SHOW: DOLANS UNSCRIPTED 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time
June 17, 2004 Thursday
HEADLINE: Maverick Republicans Work To Reform Federal Budget Process, CNNfn
GUESTS: Rep. Paul Ryan
BYLINE: Ken Dolan, Daria Dolan
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DARIA DOLAN, CNNfn ANCHOR, DOLANS UNSCRIPTED: Welcome back to DOLANS UNSCRIPTED.
You know if you have spent anytime here, particularly with me, you know how I rail against increases in taxes, mainly because we're not seeing a decrease in spending. And every time Washington seems to get their hands on more tax dollars, they spend more than we send them.
KEN DOLAN, CNNfn ANCHOR, DOLANS UNSCRIPTED: Stop complaining. It's only been since 1974, for heavens sakes.
DARIA DOLAN: So I open up the editorial page of "The Wall Street Journal" yesterday, and I read about something that the oddsmakers are giving a slim to no chance of passing --
KEN DOLAN: Don't say that.
DARIA DOLAN: But I am so excited there are four members of the Congress of the United States that are willing to try to stop the overspending and pork barreling that we just had to get any or all of them who would come on this program to discuss the proposed Family Budget Protection Act.
KEN DOLAN: The what?
DARIA DOLAN: The Family Budget Protection Act.
KEN DOLAN: We'll find out more about that.
DARIA DOLAN: We got four of 'em out of that whole mass of humanity that care about us.
KEN DOLAN: We have 25 percent of them with us now. His name is Representative Paul Ryan, he's a Republican from Wisconsin. Talking with us from Capitol Hill.
Representative Ryan, how are you?
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) WISCONSIN: Doing great, good morning.
KEN DOLAN: You look marvelous today.
RYAN: Thank you. Your radio show comes to Jamesville, Wisconsin, on Saturdays. We enjoy it.
DARIA DOLAN: Oh, thank you, very much.
KEN DOLAN: Thank you very much. Very nice of you, thank you.
Give us an overview, if you would, Representative, of this thing.
DARIA DOLAN: What is the Family Budget Protection Act?
RYAN: What this bill does is it completely rewrites the entire federal budgeting process. I've been working on this legislation since I got in Congress six years ago. The budget process is completely broken. We tear it up by the root and start with a new process.
The point is, when we begin by passing a budget in Congress, it's only a guideline. When we actually pass a budget, it's not a binding budget. We don't have to live by it. We typically break the budget about three, four, six months after we pass it. So to begin with, what we propose to do, is when Congress passes a budget it gets signed into law and therefore it can be legally enforced.
KEN DOLAN: What a wacky idea.
RYAN: It's a crazy idea, isn't it? If we actually spend over the budget, we have an across the board spending cut that kicks in to enforce the budget. And it requires a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate to overturn enforcing the budget.
RYAN: There are a lot of things. There are a 1,000 different tricks you can do to pork barrel spend. We go after those tricks to get rid of the pork barrel spending, to make sure we have truth in accounting, to make sure we have a budget that's enforceable.
KEN DOLAN: I like this guy.
DARIA DOLAN: Do you and Congressman Cox, and your other two cohort, have bodyguards on the Hill at the moment?
RYAN: We are not very popular among the people who like to spend in Congress.
KEN DOLAN: You're popular here, I tell you.
DARIA DOLAN: How does this differ from Gramm-Rudman (ph) and why didn't that work?
RYAN: Gramm-Rudman didn't work because it was a Band-Aid on top of the current system. It was a Band-Aide, basically on top of the 1974 Budget Act, which is the foundation of the budget system we have today. And that foundation is faulty.
That's what we're replacing. We're repealing the 1974 Budget Act, which is a system designed to tax and spend and continue spending. It is a system that makes it impossible to have restraint in federal spending, good federal government oversight, and it protects the pork barrel system.
By getting rid of that foundation and replacing it with a real budget system that has the force of law, that has integrity, that inhibits pork barrel products to be included in budgets bills to begin with, that's how we're going to solve this problem.
KEN DOLAN: Representative Ryan, bear with me here, through my noggin here. How often do we do a federal budget? Is it every year or is it .
RYAN: Every year.
KEN DOLAN: All right, great.
DARIA DOLAN: Don't you recall, they shut down the government if they haven't met it? We had that during Newt Gingrich's day. And it ended up with all sorts of problems, didn't it?
KEN DOLAN: Hold on. What you're saying is we do a budget every year and it really doesn't end up being a budget because after three or four months we go over budget every single year.
RYAN: That's right.
KEN DOLAN: What you are saying, and you are asking-you're making a wacky proposal, which would be like me having a family budget and actually sticking to it, or maybe going to jail if I didn't pay my bills. If we make a budget and we all sign off on it. The Congress, president, or whoever else is there. We sign off it, we actually have to stick by it, or will two-third of the House and two-third the Senate has to overrule it.
Why would that not be passed unanimously? Why not? Tell me why.
RYAN: Because there are people who have been in Congress for 10 or 20 years who like the way things are. They get to filter spending through their fiefdoms, through their committees and it's a powerful system they have in place.
