Transcript: Press conference Q&A with Rep. Paul Ryan & Sen. Patty Murray on the federal budget deal – Dec. 10, 2013

Partial transcript of press conference Q&A with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington) on the House-Senate budget compromise on Dec. 10, 2013:

Question:
[Inaudible]

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin):
Well, look, as a conservative I think this is a step in the right direction. What am I getting out of this? I’m getting more deficit reduction. So the deficit will go down more by passing this than if we did nothing. That’s point number one. Point number two, there are no tax increases here. Point number three, we’re finally starting to deal with autopilot spending – that mandatory spending that has not been addressed by Congress for years.

Look, this isn’t easy. This is the first divided government budget agreement since 1986. The reason we haven’t done a budget agreement when both houses were controlled by other parties since ’86 is because it’s not easy to do. So we know we’re not going to get everything we want and she’s not going to get everything [she] wants.

Question:
[Inaudible]

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin):
I think conservatives should vote for it. I expect we’re going to have a healthy vote in the House Republican caucus. I think we’re going to pass this through the House. We’re going to go first, given our schedules. We will post this on our website today, this evening, and we intend to bring it onto the House floor later this week. I have every reason to expect great support from our caucus because we are keeping our principles.

The key here is nobody had to sacrifice their core principles. Our principles are don’t raise taxes, reduce the deficit.

We also have a lot of concerned members about defense. The next hit on the sequester was going to hit solely on the military starting in January. A lot of our members were concerned about that. So what we’re doing here is providing for some sequester relief for 2014 and for 2015, and we’re paying for that with more permanent reforms on the autopilot side of the spending ledger in excessive of the sequester relief, which results in net deficit reduction. That, to me, is a good deal.

Question:
…To what extent does this represent an agreement between the two of you versus an agreement that you can get votes in both chambers? [Inaudible]

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington):
Well, I can tell you that I’ve been in close contact with my leadership and a number of members since we’ve worked through this issue. I expect that Chairman Ryan and my job will be the same as we leave here tonight, which is to talk to everybody about our deal and to work to get the votes. I’m confident that we won’t have 100% of the Senate or 100% of the House. This is a bipartisan deal. We have both had to move to get to where we are today. But I think what the American people ought to know is that this Congress can work, that people can come up together from very different corners and find common ground and bring some certainty back to our jobs and our economy. That’s what we have continuing to focus on.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin):
To your specific question, David, we’ve done this in consultation with our leadership team, which is in support of this. I’ve consulted with every committee chairman whose jurisdiction is involved in this because this spans – as you can imagine – lots of different committee chairmen. So this has been participatory process. This has been a process where in the House we’ve consulted with numerous colleagues to get their ideas, to get their input, their feedback and their support. And that’s why I’m very confident about where we stand in the House.

Question:
How much sequester relief is there?

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin):
$63 billion. Yeah, $85 billion in mandatory savings, $63 billion in sequester relief. That results in about $22.5 billion in deficit reduction.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington):
And that is $45 billion for the first year and the rest in the second year.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin):
10-12 – I know we’re getting in the weeds here – $1.012 trillion for FY 2014 and $1.014 trillion for FY 2015.

To answer your earlier question, why would a Republican support that? The budgets that I passed last session with near unanimity in the House – with no House Republicans voting for it – was fighting for $1.019 [trillion]. So the budget number that we fought for in the last session won’t be hit until the year 2017 under this agreement. This is why I think House Republicans should be supportive of this.

Question:
[Inaudible]

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington):
You will all have the details of this agreement. If you don’t have them right now, very shortly.

One of the most difficult challenges we faced as we worked through this was the issue of federal employees and military. And Congressman Ryan and I both have worked on this a lot. He’s a tough negotiator, in case any of you want to know, and started out very high at $20 billion. It is down to $6 billion for federal employees and $6 billion for military. And we will have the details of those proposals out to you very shortly.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin):
The reason those numbers equalize is because we think it’s only fair that hardworking taxpayers who pay for the benefits that our federal employees receive be treated fairly as well. We also think it’s important that military families as well as non-military families are treated equally and fairly. So what we’re asking here is that the people who work for the federal government – and we thank them for their work; they’re hardworking, dedicated people that we respect – but we think it’s only right and fair that they pay something more toward their pensions just like the hardworking taxpayer that pays for those pensions in the first place.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington):
And I want to add one other part to that. If Chairman Ryan and I did not reach an agreement, we would be at sequestration level very shortly and many of these same people would be facing furloughs, layoffs, and uncertainty. We have brought certainty back to all those people.

Question:
[Inaudible]

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin):
That’s not part of this agreement.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington):
It’s not part of this agreement…

Question:
Chairman Ryan, there’s been a lot of uncertainty in markets [due to the government shutdown]…What do you think is the message out of this deal to the markets…?

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin):
Well, look, all along I thought it was very important that we do what we can to show that this divided government can work. And by doing this, we are showing that this divided government can work at its basic functioning level, which is paying the bills. Both Republicans and Democrats think it’s important that Congress retains the power of the purse and that we set priorities on spending. That’s after all what the Constitution says we should do and that’s what we’re elected to do, and we’re doing this agreement in large part because what that will do will avoid those government shutdowns. You see, because we’re doing a two-year agreement here, we avoid a possible shutdown in January and another possible shutdown in October. We think that provides certainty and stability not just to the markets but to the country, to the people who deal with the federal government, but more importantly gives power back to Congress to set priorities and spending instead of giving basically a blank check of discretion to the executive branch of the government.

Question:
Chairman Ryan, the debt ceiling is not dealt with as I understand it…

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin):
That’s another press conference subject. [Laughter]

[Overlapping audio] Yeah, I think alleviating the government shutdowns does alleviate a lot of the uncertainties that has been plaguing this country and this Capitol. And we’re doing without having to violate any core principles, and I think that’s a step in the right direction.

Question:
Chairman, you’ve been a darling of the right. There are a number of right wing groups that have put out press releases blasting this plan. Are you prepared to take all that incoming fire?

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin):
Look, as a conservative, I deal with a situation as it exists. I deal with the way things are, not necessarily the way things I want them to be. I’ve passed three budgets in a row that reflect my priorities and my principles and everything that I want to accomplish. We’re a divided government. I realize I’m not going to get that. So I’m not going to go a mile in the direction I want to go to but I will take a few steps in the right direction. This agreement takes us in the right direction from my perspective for the very reasons I laid out before. This says, “Let’s cut spending in a smarter way. Put some permanent spending cuts to pay for some temporary sequester relief. Result in net deficit reduction without raising taxes.” That’s fiscal responsibility. That’s fiscal conservatism. And it adds a greater stability to the situation. It prevents government shutdown, which I don’t think is anyone’s interests. That, to me, is the right thing to do, and that’s a conservative looking at the situation as it is making it better.

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4 Comments on “Transcript: Press conference Q&A with Rep. Paul Ryan & Sen. Patty Murray on the federal budget deal – Dec. 10, 2013

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  2. Pingback: Transcript: Press conference remarks by Rep. Paul Ryan on the federal budget deal - Dec. 10, 2013 | What The Folly?!

  3. Pingback: Transcript: Press conference remarks by Sen. Patty Murray on the federal budget deal - Dec. 10, 2013 | What The Folly?!

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