Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:  Paul Ryan
Date: July 18, 2012
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Madam Speaker, I yield myself 2 minutes.

Madam Speaker, here's basically why we are here today with the Sequester Transparency Act. As a background, under the current law, because the supercommittee was unable to agree on a deficit-reduction package, the Office of Management and Budget will implement a $110 billion across-the-board cut--which we have referred to as a sequester or a sequestration--on January 2, 2013. This comes half on defense, half on domestic discretionary--in other words, a $55 billion cut, which is a 10 percent cut to defense immediately, and then an 8 percent cut to domestic discretionary--but we do not know the actual reductions that will result from this sequester.

As we debate this bill today, we will probably not be able to avoid the contentious issues on the sequester, but let's not lose sight of the fact that the bill before us simply directs the Office of Management and Budget to tell us how they will implement the sequester. So we're just asking for more transparency and more details. Within 30 days, they should give us the plan on how they will do this.

This bill is essentially about transparency. It's not re-litigating the budget fight; it's about making sure that we have as much information as we can to make the right decisions. It's about carrying out a constitutional duty to ensure that laws are faithfully executed and that we fully understand the Budget Control Act sequester, how it's going to be implemented.

It has strong bipartisan support. The House Budget Committee voted 30-0 to report this bill here to the floor, and the Senate has passed similar legislation on a bipartisan basis.

With that, Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Madam Speaker, I yield myself 30 seconds simply to say that when we hear the words ``balanced approach,'' what that means to taxpayers in this country is, You give us your checkbook and we'll balance it the way we think it ought to be balanced here in government. Government first, taxpayers second. That's what the so-called ``balanced approach'' means. It means keep feeding higher spending with higher taxes.

The problem is, Madam Speaker, the arithmetic just doesn't add up. You literally cannot tax your way out of this mess. Spending is the cause. We need to address our spending. The sooner we do it, the sooner we can get back on to a path to prosperity.

With that, Madam Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. McKeon), the distinguished chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and ask unanimous consent that he be allowed to yield that 5 minutes as he chooses.


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, if all this borrowing, taxing, and spending was the secret to economic success and prosperity, we would be on the verge of entering a golden age, along with Greece.

The so-called balanced alternative plan by the other side is balanced in that it does have deficit reduction of $30 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office, but only because after the $55 billion spending increase scored by CBO, it has an $85 billion tax increase. If we keep going down this road, Mr. Speaker we're going to get the same results.

What did we start with in this Congress? We passed a budget that cuts spending, that reformed government, that reformed the taxes and gets back to economic growth to puts us on a path to prosperity to pay off the debt.

The Senate hasn't passed a budget for 3 years. Then we engaged in negotiations on the debt limit to try to get a down payment on deficit reduction and the Budget Control Act resulted.

Therefore, the supercommittee failed, and the sequester is about to kick in. So again we took action in the House, and we passed the reconciliation package that replaces the sequester, which resulted in a net $242.8 billion in additional deficit reduction. We put specifics on the table, passed them through the House again. The crickets are chirping in the other body in the Senate. No leadership from the President, no leadership from the Senate, no leadership.

What this is is simple. Since there is an absence of leadership on these critical fiscal issues from the President of the United States, from the Senate of the United States, at the very least show us how this is going to work. If you're not willing to replace the sequester, tell us how it's going to be implemented.

That is simply a matter of transparency. We're not judging the debates or the merits or the each other's ideas and how to replace it; we're simply saying to OMB tell us how it's going to go down, because this seems to be your only plan.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I encourage all Members to follow the bipartisan example that has been set in the Budget Committee and let's have a nice bipartisan vote on behalf of transparency from the legislative branch.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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