We proposed to going to a two-year budget, by the way. Because all we do is spend, spend, spend, every year. We never conduct oversight into how well taxpayer's money is being spent. So we proposed setting budget in the nonelection year, and then in the election year, conducting the government oversight as to whether or not our taxpayer dollars are being spent well.
KEN DOLAN: I like it.
DARIA DOLAN: Now, I'm not asking this question to slap you around, Congressman --
KEN DOLAN: Go ahead.
RYAN: Bring it on.
DARIA DOLAN: There's no press coverage here. Other than the editorial page of "The Wall Street Journal".
DARIA DOLAN: But are the four of you slightly concerned-and the reason you're so hot to do this, is to stand up and to stand away from what, quite frankly, to me, has been a very disappointing group of Republicans in the overspending that they are aiding and abetting the other party that they always said were the mega spenders?
RYAN: Yes. You know, I can't really argue with that. Democrats are bad on spending. They're worse than Republicans. But we Republicans aren't as good as we say we are. And what we're trying to do is put-make our-talk the talk, and walk the walk. And so what we want to do here is have a real budget process with integrity that actually, like you say, like a family or a business, sticks to the budgets that we pass.
We pass budgets and we say we're going to do this, we're going to do that, we're going to hold the line on spending, we break it a few months later. We want budgets that actually have the force of law, that are enforceable. And also, we go after the little tricks that are in the budget that prohibit pork barrel spending from continuing on. And we also want to clean up our accounting system, which is really, you know a crime in this country.
DARIA DOLAN: You're going to force Robert Byrd to retire, aren't you?
RYAN: You know this has been the system since '74. It's a system that's designed to grow government and stifle accountability and limited government. That's what we're trying to repair here. And just have a process that has integrity, transparency, and has the force of law, so that any budget we set can actually be enforced. That's what we're trying to do.
KEN DOLAN: Representative Ryan, I have a question for you. And I mean it seriously, I want you to want you to think about this quietly, for five seconds. Is it too late for you to run for president?
KEN DOLAN: No, do you think-could you get on the ballot quickly?
RYAN: No, I'm 34 years old. I'm not old enough.
KEN DOLAN: Oh, for heavens sakes. You have to be 35.
KEN DOLAN: Hold on!
DARIA DOLAN: That's my question. "The Wall Street Journal" is saying there are about 100 members .
RYAN: That's right.
DARIA DOLAN: .in Congress that do support you and your cohorts on this.
KEN DOLAN: That's good.
RYAN: We have 102 members who are cosponsors of our legislation.
DARIA DOLAN: All right. Why is it impossible to get enough people to pass this? Is it because other than here on DOLANS UNSCRIPTED and "The Wall Street Journal", nobody's talking about it, the public's not aware of it?
RYAN: Here, in Washington, people know about it. This has definitely caused a lot of ripples in the system. Most Democrat, almost all Democrats will oppose this bill.
KEN DOLAN: Why? Why would anybody oppose it? I don't get it.
RYAN: To be honest?
KEN DOLAN: Yes.
RYAN: Because they like the culture of spending.
KEN DOLAN: Are all the Republicans behind it?
RYAN: Most Republicans will vote for this bill, but the Republican Appropriation Committee members are opposing this bill. That means we won't have a majority. We're bringing this bill to the floor of the House next week. We are bringing the entire piece of legislation. Then we're gong to break it up into 10 parts and try to pass amendments to see if we can get pieces of this bill passed through the House.
KEN DOLAN: They ought to be ashamed of themselves if they don't pass it.
RYAN: All I can say -
KEN DOLAN: They ought to be ashamed of themselves.
RYAN: We'll see the votes next week.
KEN DOLAN: Yes, I'm dying to see it next week.
RYAN: We'll see who supports --
DARIA DOLAN: I'll do my darnedest to get more media involved in focusing on this because it's what we rail about. Me, in particular, with my big mouth. And to see four of you that are willing to take the bull by the horns and do what's right for the American taxpayer, I-I want them to see your face here because I want anybody from your district to vote for you again.
RYAN: Well, that's-I appreciate you saying that.
DARIA DOLAN: There are very few of you guys I would like to see re- elected.
KEN DOLAN: Representative Ryan, listen to me. I will not take no for an answer. I want you to come on for five minutes with us some time next week. Depending on what day of the week it is and whatever, I want you to come on and do a quick overview of the vote, good, bad, indifferent-who did, who didn't.
KEN DOLAN: I'm serious, will you do that?
RYAN: On your radio or TV show?
KEN DOLAN: We'll start with TV. We do, as you know, national radio. We'll start with TV and radio won't be far behind it.
RYAN: OK, we'll work it out.
KEN DOLAN: OK, please do that. We'll have Stephanie call you.
Thank you, Representative Paul Ryan, who will be announcing for president in the next four years, I hope.
DARIA DOLAN: Ken will be his chief fund-raiser.
KEN DOLAN: Thanks, Paul, very much. We're going to do radio and TV. There's a guy trying to make a difference.
DARIA DOLAN: I'll get the name of all of them. Congressman Chris Cox, stays with me, the other two names, I'm not so familiar with. We'll get them for you before the end of the show because want you to know if they're your people that are trying to do the right thing for a change.
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