Meanwhile, Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said the budget proposal “is irresponsible and undermines one of the few sectors in our economy that is growing and creating jobs. We must reduce the deficit in all areas of the budget, including agriculture, but we must do that in a way that does not hurt the economy.

“Last year, the House and Senate agriculture committees developed bipartisan proposals to consolidate programs and make them more cost-effective, saving billions while still strengthening key priorities to help agriculture continue to grow. This budget as proposed does nothing to strengthen production agriculture. Instead, it will hurt families and America’s economy at a time when we need to be creating jobs.”

North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad, Senate Budget Committee chairman, was equally scathing in his assessment of Ryan’s plan, labeling it “the same partisan and ideological thinking we saw from House Republicans last year. He proposes large tax cuts for the wealthiest and corporations, financed by deep cuts in health care and other programs that help those most in need. His plan is unbalanced and unfair, and it is wrong for America.”

Conrad said Ryan is “walking away from the discretionary spending levels agreed to by Democrats and Republicans in last summer’s Budget Control Act. Instead, he calls for significant additional cuts in education, energy, infrastructure, and other areas vital to the country’s economic growth. His action is a breach of faith that will increase the likelihood of an unnecessary and harmful government shutdown later this year....

“The fact is the budget for the next fiscal year is already in place. The Budget Control Act provided the key components of the budget for 2012 and 2013, including setting discretionary spending limits and providing the tools to enforce those limits. It is the law of the land....

“What is still needed is for us to come together on a long-term deficit reduction plan. And that long-term plan must be comprehensive and balanced, addressing both spending and revenue. That is the only way we can truly put the nation back on a sound long-term fiscal course.”