WASHINGTON — A look at where Republican running mate Paul Ryan, a congressman from Wisconsin, stands on a selection of issues:
Budget: Ryan is the primary author of conservative tax and spending blueprints that Republicans on the House approved over Democratic opposition in 2011 and again in 2012. His plan would transform Medicare into a program in which future seniors would receive government checks that they could use to purchase health insurance. Other elements of the budget plan would cut projected spending for Medicaid, which provides health care for the poor, as well as food stamps, student loans and other social programs that Obama and Democrats have pledged to defend. In all, it projects spending cuts of $5.3 trillion over a decade, and would cut future projected deficits substantially. It also envisions a far-reaching overhaul of the tax code of the sort Romney has promised.
Medicare: He wants a plan more like a 401(K) that steers future retirees into private insurance plans with fixed payments from government that may or may not cover as much of their costs as does the current program. He would also gradually raise the eligibility age from the current 65 to 67. Ryan would turn Medicaid over to the states.
Guns: Ryan is outdoorsman who has a top rating from gun-rights groups. He voted to protect gun manufacturers and sellers from lawsuits stemming from misuse of the guns. He also voted to shorten gun-purchase waiting period from three days to one.
Abortion: The Catholic congressman is staunchly against abortion rights and backed by several anti-abortion groups. He co-sponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Act and Right to Life Act, which both say life begins at the moment of fertilization. In 2009, he voted to prohibit federal money from being used to pay for an abortion or for any part of a health plan that covers abortion — except when the abortion results from rape or incest or when the pregnancy threatens the woman’s life. Despite his voting record, he’s given little indication, especially in recent years, that he wants to go to the ramparts on the issue. He’s endorsed candidates who see abortion differently, saying he is willing to agree to disagree “with mutual respect.” Many years earlier, he backed bans on so-called partial birth abortion that made an exception for the life of the mother, but not for rape or incest.
Social Security: Ryan has said poorer seniors should receive “more targeted assistance than those who have had ample opportunity to save for retirement” as part of the solution to the program’s long-term insolvency. He’s spoken favorably of proposals to grow benefits for wealthier retirees more slowly than for others. Ryan has also backed the idea, popular with Republican lawmakers, to let future retirees invest a portion of their Social Security contributions privately.
Gay rights: Ryan has voted against allowing same-sex couples to adopt, and opposed repealing the ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces. He has voted twice against hate crimes protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. And he’s voted for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.