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Public Statements

Spending Reduction Act of 2012

Floor Speech

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Location: Unknown

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute.

This is what we should be doing almost every day here--cutting spending. In particular, this cuts $236 billion over the next 10 years in net spending cuts to pay for 1 year of the sequester. It sets aside the sequester on defense and nondefense discretionary spending. It cuts $218 billion in mandatory spending and $19 billion in discretionary spending by lowering those caps. The result of this is we believe it's better to identify specific spending cuts, waste, fraud, and abuse in the Federal Government in order to prevent the sequester from occurring. This sets aside this question for 1 year. But in exchange for that, it has a net spending reduction of $236 billion. We think the path forward is even lower spending, which is what this achieves.

I yield 5 minutes to the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Mr. McKeon.

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

My friend started off by saying this is a farce, this is not real. This is what Congress is supposed to do.

Let's review what this legislation is or is not.

Number one, six congressional committees went through their areas of jurisdiction to look for areas where spending can be reduced--to look for areas where

there was government duplication, to look for areas where there was government waste and fraud--reported out of those committees savings, spending cuts, and we package it together here. We ought to be doing this each and every year.

More to the point, Mr. Speaker, this package of spending cuts are built on top of the fact that we actually passed a budget to pay off the debt. We actually passed a budget to make sure that nobody gets a tax increase. That's a lot more than the President can say.

The President's budget was voted down unanimously in the House and the Senate. The Senate, they haven't passed a budget in 3 years. We don't just have a fiscal cliff, we have a fiscal abyss in front of us, and that is the debt crisis that is on our horizon.

Failure to address this debt crisis means not just 47 percent of Americans, but every American gets hurt. Every American gets a lower standard of living. Every American, especially the next generation, receives a lower standard of living if we don't fix this mess.

So what is this we're doing here today? We're saying we don't think the crude across-the-board sequester is good policy. We think it will harm our national security--the first and primary responsibility of the Federal Government--and we want to replace next year's cuts with even more spending cuts that we think are smart spending cuts.

The gentleman is talking about all these people who will lose food stamps and free and reduced lunches. Let me say it really clearly: Every single person who qualifies for food stamps will get food stamps. Every single child who qualifies for a free and reduced lunch will get their free and reduced lunch. What we're saying is you actually have to qualify for these benefits to get these benefits, and that's not the case today. We are spending so much money from this government that people who don't even qualify for these benefits, who make more than they should to qualify for them, are getting these benefits.

There is a lot of waste. There's a lot of fraud. There's a lot of abuse in how our Federal tax dollars are being spent, and we're beginning to rein that in with this down payment of spending cuts.

With respect to taxes, what we are trying to do here is limit the damage to the taxpayer. There's not a single tax increase that we're proposing here--not a single. What we're saying is prevent as many tax increases as possible from hitting anybody in this economy. Because you know what? It's not a very good economy. Look, elections have consequences. We understand that. I, of all people, understand that. The consequence of this election is we have a President who in every proposal he has given us has called for net spending increases along with tax increases.

He used to say we ought to cut $3 of spending for every $1 of tax increases. He's not even doing that. The latest proposals say let's raise taxes and then raise spending. Mr. Speaker, that's what got us in trouble in the first place.

With that, I'd like to yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Bachus), the chairman of the Financial Services Committee.

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I yield myself 30 seconds to say, Follow the President's lead? I wish he were leading.

The gentleman from Michigan said he's offered all these specifics. I wish it were so. Where are they? We hear numbers, we hear platitudes, we see budget gimmicks and accounting tricks; but we don't see specifics. We have yet to see a specific solution from this President to deal with his debt crisis.

He's claimed he wants to cut $3 of spending for every $1 of tax increase. We've seen a lot of specific tax increase proposals come from the President, but we haven't seen a specific spending cut proposal from the President. That's the problem.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the chairman of the Agriculture Committee, the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Lucas).

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute.

The food stamp program has grown over the last 10 years by 270 percent. That's far in excess of the recession. With these kinds of reforms, it will have grown by 260 percent. Hardly the kind of draconian cuts the gentleman seems to suggest. What we're saying with these programs is that you need to be eligible for the actual benefit to receive the benefit. That's not asking too much. If we can't put commonsense reforms like this in place, we'll never get anywhere in dealing with this debt crisis.

