CEDAR RAPIDS – Although his “Compact with Iowans” incorporates points from Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, 1st District challenger Ben Lange hasn’t read his fellow Republican’s plan and takes no position on it.
Lange declined to take a position on the GOP vice presidential nominee’s plan despite a demonstration by his opponent’s supporters outside of his Cedar Rapids news conference Sept. 12.
“Here we are we have enough guts to put forward a plan of our own … and they want to talk about somebody else’s plan,” Lange said at a news conference Sept. 12 in response to his opponent’s supporters who asked where he stands on the Ryan plan.
Considering Lange’s positions on Social Security and Medicare’s guaranteed benefits for workers younger than 55 are “taken practically word-for-word” from Ryan’s budget proposal,” Jeff Giertz, campaign manager for 1st District Rep. Bruce Braley, expressed amazement at Lange’s refusal to endorse the plan.
“He promised he would outline exactly what he would do if he got elected and, in almost the same breath, said he hasn’t had time to read Paul Ryan’s plan to voucherize Medicare and form an opinion about it,” Giertz said. “Only in Washington does this make any sense.”
It was the latest chapter in the campaigns’ back-and-forth over the Ryan budget plan. Braley supporters called on Lange to tell them his position on Ryan’s plan they say would end guaranteed Medicare and Social Security benefits for workers under age 55.
“After dropping off a copy of the Ryan budget at Ben Lange’s office last week, I can only assume Mr. Lange has taken time to read the proposal and tell us where he stands,” Mike Olson of Cedar Rapids said.
He and other Braley supporters gathered outside the campaign office ahead of a Lange news conference to announce his plan to rein in federal spending and the growth of the federal government.
“We all know Ben Lange supports the big ideas in the Ryan budget, like turning Medicare into a voucher program and privatizing Social Security,” Olson said. “But I’m excited to finally hear a straight answer from Ben Lange as to whether he’d vote for the Ryan budget or oppose it.”
Lange thanked Olson for delivering the budget plan, but said he’s not taking a position on the Ryan plan.
“I get a kick out of this,” Lange said. “Bruce Braley is the six-year incumbent. He’s the member of Congress. He’s the one who has had the one with the ability to solve these problems and hasn’t done a thing.
Although he hasn’t read the Ryan, Lange respects him for having “the guts to put forth a plan.”
“He takes the heat from the right and the left,” Lange noted.
Rather than read the Ryan plan, Lange would like to see Braley’s plan.
“Unfortunately, our congressman for the past six years, the only one with the authority to solve these problems, has no plan and his policies have made things worse,” Lange said.
“It’s very kind of him to offer some reading material for me, but I’m more committed to talking to people in Iowa, listening to what they have to say about what their concerns are about the future of this country,” he said.