April 19, 2011 - 2:00 pm

BY WESLEY P. HESTER

Republican U.S. Senate candidate George Allen is offering praise for House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s sweeping plan to cut the deficit without tax increases, but stopping short of a full-fledged endorsement.

“I commend Congressman Paul Ryan’s leadership for offering a constructive plan to put America back on the path to prosperity,” Allen said in a statement of support.

The plan has come under heavy fire by Democrats for changes to entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid as well as tax cuts for the wealthy. President Barack Obama’s plan, on the other hand, has been sharply criticized for proposed tax increases.  

“Many tough and smart decisions need to be made to spur economic growth and stop the endless spending that is burdening our children and grandchildren with unsustainable debt,” Allen said. “I have been a longtime advocate of reducing the tax on job creators to encourage investment and job creation. Rather than fear mongering, it is time for Democrats to come to the table and offer constructive solutions to make America more competitive.”

Jamie Radtke, the tea party candidate challenging Allen for the GOP nod, said Ryan’s plan was a good start — and far better than the president’s proposal — but not nearly enough.

“The fact is, his plan would continue annual budget deficits for the next 20 - 30 years, and would increase our national debt by trillions more in the coming years,” she said. “As Standard & Poors noted in their statement on the U.S. Debt outlook yesterday, the federal government cannot wait 20 years to start reducing our national debt.  We must go further, faster to fix our debt crisis; to not do so is to put our nation’s security, standard of living and, indeed, its very survival, at great risk.”

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Timothy M. Kaine, meanwhile, has called the president’s plan “far preferable to a House proposal that would weaken key programs like Medicare and jeopardize the recovery.”

Kaine added, however, that he is hopeful that Sen. Mark R. Warner’s bipartisan work with the “Gang of Six” will produce a happy compromise.