The 2015 budget plan introduced by Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan passed through the House of Representatives last Thursday by a 219 to 205 vote. The plan hopes to balance the Federal budget by 2024 and cut Federal spending by $5 trillion, but the measures it will take to accomplish this goal is worrying some U.P. residents.

A group of concerned citizens gathered outside the Marquette office of Congressman Dan Benishek today to voice their opinion on the budget. Among their chief concerns were changes it will introduce to Medicare and college aid programs such as Pell Grants and student loans.

“The Ryan Budget begins to dismantle Medicare as we know it,” said Susan Dejong, a retiree and Medicare recipient. “Medicare is a good program, it is effective, it’s comprehensive, and I just don’t feel that they should mess with Medicare.”

“Benishek supports the Ryan Budget, and that will affect students in a really negative way,” said Nolan Craft, upcoming Vice President of the College Democrats at NMU. “It will halt Pell Grants for ten years, and we’ll have to start paying interest on our student loans immediately. We’re out here to stop that and make sure things like this never even get suggested again.”

All Democrats and 12 members of the GOP opposed the measure in the House. The budget still has to pass through the Senate, which has a Democratic majority.