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Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

Location: Unknown


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

Mr. Chairman, today I rise to bring forward and present the budget resolution for fiscal year 2014. We believe that we owe the American people a responsible, balanced budget, and that is precisely what we are bringing to the floor today. Our budget balances the budget within 10 years, and it does so without raising taxes. Balancing the budget will help us foster a healthier economy, and it will help us create jobs.

In fact, two leading economists at Stanford University today released a study analyzing our budget and its positive effects on the economy and jobs. In the first year, they said it would, ``boost the economy immediately,'' increasing growth of our economy by a whole percentage point, which translates into about 500,000 jobs right away. That's about $1,500 in extra take-home pay for families who are struggling to get by today.

By the end of the budget window, according to these economists at Stanford University, it would add 3 percent of economic growth to the economy. That's 1.7 million jobs in 1 year alone and about $4,000 more in take-home pay because of higher economic growth. More take-home pay means more control, more freedom, and more prosperity for families.

We are not simply here to balance the budget because we like looking at clean spreadsheets. It is not even an accounting exercise. The reason we are balancing the budget is to improve people's lives. It is to bring needed health to the economy and to bring certainty to families and businesses so they can get ahead.

We know that a debt crisis is coming, Mr. Chairman. We know that it's coming because we've watched what other countries have done when they continue to kick the can down the road and ignore the tough choices they need to make to get our fiscal house in order. We're doing that.

Now, what are we trying to do specifically in our budget? We want to restore opportunity. We want to repair our broken safety nets so that they're designed to get people out of poverty on to lives of self-sufficiency by reforming our welfare programs. We want to make sure that the seniors who are relying on programs as important as Medicare actually get the benefits they organized their lives around. We want to make sure that the next generation, those of us who follow our parents into retirement, actually have a Medicare program we can count on. And we have those bipartisan reforms here.

Everybody needs to pitch in, and everybody needs to propose a solution to our problem because, Mr. Chairman, if we don't tackle this fiscal problem in America, it will tackle us.

Now, to their credit, the Democrats on the Budget Committee are bringing a budget to the floor. To their credit, the Progressive Caucus is bringing a budget to the floor. To their credit, the Black Caucus is bringing a budget to the floor. To their credit, the Senate, finally, for the first time in 4 years, is bringing up a budget.

Budgets are about choices. The problem we have is not now that they're doing a budget--that's good news; that's great--it's what's in their budget. If you take a look at our budget--as I mentioned, our budget balances the budget. We believe a balanced plan is one that actually balances the budget. There is not another budget that's being offered here other than the Study Committee budget that actually balances the budget, other points notwithstanding.

Now, why do we balance the budget? Because we don't want our children to be drowning in debt. We want to make sure that this sea of red ink that the CBO is telling us is coming, we pay off our debt and give our kids a debt-free nation. That's what we do.

Take a look at the other budgets that are being offered. Let's take a look at the Senate Democrats'. That has a tax increase that's about $1.5 trillion; that has a spending increase of about $4.8 trillion off of our budget. If you take a look at the House Democrats', that's a $1.2 trillion tax increase, with a spending increase of about $4.896 trillion off of this budget. If you take a look at the Black Caucus budget, the CBC budget, that's a tax increase of $2.8 trillion, with a spending increase of $5.7 trillion, only to be outdone by the Progressive Caucus budget. That is a $5.683 trillion tax increase with an $8.698 trillion spending increase in their budget.

Taking more money from hardworking families to fuel more spending in Washington is not going to solve our budget crisis, is not going to balance our budget. It's more of the same. And more of the same means we have a debt crisis. When we have a debt crisis, everybody gets hurt. The people who are on the safety net, the seniors who have already retired, they're the ones who get hurt the first and the worst in a debt crisis.

This is a responsible plan. It's a plan for economic growth. It's a plan for tax reform. It's a plan to open up our energy stores that we have here so that we can be energy independent. We have vast amounts of energy reserves that we need to tap so we can put people to work, bring down gas prices, and stretch paychecks further.

We've got to control our spending appetite. We've got to reform programs like Medicare so they're solvent. We've got to reform our safety net so that it works to get people on their feet. That's what this budget does.

In a nutshell, instead of spending $46 trillion over the next 10 years as we are currently poised to spend, we spend $41 trillion. Instead of growing spending on average at 5 percent a year, we grow it at 3.4 percent a year.

