U.S. Rep. and 2012 vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan offered little hint of future ambitions during his address to the Conservative Political Action Conference just outside Washington, D.C., on Friday.
Instead, the House Budget Committee chairman focused on the task at hand, which is passing a balanced budget through Congress.
“Our budget expands opportunity by growing the economy,” the Wisconsin Republican said. “We balance the budget in 10 years without raising taxes. We stop spending money we don’t have.”
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Ryan also used the opportunity to dig at Senate Democrats for introducing a budget for the first time in four years that doesn’t address spending. Their budget attempts to cut the budget deficit by raising taxes by $1 trillion and cutting spending by the same amount over 10 years.
“The Vatican’s not the only place blowing smoke this week,” he said.
Former GOP Rep. J.D. Hayworth of Arizona told Newsmax the budget is exactly where Ryan should focus his attention right now regardless of his political future.
“Washington, D.C., political life in general is defined by the job you have and the job you aspire to,” Hayworth said. “What he’ll be able to say is, ‘I did the job I was elected to do.’”
Ryan received a warm reception from the crowd and a standing ovation when finished, but he didn’t quite light up the room like Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky or Marco Rubio of Florida had done the day before.
“I liked how consistent he was,” said John Stepnick, a 27-year-old graduate student from Pittsburgh. “It sounded like he had a good plan, a good direction, which is important.”
Said Daniel Rivera, a 21-year-old college Republican activist from Pennsylvania: “It was a pitch for the bill, it didn’t sound like a pitch for 2016.”
Ryan’s proposal balances the budget within 10 years without raising taxes, trims the nation’s more than $16 trillion in debt, and eliminates President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.
Ryan pitched it as a social issue as well as fiscal.
“The crucial question isn’t how we balance the budget, it’s why we balance the budget,” Ryan said. “We are trying to improve people’s lives.
“When government overreaches, it doesn’t just hurt our paychecks, it hurts our quality of life.”
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