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Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I yield myself 5 minutes.

Mr. Chairman, earlier today we passed a continuing resolution that will ultimately save billions of dollars of taxpayer money. Today we are converting and switching this debate to now saving trillions of dollars.

Mr. Chairman, let me just begin by saying this: The spending spree is over. We cannot keep spending money we don't have.

The American people deserve the truth. They deserve an honest, fact-based conversation about this budget. We have got to get on to the days of no more budget gimmicks, timing shifts, accounting tricks. And we've got to get on to fixing our country's fiscal problems while we still can and while they're still within our control.

Mr. Chairman, specifically what our budget does is it cuts $6.2 trillion in spending from the President's budget. It brings the government's spending as a share of our economy back down to where it historically has been, contrary to where the President is taking it.

Mr. Chairman, we do not have a revenue problem in Washington. The problem here today is not that people don't pay enough taxes; the problem is Washington borrows and spends too much money.

This shows you where Washington is headed, where the President's budget goes, the path we are on.

Mr. Chairman, I am 41 years old. My wife and I have three beautiful kids who are 6, 7, and 9 years old. By the time our children are my age, the government will be twice the size it is today. When they're my age, double the government, double the taxes just to keep this current government afloat.

What we are really trying to do, Mr. Chairman, at the end of the day is fulfill the legacy that we have been given by our parents and by our predecessors in Congress. We're going to have a vigorous debate about how to do this. We're going to have a vigorous debate of our priorities and processes, and it's going to be emotional.

At the end of the day, this is what we are trying to do: We know, according to every fiscal expert out there, that we are giving the next generation a mountain of debt. So we have a choice of two futures, Mr. Chairman. Which future do you want your children to have? One, where the debt gets so large, it crushes the economy and it gives them a diminished future, a stagnant economy; or, two, this budget, using CBO numbers, that literally not only gets us on the way to balancing the budget but pays off our debt, gets our debt manageable, preempts and prevents a debt crisis, and fixes this so we can preserve this great legacy of giving the next generation a higher standard of living.

Now, Mr. Chairman, we had a speech yesterday from the President--not a plan, so to speak, but a speech. And unfortunately, I think the speech, which was a framework with no details, was really not about solutions but about partisanship.

I'm concerned, Mr. Chairman, that leaders here in town are more concerned about the next election than the next generation. I hope that that's not the case. I hope that leaders in this town change their tune so we can fix this problem, but it's going to require them to change their tune. We don't need good politicians; we don't need clever politics.

We need real leadership and real solutions to fix this country's problem because, Mr. Chairman, if we don't make some tough decisions today, our children are going to have to face much, much tougher decisions tomorrow.

I want to talk about one particular program, and I will yield myself 2 additional minutes to do that.

Medicare. Medicare is one of the most important programs we have; it's one of the most successful programs we have. Medicare is in trouble. Medicare is going broke. CBO tells us that in 9 years it has exhausted its trust fund. We need to save Medicare. This budget doesn't change anything for anybody on Medicare now and within 10 years of retiring, and it saves the system for the next generation.

Contrary to what the President proposed yesterday, he wants to delegate more authority to 15 people on a bureaucracy that was created in his new health care law to do price controlling and rationing of Medicare for current seniors. He wants these 15 people--without a consent of Congress, just to do it directly--to impose more price controls and more limitations on providers, which will end up cutting services to current seniors.

We repeal this agency. We don't think Congress should be delegating this kind of power and authority to unelected people to make unilateral decisions on senior health care. So we preserve, protect, and save Medicare for current seniors and those 10 years away from retiring, and then I'll get into the details about how we save it for future generations.

Mr. Chairman, at the end of the day, this budget is about choices. We do four things. We want to grow the economy so we create jobs and have a climate for job creation with tax reform. We want to save the mission and preserve the mission of health and retirement security. We do that. We want to preserve our social safety net and make it more sustainable, more reliable, more adaptive, and more conducive to the 21st century and geared not toward keeping people on welfare, but getting people back on their feet and into jobs and careers to have flourishing lives. At the end of the day, Mr. Chairman, what it's really about is giving our children a debt-free Nation.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 30 seconds simply to say the gentleman is talking about Medicare. If he had read that CBO letter a little later, he would see it says that Medicare is on such an unsustainable path that there's no way it can sustain itself where it is.

So we're making comparisons to fiscal myths. We're making comparisons to futures that aren't going to exist. The greatest threat to Medicare is the status quo and those who cling to it.

I would also simply say the President yesterday said he wants this unelected board of bureaucrats to cut a trillion dollars out of Medicare. We don't want to see that happen.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the distinguished chairman of the Appropriations Committee, the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Rogers).


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I will just simply say we choose to reduce spending. And we don't reduce revenue; we reform the tax system.

With that, I would like to yield 2 minutes to a member of the Budget Committee and the Appropriations Committee, the gentleman from California (Mr. Calvert).


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I yield myself 10 seconds to simply say, yeah, less spending, less government, less debt; more jobs, more prosperity.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Cole).


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 30 seconds simply to say the only part of this budget that mentions oil is that we want to drill for it in our own country so we can actually lower gas prices and get ourselves off foreign oil.

The second point I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, is this budget saves Medicare as we know it. The President is proposing to ration Medicare as we know it.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I would like to yield 2 minutes to the chairman of the Financial Services Committee, the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Bachus).


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 minute to simply say, if the gentlelady had taken the time to read the CBO report, it's not a voucher program. In a voucher program, the money goes to the people, and then they go to the market. It's a premium support program.

What does this look like?

It looks just like the plan that you and I have as Members of Congress and that all Federal employees have. It works like the prescription drug benefit, which has come in 40 percent below cost. More to the point, it saves Medicare. It applies to people 54 and below, and it occurs in 2022. Guess what happens 2 years before that under the status quo? Medicare goes bankrupt.

We want to prevent Medicare from going bankrupt. We want a system that's sustainable. We want a system that's solvent and that people can rely upon: guaranteed coverage options just like we have in Congress. That's what we are proposing.

More to the point, what we are opposing is delegating to 15 people the ability and the power to ration over $1 trillion of Medicare against current seniors. We repeal that. The President proposes that. That's the big difference between us.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Gardner).

Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 2 minutes.

Let me say a couple of things. Let's look at current law that was passed here not too long ago, the President's health care law. We've all done town hall meetings where people have said: Why do you keep raiding the Social Security trust fund? Stop the raid of Social Security. We agree; that was wrong. We shouldn't have done it, and now we're out of surplus.

Well, guess what, the current health care law raids Medicare. The current President's health care law takes $682 billion out of Medicare to spend on the ObamaCare entitlement. We're ending the raid of Medicare. We're making sure that those savings go to making Medicare solvent. It only gets it to 2021.

More to the point, Mr. Chairman, we believe that seniors should be in charge. We believe that the best way to make Medicare better is to give seniors more choices. Give them the ability to make choices and have providers compete against each other for their business.

Here's the difference: The President wants 15 people to make the choices in Medicare. We say let 40 million seniors have choice, have power, and have those providers compete against each other for their business so they're in charge of their Medicare.

The President's law, the law today, has him appoint 15 people to ration Medicare, and Congress can't even do a thing about it. Their decisions go right into law. That's the future of Medicare under the current law. The President said, let's throw another trillion on top. So here's what happens: When the President is coming up with a need for more savings, what does he do, he calls up his Medicare rationing board and says, go find another $480 billion.

That is not the future we want for Medicare. There's a difference between us. We don't want to have government ration health care. We want people to be in charge of their own health care.


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