The gentlelady from the Financial Services Committee says it's just wrong to submit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau agency to the appropriations process. I find that an amazing critique.

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I yield myself another 30 seconds.

This is an agency that gets its money from the Federal Reserve without ever having to go through Congress. When we uphold the Constitution to take office, let's never forget that the power of the purse lies in the legislative branch. All of these executive agencies should have to go through the appropriations process. That's not gutting a program; that's bringing accountability to a program.

With that, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Gingrey).

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, let me just say, over the past decade Medicaid spending increased by 150 percent. Over the next decade it's projected to increase by 225 percent, and an effort to slow the increase is called a cut. That's our problem.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Issa), the chairman of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee.

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, let's take a step back to remind us where we are.

On January 1, if we do nothing, every American taxpayer will see a massive tax increase. That will dramatically hurt our economy and families. Then, on the next day, we'll face a 10 percent cut in our defense budget.

Americans chose divided government, whether it was intended or not. The President won. The House is still a Republican House. We're going to have to find a way to make this work. This is what we're attempting to do today. We want to avert this crisis, this cliff, but that means to begin to get spending under control, that means to prevent as many tax increases from hitting Americans as possible.

My friend--and I mean this sincerely--my friend from Maryland says we need a balanced approach. The President, in all of his latest proposals, says more taxes and even more net spending. Hardly a balanced approach.

Here's the problem: Our problem is not balanced. Even if all the current tax rates are extended, those taxes still go up. The problem is spending goes way up. Spending is our problem.

The size of our government will double over the course of this generation as a share of the economy. The President has shown no leadership on dealing with the drivers of our debt. We have. We have passed our budget. We put the specifics out there.

Let's avert a fiscal cliff and let's get on to the business of preventing the fiscal abyss, which is the coming debt crisis that will not be resolved until we have real leadership; and that, unfortunately, is sorely lacking.

With that, I urge passage of this. Let's prevent taxpayers from tax increases, get a down payment on spending cuts, and let's pass this bill.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, I enjoy this. It's good reading. It has a very rich irony, ``Title VIII. Disclosure of higher beneficiary costs from provider cuts under Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP cuts.'' Where was this when they passed ObamaCare? Where was this need for disclosure on the beneficiaries of Medicare when they took $716 billion from Medicare to spend on ObamaCare? Where was this concern when they raised $1 trillion in taxes to pay for ObamaCare? Where was all of this need for disclosure when they were hitting providers and beneficiaries in Medicare to pay for their vaunted ObamaCare program?

The gentleman talks about cuts to food stamps and Medicaid. Food stamps will have grown by 260 percent instead of 270 percent under this bill. Medicaid has grown by 150 percent over the last decade, and it is projected to grow by 225 percent over the next decade. Slowing the growth of spending isn't a cut, it's slowing the growth of spending. This is our problem, Mr. Speaker. If we lambaste these commonsense ideas as draconian cuts, we're never going to fix this problem. If we keep this kind of language and definition, heaven help us.

The other part on oil companies, all these taxes. Look, I've been a member of the Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. A number of years ago we put in place a policy that says: We want more manufacturing in America. We want to reward manufacturing jobs. So if you manufacture something in America, you will pay effectively lower tax rates than if you make something overseas. The idea would be more U.S. manufacturing jobs. Here's what they do. They say ah, ah, ah, not if you're in the oil industry. So, if you're working in the oil fields in North Dakota or the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania or the Woodford in Texas, we don't want your jobs, because if you manufacture oil in America, we're raising your taxes. We're not going to raise your taxes if you manufacture oil overseas, but if you create American-made energy jobs, this raises your taxes. Not only does it raise our taxes and costs American energy jobs, it raises our gas prices. How is that good for consumers and families?

So, it's an anti-American energy job, pro-high gas tax bill that all of a sudden calls for the kind of disclosure that they weren't willing to disclose when they jammed ObamaCare through. This is not serious and I reject this motion.

I urge all Members to vote against the motion to recommit.

I yield back the balance of my time.

The previous question was ordered.

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