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Fox News "Hannity" - Transcript


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SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The Republican-led House of Representatives has once again voted to fully repeal ObamaCare, and now one big question remains -- when will Harry Reid have the courage to put his reckless health care plan up for a vote in the United States Senate? And will moderate Democratic senators vote to uphold the measure now that it is without question the largest tax increase in American history?

And joining me now from D.C. with the very latest on this battle and much more, the often mentioned guy as a possible VP pick for Governor Romney, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. Congressman, good to see you. Welcome back, sir.

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS.: Yes. Good to be with you, Sean. How are you doing?

HANNITY: All right. It's interesting, the Democrats, watching the arguments today, their big argument is oh, we shouldn't have to debate this again. But this was sold to the American people as not being a tax. The Supreme Court has weighed in, it is what we've said it was, those of us that are conservatives, it's a tax. Why was this important today?

RYAN: Well, it was sold on three broken promises. One, it's a tax on middle-income taxpayers. Number two, President Obama said, health care premiums would go down, no they went up, they went up about $2,500. Number three, he said if you like the plan you had, you can keep it. Well, now we're finding that millions of people are poised to lose their health insurance once this becomes effective. So, it was sold on misleading grounds. And we really believe that if these facts were known then, when it passed, it would not have passed.
So, we want to revisit this issue, of course. But what we're also trying to show is look, we didn't get to the Supreme Court. We did not get the Supreme Court to knock this bill down. So there is one more chance. And that's basically what the Supreme Court said, one more opportunity and this is up to the American people through their elected representatives to repeal and replace this law. And what we are demonstrating today is that the House of Representatives is here and ready to do that.

The question now is the United States Senate and the president, obviously, they are not going to do that. That means the people of this country, through this election need to give us a better United States Senate and need to elect Mitt Romney president so we can finally repeal and replace this law, which was passed on a whole series of broken promises.

HANNITY: What is interesting to me now, now that it's a tax, and you guys have repealed it before. And it hasn't gone anywhere.

RYAN: Right.

HANNITY: So, now, the question is, you know, will Claire McCaskill and Jon Tester and Bill Nelson and Joe Manchin, all Democratic senators that are up for re-election, they're going to have to vote up or down on this, the largest tax increase in history. Is that going to happen in the Senate?

RYAN: I doubt it. It's up to Harry Reid, he decides whether he wants to make them take that vote or not. What do you think he will do? He won't do that. I don't think he wants to put those vulnerable Democrats up to make these kinds of votes, just like for three years, he has prevented them from having to vote on a budget. Even though the law says we have to pass a budget every year, he has not had them vote on a budget for three years.

HANNITY: How is the --

RYAN: So, we're still living under the Obama budget of 2009.

HANNITY: It's a constitutional mandate. I am trying to understand, constitutionally, you know, Congress spends money, how is it possible that you don't even put forward and pass a budget? How is that possible?

RYAN: The 1974 Budget Act says that Congress -- both the House and the Senate has to pass a budget by April 15. It's tax day for Americans, budget day for Congress. They have simply chosen to ignore the law. The problem is, there is really no consequence in the statute for ignoring the law and I think they basically made the calculation, it's better that we just do nothing and take the heat for that than show the country all the tax increases that are required to fulfill the spending vision that we have.

You have to remember, Sean, all the tax increases that the president's talking about, they don't even pay for a fifth of this proposed deficit spending. It just goes for spending, and not to mention the fact that, you know, he raised the debt $5 trillion in four years. They are proposing far more debt increases in the next five years if the president gets re-elected.

HANNITY: All right. Your job, basically, as you immerse yourself, day in and day out in numbers. We keep hearing that Social Security is going bankrupt. We keep hearing that Medicare is going bankrupt. You kind of scared me the last time you were on this program because you said that we have basically two to three years before the bond markets abandon us.

And meaning that they will not feel comfortable lending the U.S. money any longer. Do you still stand by that? And what specifically did you mean?

RYAN: Yes. So, this isn't my prediction, this is the prediction of economists and budget and bond experts that come and testify before our committee that tell us just like in Europe, America is not going to be able to borrow at such low rates and we will have a debt crisis in our hands. What a debt crisis means is, all those people who lend us money, which half of our borrowing comes from China, Japan and other countries, they're not going to lend us the money at these chip rates.

