On March 4, First District Congressman Paul Ryan spoke with guest host Martha McCallum of Fox News's The Kelly File about the President's budget and the House Budget Committee's report on the War on Poverty. Excerpts of Congressman Ryan's responses follow.
The President's Budget Goes Even Farther to the Left
"This is a budget where the President basically raised the white flag and has surrendered his administration. For the next three years . . . he's not going to do anything to address our fiscal challenges. Last year, he actually put a couple of ideas in the budget to try and deal with our entitlements and our debt. This year: none of it. Actually, it's just more spending and more borrowing -- $1.8 trillion in new tax increases, in addition to the $1.7 trillion he already put out there -- over $8 trillion in more debt. His budget proposes to bring our debt up to $25 trillion. It's gone farther to the left, and so this isn't even an attempt to work with Congress."
Taxpayers Deserve a Balanced Budget
"I think [the President's budget is] a campaign document for his liberal base. I think he's not trying to bridge the differences between Congress. I think he's trying to give his base the kind of tax increases, spending increases, and borrowing increases that he believes in. So I think he believes in this budget, but I don't think it's in the mainstream. And it's clearly not doing anything about our fiscal problems. It proposes that we never ever balance the budget, and I just don't think American taxpayers deserve that. And I don't think that's what they're looking for in their President."
House Republicans Know How to Balance the Budget
"We have passed three budgets in a row here in the House that balance the budget and pay off the debt. We've shown the country, 'Here is specifically how we'll balance the budget and pay down the debt.' We're putting ideas out there on how to grow the economy, how to create jobs, how to open up our energy infrastructure, how to keep our defense from being hollowed out, so we show those ideas and we pass those ideas."
We Need to Renew the Debate on the War on Poverty:
"We've actually put this document out there, and it's basically a study looking at all the federal government's poverty-fighting efforts and programs. You can go to budget.house.gov and look at this study. And we're basically saying, 'Let's take a look at the federal government's approach now that we're 50 years in on this War on Poverty. We have nearly 100 different programs coming through the federal government, spending about $800 billion a year, and look what we have to show for it.' We have the highest poverty rate in a generation: 46 million people living in poverty. And a lot of these programs are so redundant and duplicative and ineffective. We need to have a debate in this country about how better to fight poverty and how better to approach this. What I think our approach has been is to throw new programs after new programs, don't see if they're working, and just throw money at it. And just measure our poverty fighting as how much we're spending on this program versus how many people we are getting out of poverty. And that's what we need to do: Have a good debate about attacking the root causes of poverty, so we can get people out of poverty once and for all. And that's not the kind of debate we've been having."