Congressman Adam Smith (WA-9), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” budget proposal:

“America’s growing deficit is unacceptable and unsustainable. Reigning in spending and finding ways to make due with less funding will mean a certain degree of shared sacrifice at all levels of society as we put our fiscal house in order.

“Instead of finding a balanced, conscientious approach to cuts, the FY 2012 budget proposal set forth by Rep. Paul Ryan slashes programs for the middle class—Sets seniors adrift with Medicare vouchers to fend for themselves on the private insurance market; relies on block grants that would limit the number of Medicaid enrollees while shifting costs and risk to states; and encourages food stamp and housing assistance programs to expire for vulnerable families—all to pay for massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

“At a time when wealth in this country is becoming dramatically more concentrated in the hands of the very few, Rep. Ryan’s plan targets the most at-risk members of our society with the greatest cuts. Given the budget challenges we all face, it is intolerable to ask our nation’s working poor to bear the greatest burden for recovery, while handing a multi-billion dollar tax break to the rich.

“In my town halls, I talk to constituents about looking at the ‘whole pie’ to address deficit reduction. I am glad to see that the Ryan proposal confronts the need to reform more than just the small fraction of discretionary domestic spending being scrutinized in the House up to this point. All parts of the federal budget need to be on the table for a real discussion about how to fix our economic challenges.

“We’re currently experiencing the damaging inefficiency and uncertainty caused by a piece-by-piece approach to funding the government, and the debate over our FY 2011 budget is still going on. A responsible compromise must be found to move forward into 2012 with a budget plan that reduces the deficit while preserving the level playing field Americans are right to expect.”