So, we have the huge spike in interests' rates. We will have a debt crisis and we'll have to respond rapidly to appease the debt markets, the bond markets so we can avoid a catastrophe. That means cutting benefits to current seniors, raising taxes that slows down the economy, which is exactly what Europe is doing. And what we are trying to do Sean is preemptive preventive debt crisis.

Get our spending under control, balance our budget, prevent the debt from getting out of control and reform the tax code to create jobs and growth from this economy and get people back to work. Economic growth, and spending control and entitlement reforms are the key recipe of what we are trying to do to prevent this debt crisis from happening. And we think the next president and the next Congress will basically decide how this all goes.

HANNITY: But any time anyone deals with this, and this goes to a question I have asked you in the past, is if you want to save Medicare and Social Security from bankruptcy, is the Paul Ryan look-alike throwing granny over the cliff? I mean.

RYAN: We are used to that.

HANNITY: All right. Let me -- give me 30 seconds. Let me throw you out where we are economically and I want you to -- considering you study these numbers more than anybody else, tell me what this means. First time in U.S. history, our sovereign debt was downgraded. First time in history. We have spending as a percentage of GDP, as the highest since World War II, you have the budget deficit and debt as a percentage of GDP, the highest since World War II.

Our long-term unemployment right now in this country is the highest since the 1930s, the decade of the great depression. We have homeownership now at the lowest level since 1965. The highest percentage of people, 49 percent pay no federal income tax and the highest -- the largest number of people in the country that are now getting a government check. Go ahead.

RYAN: And the highest poverty rates on record, more people on poverty than ever before since we've measured it.

HANNITY: And food stamps.

RYAN: And food stamps. And the worst quarter of economic growth of job creation in two years. This is all under the president's economic policies. And our argument is that the president's policies are bringing this about, this is why we need to elect Mitt Romney president. This is why we need a Senate Republican majority, so that we can turn this stuff around and fix it before it's gets too late, before we become a nation of net takers versus makers, before we have a debt crisis.

We see two big tipping points coming in this country, which will be very difficult to come from. The debt crisis, which would be a European- like situation where we have a managed decline, a stagnant, lost decade. And a crisis of more and more people seeing the government as a provider of their livelihood, instead of themselves. We want an upwardly mobile society. We want to have a safety net, not a hammock that lulls people into lies of dependency and complacency, and we are worried that the president's taking us down the wrong path.

HANNITY: It's interesting, I've been watching, you know, look at what's happening in Greece and Spain and Ireland and Portugal. Europe in general, we see what's happening there. You are saying that that's going to happen here.

RYAN: Oh, yes.

HANNITY: We have $16 trillion in debt. Do you really believe we can begin the process of balancing our budget and paying that off? I mean, did Scott Walker's election tell us that the American people really desire that?

RYAN: Yes! Yes it did. Actually, Scott is a very close friend of mine. What Scott did was he told Wisconsinites, "Our state has problems, here's my solution. I think public employers should pay something for their health and retirement benefits." Then he did it! And you know what? His recall vote was better than his vote in the first time in 2010.

HANNITY: Yes. I'm running out --

RYAN: So, people are hungry for solutions. They want to be talked to like adult, not pandered to like children. And that's why I think Mitt Romney is going to win. That's why I think we're going to get the Senate and I think that's why we're going to turn this country around before it's too late.

HANNITY: Your name is often mentioned as a VP choice for Governor Romney. If you were asked, would you accept it?

RYAN: Look, I don't think it's worthwhile going into this hypothetical, Sean. I appreciate the question but it doesn't do the Romney campaign any favors, getting with all this speculation. I have a very important job in Congress.


HANNITY: I didn't think you would answer it.

RYAN: You try every single time.

HANNITY: I was just hoping that -- our friendship meant something to you and that you would give me the exclusive.

RYAN: Yes. Thanks.

HANNITY: All right. Congressman, we're going to watch this very closely. It is a tipping point moment for the country and a tipping point election. Thanks for being here.

RYAN: You bet, Sean. Have a good one.

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