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Congress: Ryan's plan

The AP: “A Republican plan for the 2012 budget would cut more than $4 trillion over the next decade, more than even the president’s debt commission proposed, with spending caps as well as changes in the Medicare and Medicaid health programs, its principal author said yesterday.” More: “Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, part of a six-member group of Republicans and Democrats forging their own budget proposal, said that the lawmakers would be looking for real balance in Ryan’s plan and wanting all options considered. ‘I think we’ll come at it differently,’ Durbin said on ‘Meet the Press’ on NBC. ‘The idea of sparing the Pentagon from any savings, not imposing any new sacrifice on the wealthiest Americans, I think goes way too far. We’ve got to make certain that it’s a balanced approach and one that can be sustained over the next 10 years.’"

“House Republican leaders are privately warning Speaker John Boehner that they may not have the votes to pass a six-month spending bill with significantly less than $61 billion in cuts, and they are chafing at his closed-mouth style of negotiating,” Roll Call reports. “According to sources close to the issue, during a leadership meeting this week Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (Texas) reiterated their concerns with Boehner’s handling of the talks. According to these sources, Boehner’s fellow leaders are concerned that a smaller deal will not muster the 218 Republican votes needed for passage. In fact, several sources said that at one point McCarthy bluntly warned they would lose a significant number of GOP votes if the deal is based on $33 billion in cuts.

“Each of the 87 House Republican freshmen faces the same choice heading into the climactic week of the 2011 budget battle — to fight or fall in line,” The Hill writes. “The freshman class, vaunted for its unprecedented size and its Tea-Party ties, has been caught between party leadership nudging it toward compromise on one end and anti-spending activists clamoring for a clash on the other.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) doesn’t believe there will be a shutdown, but he says it’s the Tea Party that’s standing in the way: "The Tea Party is the group standing in the way," he said. "They are extreme. Any group that says you don't cut oil subsidies to companies making billions and billions of dollars...and at the same time, says cut student aid...I believe they're extreme."

Roll Call looks at freshman Sen. Mark Kirk’s (R-IL) emergence as a key foreign-policy voice among Republicans.