You probably already know that Ryan’s signature issue: he wants to eliminate government-run medicaid and turn it into a voucher program for the states (and one that won’t even provide enough of a voucher for seniors to actually pay for their medical care). Ironically, despite eliminating medicaid as a government program and slashing taxes for the wealthy, his plan doesn’t seem to actually, you know, DECREASE the deficit.
But how does he stand on the environment?
The League of Conservation Voters gives him a 3% rating. Meaning that he voted the anti-environment, anti-clean-energy, pro-”profits over public health” line 97% of the time.
He supports the Keystone XL pipeline, of course, which would run dirty tar sands oil across the American heartland on its way to being exported (helping US energy security not at all and possibly helping jack up US prices).
Of course, he’s in favor of continuing tax breaks for big oil and gas companies (who don’t need them) in the name of “jobs” while cutting subsidies for wind power (which does need them) in the name of… who the hell knows? Jobs in clean energy don’t count. And OMG Solyndra!
He even voted to gut the Clean Air Act‘s public health requirements (“It’s gonna kill you? Who cares! It impacts profits, so tough!”)
And in general, on every GOP bill that would trash the environment of the past two years, he’s voted for it; on every Democratic measure of the previous 4 years that expanded environment protection, he voted no.
In this morning’s editorial, The International Herald Tribune (a branch of the New York Times) noted:
As House Budget Committee chairman, Mr. Ryan has drawn a blueprint of a government that will be absent when people need it the most. It will not be there when the unemployed need job training, or when a struggling student needs help to get into college. It will not be there when a miner needs more than a hardhat for protection, or when a city is unable to replace a crumbling bridge.
… At a time when state and local government layoffs are the principal factor in unemployment, the Ryan budget would cut aid to desperate governments by at least 20 percent , far below historical levels, on top of other cuts to mass transit and highway spending.
… All of this will be accompanied, of course, by even greater tax giveaways to the rich, and extravagant benefits to powerful military contractors. Business leaders will be granted their wish for severely diminished watchdogs over the environment, mine safety and food quality.
One bright spot: Because he’s from Wisconsin, he does seem to have a slight interest in local issues that are kinda okay, like continuing funding for the EPA’s Great Lakes task force headed by EPA, and preventing the Asian carp from decimating Great Lakes commercial fishing (but voted to gut other invasive species protection). But he also wants to delist the Wisconsin Grey Wolf, so it’s not all good.
For more background, keep an eye on the Paul Ryan Watch blog…