Transcript: Press conference remarks by Rep. Paul Ryan on the federal budget deal – Dec. 10, 2013

Partial transcript of press conference remarks by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) on the House-Senate budget compromise on Dec. 10, 2013:

Good evening. I am happy to report that Sen. [Patty] Murray and I have reached an agreement. We’ve been talking all year and this week that hard work of the two of us sitting down and talking to each other all year has paid off.

First, it started because we passed budgets, and Sen. Murray deserves credit for passing a budget through the Senate. That got the ball rolling so the two of us started talking.

And the reason why we’re here tonight is explain what we’ve agreed to.

This bill reduces the deficit by $23 billion and it does not raise taxes and it cuts spending in a smarter way.

From the outset, we knew that if we forced each other to compromise our core principle, we would get nowhere. That is why we decided to focus on where the common ground is. So that’s what we’ve done.

That means to me a budget agreement that reduces the deficit without raising taxes and replaces some of the arbitrary across-the-board spending cuts with smarter, permanent reforms that pay for this relief.

The House budget reflects our ultimate goals. It balances the budget within 10 years. It pays off the debt. But I realize that that is not going to pass in this divided government.

I see this agreement as a step in the right direction. In divided government, you don’t always get what you want. That said, we still can make progress toward our goals. I see this agreement as that kind of progress, as a step in the right direction.

In some of the arbitrary cuts, we make smart, targeted reforms. We eliminate waste. We stop sending checks to criminals. We cut corporate welfare. We reform some mandatory programs. And we start to make real reforms to these autopilot programs that are the driver of our debt in the first place.

I think this agreement is a clear improvement on the status quo. This agreement makes sure that we don’t have a government shutdown scenario in January. It makes sure we don’t have another government shutdown scenario in October. It makes sure that we don’t lurch from crisis to crisis.

It also allows Congress to finally exercise the power of the purse. We’re both from the legislative branch. The Constitution says that the legislative branch should exercise the power of the purse. We want to reclaim that from the administration instead of having all of these continuing resolutions.

This also shows that we can work together to get our government functioning at its very basic levels. That, we think, is a step in the right direction. That, we think, gives us some confidence. That brings us some normalcy back to our government.

I want to take a moment to thank Sen. Murray. She’s a tough and honest negotiator. She’s fought hard for her principles every step of the way. And I want to commend her for her hard work. All of the summary documents and the legislation would be placed upon our budget websites by the end of the night.

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