Weather Forecast


House Democratic leader criticizes Ryan's 'Roadmap for America's Future'

A House Democratic leader says Janesville Republican Congressman Paul Ryan would risk people's retirements with his plans for reducing the federal deficit.

Democratic caucus vice chairman Xavier Becerra told Wisconsin reporters in a conference call yesterday that Ryan wants seniors to "foot the bill for the previous administration's excessive spending."

He blamed the nation's fiscal problems on former President Bush's tax cuts, spending on two wars and the Medicare prescription drug program.

But Ryan later held his own conference call to say he won't back from the plan he calls a "Roadmap for America's Future."

Among other things, it would turn Medicare into a voucher program for those younger than 55, create individual accounts for Social Security, and end the tax preference for company-provided health insurance.

Ryan also wants to raise the retirement age to 70, and cut the growth of Social Security benefits in future years so the system remains sustainable.

Officials say Social Security will not be able to meet its current obligations by 2037, and will only pay for three-fourths of benefits by 2083 unless something is changed.