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1st C.D.: How Zeldin balked at 'blindly' endorsing Ryan budget

Sen. Zeldin, seeking a House seat, said last

Sen. Zeldin, seeking a House seat, said last week he'd have to know more about the House GOP budget proposal before backing it. Credit: Getty Images

State Sen. Lee Zeldin would not embrace Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan last week when asked about it in a telephone town hall meeting two days before the House vote.

“I’m not prepared to blindly endorse any type of a budget proposal right out of the gate before I have the opportunity to read it,” said the Shirley Republican who is looking to challenge Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton).

The proposal by Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the House budget committee chairman, calls for $5.1 trillion in cuts over 10 years and would kill Obamacare and make cuts to Medicaid food stamps and educaiton grants while increasing spending on defense and veterans.

Ryan’s proposal, Zeldin added, “is something that I’m going to spend a lot of time looking through and getting smart on. I’m sure that there will be components of it that I will like, that I will love, and that there will be other components of it that I may have some concerns about.”

Zeldin’s GOP primary opponent George Demos, who has been attacking Zeldin for not fighting hard enough to stop Obamacare, declined comment.

However, Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, said he was surprised any Republican running for the House would not know and have a position on what his own party leaders are proposing.

“I’m shocked someone who want to be in Congress would not be familiar with the budget plan — the most important issue facing the Congress,” he said.

Zeldin late Friday said as a state senator he has gone through four state budgets and asked all the tough quesitons that were needed. “What's worse is snapping off an answer without doing the due diligence,” he said.

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