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Republican Paul Ryan to unveil U.S. budget plan on Tuesday

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[April 01, 2014]  WASHINGTON (Reuters)  U.S. Representative Paul Ryan on Tuesday plans to unveil a 10-year balanced budget plan that seeks to bolster Republicans' campaign credentials as the party of fiscal prudence but also leaves them open to fresh attacks over deep cuts to social programs.

The House Budget Committee, which Ryan chairs, said in a statement that it has scheduled a vote on a budget resolution on Wednesday. Under House rules, the document must be made public at least 24 hours before it can be considered by a committee.

Ryan has revealed no details of his plan, but Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have said it would achieve balance within 10 years, as Ryan's budget plan proposed last year. It is widely expected to contain many elements of his past budgets, including deep cuts to social safety net programs such as Medicaid health care for the poor and food stamps.

The task of eliminating deficits within a decade, however, is expected to be more difficult this year because of slower economic growth forecasts from the Congressional Budget Office, which predict $1.4 trillion less in tax revenue collections over a decade compared to forecasts made a year ago. Many Republicans are also clamoring for increased defense spending in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.

If passed by the Republican-controlled House, Ryan's budget would face certain death in the Democratic-controlled Senate, relegating it to service as a campaign talking-point for November's congressional elections.

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But even in a divided House Republican caucus, the desire to shrink government spending and the $17.5 trillion national debt remains strong and is viewed as a key differentiator that can help Republicans gain ground against Democrats.

Democrats, however, view the Ryan budget as a rich source of material for attack ads against Republicans focusing on the painful spending cuts that they would have to make to balance the budget in 10 years.

(Reporting by David Lawder; editing by Andrea Ricci)

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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