolster investor protections, but they have run into a cool reception from Republicans.

Democrats also want to tack on a provision that would beef up the loan authority for the nation’s Export-Import Bank, gradually upping it from $100 billion annually to $140 billion by 2015. Conservatives have long wanted to dismantle the Ex-Im Bank, and the proposal to keep it running has split the GOP -- with support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce but opposition from conservative groups, including the influential Club for Growth and Heritage Action.

Later in the week, the GOP-led House will take a turn at undoing provisions of the nation’s new healthcare law on the second anniversary of its passage.

On the campaign trail, this week's top congressional race is a GOP contest in Illinois, where veteran Rep. Don Manzullo is fighting for his political life against freshman Rep. Adam Kinzinger in the newly drawn northern area district.

The race will be a test of "tea party" strength in Illinois, where conservatives who had once helped to fuel Kinzinger's rise have become disappointed in his performance as a favorite of party leadership. They are now backing Manzullo as the tea party candidate.

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Paul Ryan's new fiscal blueprint, jobs bill battle ahead in Congress

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