Paul Ryan Budget Plan

Floor Speech

By:  Mitch McConnell
Date: April 5, 2011
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, today the chairman of the House Budget Committee, Congressman Paul Ryan, is releasing a serious and detailed plan for getting our Nation's fiscal house in order. Congressman Ryan's plan would put us on a path to reducing the national debt, it would strengthen the social safety net so we can keep the promises made to the Nation's seniors, it proposes a way for Washington to start living within its means, and it will repeal last year's health care law which will raise health care costs, lead to fewer jobs, and which Americans have rejected. Congressman Ryan is presenting a plan, in other words, to address our most pressing problems head-on at a moment when the President and other Democratic leaders simply refuse to do so themselves. He is doing what his constituents have sent him here to do.

Anybody can say our Nation's problems need to be addressed, but history will show that Chairman Ryan is one of those who actually stepped up to do it. He should be applauded for that by people of good will on both sides. Unfortunately, we already know how many Democrats intend to respond to this plan. We have heard their spin already. In the absence of any solutions of their own to a looming entitlement fiasco and the testimony of countless experts on the fiscal perils we face, Democrats intend to use Congressman Ryan's plan against anyone who supports it--despite the facts. They will try to scare the public by claiming it says things that it does not. They will squander the golden opportunity we have right now to tackle the biggest problems we face in a bipartisan way, the way our predecessors did when the two parties shared power in Washington, all in the name of having an edge in the next election. Frankly, it is shameful.

Americans elect their President and Senators and Congressmen to lead. They don't expect us to agree on everything, but they expect us to work together when a problem becomes so pressing that cooperation across party lines is required. Now is such a moment. The debt is at crisis levels, posing a threat not just to businesses and families planning for the future but to our national security.

Since the President has taken office, nearly 3 million Americans have lost their jobs. As a result of the ongoing housing crisis, millions of homeowners are currently underwater on their mortgages. The only industry that seems to be growing is government, and the only city that seems to be isolated from problems most Americans face right now is Washington--all at taxpayers' expense.

The budget debate in which we have been engaged in the past several weeks is the direct result of the fact that Democrats in Congress failed to pass one of their own for the current fiscal year. Republicans had to step in and do it for them. Now, 6 months into the current fiscal year, the President and current Members of Congress still have yet to produce a plan of their own. House Republicans have produced multiple plans, including one they will offer today which funds our troops through the end of the year, keeps the government running, and gets us one step closer to the level of spending cuts that even the senior Senator from New York has described as reasonable. Unfortunately, Democrats would rather take potshots at these proposals from the side lines, hoping they become unpopular with the public so they can benefit politically. They have completely and totally abdicated their responsibility.

I would like to applaud Congressman Ryan not only for the energy and creativity and seriousness which he has brought to these issues but also for his courage in doing so at a time when Democrats in Washington would rather sit on their hands. By stepping forward, he has forced a much needed debate about the many crises of the moment. It is my hope that our friends on the other side recognize this effort for what it is--a serious, good-will effort to do something good and necessary for the future of our Nation--and that for the good of the Nation, they will join this effort at some point before it is too late.