House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan
says proposed adjustments to entitlement programs in the 2012 spending plan will not hurt those Americans who are in or near retirement. Ryan, R-Wis., Tuesday also said on Fox News that cuts to this year’s budget, will ensure that 2012 spending will be built on a baseline freeze.
“We have guiding principles in our budget, which are when we're reforming entitlement programs – which are the drivers of our debt crisis – we have got to make sure that people in and near retirement are protected,” Ryan told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “We can do that if we reform these programs soon.
“If we keep kicking the can down the road, as the president has proposed in his budget – adding $13 trillion to the debt, $1.6 trillion in new tax increases – if we keep postponing these reforms, then everybody's going to get cut, everybody's going to get hurt.” Ryan said. “So we're saying: ‘No, no, no, no – Let's fulfill the mission of health and retirement security for all generations, protect people in or near retirement,’ but let's get a plan to pay off this debt so we can start growing our economy now, as well.”
Ryan said the GOP-controlled House is also trying to prevent the huge spending gains attained over the last two years from going forward.
“The president increased government agency budgets by 24 percent, domestic agencies, over the last two years. Then with the stimulus, he increased them by 84 percent. What he's trying to do is lock in all these spending increases going forward – and we don't want to do that,” Ryan said. “That's why we're trying to cut spending now to get them back to pre-binge, pre-stimulus 2008 levels.
“So going through the rest of this fiscal year, we want a down payment on some spending cuts, so we go forward starting in October with more spending reforms and more spending cuts,” he added. “We don't want to accept … what we call the baseline of this massive spending increase.
“We want to get a down payment on cutting spending because if the president succeeds in freezing spending at these high levels, that's another trillion dollars over the course of the budget of more money to government agencies, to this discretionary domestic government agencies – double-digit, triple-digit increases these agencies have gotten.”
Ryan also said that when the current continuing resolution – which is keeping the government open until March 18 – expires, he expects another one to be put in place.
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