Rep. Ryan: Deal Shows Congressional Culture Change

Tuesday, 02 Aug 2011 06:30 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan says the debt-reduction deal is good for the American people, because it encompasses spending caps that could not even been achieved during the Bush administration. Ryan also told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Monday the spending cuts involved show “how far the culture has changed.”
“Look, is this everything I want? Of course, not. Our budget proposed to cut $6.2 trillion — this cuts $2.1 to $2.4 trillion,” Ryan said. “We actually got discretionary caps in law — I’ve been fighting for these spending caps ever since the day I came to Congress — we couldn’t even get these kinds of spending caps in the Bush administration.

“This kind of tells you just how far the culture has changed. So, we got $2.1 trillion to $2.4 trillion in just spending cuts,” he said. “The president first started off asking us for a blank check, then ask for a big tax increase — he got none of those — and we kept our pledge, which was we will cut more spending than we will raise the debt limit by. That pledge was maintained.”

Hannity asked Ryan whether he was going to be a member of the “super” committee, mandated to further evaluate debt reduction and whether the panel could conceivably raise taxes.

“I don’t know yet — they haven’t been named yet — but we’re not going to put [the] kind of people on this committee, [that are]  going to, you know, go for a tax increase. Number two, it couldn’t pass the House even if they tried,” Ryan said. “Number three, the baseline they used, the measuring stick that they use for this committee, makes it really basically impossible to raise taxes, because to raise taxes and get credit for it in this committee, you would have to commit a $3.5 trillion tax increase.”

Hannity noted credit-rating agencies are saying the deal does not go far enough and the United States will probably be downgraded.

“First of all, I’d say a couple of things — this bill cuts spending, this bill caps spending, and this bill for the first time in 50 years forces a vote on the balanced budget amendment,” Ryan said. “We’re going to have a vote on the balanced budget amendment — and we’re also guaranteed a vote in the Senate on a balanced budget amendment.”

Hannity wondered whether Majority Leader Harry Reid could table efforts to bring a balanced budget amendment to the Senate floor.

“No, he can’t — that’s part of his deal. So, we will have a crack [at balancing the] budget in the House and the Senate in this bill,” Ryan said. “So, we cut spending, we cap spending, and we get a guaranteed vote on a balanced budget amendment.

“We can’t guarantee it will pass because members of Congress have to make up their minds on that,” he said. “The other point I would say, Sean, is we’re getting 60 percent of the spending cuts we called for in our budget in discretionary spending,” he continued.” Look, I wanted 100 percent of what I wanted, but I got 66 percent — that’s better than nothing. More to the other point, here’s our problem: Barack Obama is president, Harry Reid is the majority leader — we control just the House. So, we’re not getting everything we want because we have divided government.

“But what we’ve got . . . we said no rubber stamp to the president, no tax increases, and we got good spending cuts,” Ryan said. “Not as much as I want, but I’m going to take these spending cuts and I will fight for some more tomorrow.”

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