WASHINGTON - House Speaker John Boehner's promise on Wednesday to balance the federal budget "over the next 10 years" was aimed at convincing Tea Party conservatives in Congress to hold their fire over a bill to temporarily raise the US debt ceiling.
But carrying it out would require spending cuts or revenue increases far greater than anything seriously considered by Congress in recent years, including the budget passed by the Republican-controlled House last March, which envisioned shrinking deficits to $3.13 trillion over 10 years in part by a total revamp of Medicare and Medicaid, the government health insurance programs for seniors and the poor.That budget resolution, drawn up by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, projected a balanced budget not in 10 years, but by 2040.
"It seems politically unrealistic to think you could get to a balanced budget" in a decade, said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a non-partisan organization devoted to deficit reduction.
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