Transcript: House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan announces GOP’s 2013 budget
Transcript of remarks by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on the GOP’s 2013 budget proposal:
“Morning, everybody. It’s a good day.
“I’m proud to be here with my fellow colleagues on the House Budget Committee. They’ve worked very hard – we’ve had together – to produce this document that we’re all holding in our hands – the Path to Prosperity.
“I’m also grateful for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who is here with us, who is the Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, who brings a prosecutorial zeal to a budget that had gotten out of control.
“One year ago, we offered our path to prosperity. And this year, we’re offering again our path to prosperity.
“This year, we’re going to build on the important work that we did last year. We’re going to take several new and improved strides.
“First, we propose that we repeal the President’s disastrous health care law. It stops the law’s mandates from trampling on our liberties. It stops its spending from threatening our fiscal health. And it stops this board of bureaucrats from threatening Medicare.
“Instead, we propose to save and strengthen Medicare by taking power away from government bureaucrats. We preserve the Medicare guarantee for today’s seniors so they can count on the benefits that the’ve organized their retirement around, and we preserve that guarantee going into the future for tomorrow’s seniors by empowering them with choices, including a fee-for-service traditional option within a premium support system. We believe competition and choice should be the way forward versus price controls that lead to rationing.
“On the budget, we also propose to strengthen Medicaid by empowering our states by returning money to them so that they can design programs that are unique to their state’s – to tailor this program to meet the needs of their populations.
“We also reform welfare. The 1996 welfare reform was very successful in getting toward an upward mobile society and getting people off of dependency and on to lives of self-sufficiency. Yet unfortunately that was the only program among the means-tested entitlement programs that was reformed, and we’re proposing similar reforms to the states so that we can make sure we’re not creating a culture of dependency in America but a culture of self-sufficiency, of getting people back on their feet into lives of upward mobility.
“We also propose, as one of our hallmark issues to get economic growth and job creation, to reform the tax system. Specifically, we include in here a tax reform proposal provided to us by all the members of the Ways and Means Committee. We propose to collapse the 6 different tax brackets into two rates: a 10% bracket and a 25% bracket for individuals and a 25% bracket for corporations, which is at the international average and going to a territorial system. All those kinds of specs and details you can get on the website that shows the letter that we’ve been given by the Ways and Means Committee.
“Finally, I would say something about what’s coming this next year. The sequester is coming. And a lot of people in Washington would like to simply ignore this. A lot of people in Washington would like to simply think that we can spend as we’re going and ignore the fact that Jan. 2  the sequester kicks in.
“We don’t think we should ignore this. And so what we’re doing in this budget this year is something we haven’t done for six years. We’re going to propose to go through a reconciliation process. Now you might be thinking, ‘Well they used reconciliation a couple of years ago.’ They distorted the reconciliation process to jam through a new partisan health care entitlement. We’re going to bring reconciliation back to what it was meant to do, which is to get spending and deficits under control.
“We’re instructing 6 authorizing committees to bring their spending cuts to the Budget Committee and then therefore to the floor by May so that we can show how we would replace next year’s sequester. We think that that is extremely important to show the country exactly how we would prepare for these eventualities.
“Now, I think it’s also critical to reiterate the several challenges that are facing our country. I want to bring everybody’s attention to these charts.
“Now, we’ve had deficits in the past. We’ve had for a brief moment surpluses. But we’ve had deficits. Look at where our country is headed. Look at where the President and his budget is taking the country. The President’s budget is putting us on a path of a debt crisis and decline, and these are the deficits that are in store for America if we stay on the status quo.
“Here is what the Path to Prosperity proposes. We propose to get our budget on a sustainable path. We propose to get our budget not only on a path to balance but on to paying off the debt on a path to prosperity. And if we actually start growing the economy faster, which we think our policies will result in, then the budget would balance even faster than is shown right here.
“Let’s talk about spending. The President keeps the size of government at historic highs now and well into the future. He never brings spending back down to where it historically has been. By 2015, we get spending down to 20% of the economy, which is our historic average and then below that after that.
“All in all, what we’re proposing here is to cut $5.3 trillion in spending from the President’s budget. This results in at least $3.3 trillion in deficit reduction compared to the President’s budget.
“Now, here is really what it all matters to you and that is what about the national debt?
“We know in front of us is one of the most predictable crises we’ve ever had in this country’s history: a mountain of debt that is coming. This is what the Congressional Budget Office is telling us our future is going to look like. This is the future that the President’s plan of debt and decline brings us to. This is what the Senate gets you by doing nothing – by not passing a budget for 3 years in a row. This is a future that gives our children a diminished country. This is a future that ruins our economy. This is a future that we don’t want to see happening. And so if we have a difference of opinion with the President, the direction he and his Senate leaders are taking the country, which we do, we feel morally bound to offer a choice and we have a legal obligation in our budget laws to produce a budget.
“So what our budget does is it shows precisely how we will get this budget under control and get our debt levels under control.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about growth. It’s about growing opportunities, it’s about growing the economy, it’s about lifting the debt, restoring economic freedom, reforming the tax code so we can help – have our economy reach its full potential. It’s about turning our system that has become a dependent culture to an upward mobile society, getting people back on the lives of self-sufficiency.
“And if our economy grows faster than what we produce here, the results are all that much better.
“Before I close, I’d like to thank my colleagues on the Budget Committee for all of the hard work we’ve put together, putting this budget together. I want to thank Sen. Jeff Sessions for his leadership over in the Senate. I’m hoping to call him Chairman next year.
“And at its core, I want to basically say this:
“This plan of action is about putting an end to empty promises from bankrupted government and restoring the fundamental promise of America, ensuring that our children have more opportunities than we do. That’s the American idea – leave your children better off. We know for the first time in the history of this country that that legacy will be severed unless we act. And if we step in and fix this problem now, we can avoid a very painful debt crisis tomorrow.
“We are here to offer Americans the chance to choose which future they want for themselves: the President’s path of debt and decline or the path that we’re proposing – a path to renew prosperity for Americans.”
- House Budget Committee: Fiscal Year 2013 budget
- House Budget Committee: GOP’s fiscal year 2013 budget (PDF)
- CSpan.org: Video of the House Republicans’ press conference (March 20, 2012)
- Congressional Budget Office: Long-term budgetary impact of paths for federal revenues and spending specified by Chairman Ryan (PDF)
- WhiteHouse.gov: Statement by White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer on the Ryan Republican Budget
- Dems.gov: Democratic caucus leaders: GOP budget deja vu all over again
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Sen. Jeff Sessions claims GOP’s budget will take America from ‘decline to prosperity’
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