So for all of the predictions of doom and gloom and how evil and terrible and horrible our budget is, it increases spending every year by 3.4 percent a year instead of 5 percent a year. The difference is we balance the budget. The difference is we let families keep more of their own take-home pay. The difference is we make sure our kids inherit a debt-free future. The difference is we do what's necessary to create a healthy economy, more take-home pay, faster economic growth, and better jobs. That's why we are here, to balance the budget.

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


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 30 seconds to say the gentleman from Maryland is right: yes, we do balance the budget. Guilty, and proud to be guilty of that. We think balancing the budget is important.

More to the point, in the revenues we are saying we don't like this current Tax Code, so we can raise the same amount of revenue as the government with a better tax system, one that is pro-growth, one that creates jobs. That is precisely what the Ways and Means Committee is doing. That does not include the ObamaCare taxes, but it includes replacing the current revenue code that hurts jobs and hurts economic growth.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I would like to yield 3 minutes to a senior member of the Budget Committee, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Garrett).


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 minute to respond to my friend from Maryland.

He keeps saying that the CBO says this plan is going to cost 750,000 jobs. That's an analysis done on the sequester starting with looking at calendar year January through calendar year December. Well, where are we? This budget doesn't deal with fiscal year 2013. It starts in October. So he's using a comparison of a statistic that they use, the same kind of economic short-term analysis they used to say that the stimulus would create millions of new jobs. They're using the same kind of analysis and say the sequester will cost these jobs, and it's a cut that isn't even in this budget.

More to the point, the Senate Democratic budget has

the same appropriations number we have in our budget for fiscal year 2014. The point is what the CBO does say over the long term, if you achieve this kind of deficit reduction that we are, a million new jobs a year by the end of the budget window--a 1.7 percent faster economic growth. CBO says that about this budget, about achieving this kind of deficit reduction. Stanford economists. You can create a million jobs a year. So you're seeing a consistent theme here: cutting spending and growing the economy and creating jobs.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Campbell), a senior member of the Budget Committee.


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume to quickly respond.

So here's what my friend is saying, and I have three problems with what my friend from Maryland said. I have a problem with what he said in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end of what he said about all of what is happening here.

Here's his plan for economic growth: borrow more money and go and spend that money. Remember the stimulus? They're saying do it again. Then raise taxes. That's going to help the economy. Oh, and it's a balanced plan.

Here's the problem: their balanced plan doesn't balance the budget. We actually asked the CBO--they're claiming they will balance the budget in 2040. The CBO doesn't verify that. They're having to make assumptions that the CBO won't even back up to claim that they can somehow balance the budget.

But when I look at their deficits in their budget, yeah, they get the deficits going down in the first few years, and then it starts going back up. How on Earth do you tax $1.2 trillion, net increase spending, and claim you're balancing the budget?

Look, we've been trying this economic program for a while. We tried the borrowing and the spending. That didn't work. We just hit the economy with a $1.6 trillion tax increase. The economy's not roaring right now. And what they're saying is let's do that all over again.

We are saying, fix the Tax Code. Replace it with a pro-growth tax system that helps small businesses, that helps job creators, that helps families. Get government spending appetite under control. The government is supposed to be spending 5 percent a year, on average, over the next 10 years. That's too much. That's more than the family budget gets. We say bring it down to 3.4 percent a year.

And so when you take a look at all of the smoke and mirrors, all of the claims, none of the Democratic budgets that are being brought to the floor here ever, ever balance the budget. How is that a balanced plan?

Balancing the budget is what every family does. Balancing the budget is what every business does. Balancing the budget is what every local government does. Surely our Federal Government can do this.

And one of the key ingredients to growing this economy, to making American businesses, big and small, competitive so that they can create jobs and give people more take-home pay, is to reform our tax system.

With that, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Camp), the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, who is in charge of reforming our tax system.


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

The gentlelady from Pennsylvania said that we're ending Medicare as we know it. I've got news for you: ObamaCare ended Medicare as we know it.

And what our budget does is it takes those statements from Medicare and makes sure it stays in Medicare, that it doesn't go fund another program. Stop the raid of Medicare, make sure that those savings, as the gentleman says, are necessary and worthwhile, and stay with Medicare to make it more solvent, to extend the life of the trust fund and not double-count it, to raid it to spend on ObamaCare.

Loopholes. I enjoy this conversation, because what we keep hearing is: close loopholes for the purpose of deficit reduction. What it really means is: take more money and spend it in Washington. We're saying: close loopholes to lower tax rates for everybody.

The problem with our Tax Code is it's not fair. If you have access, if you have good clout, you can get a loophole in the Code and pay lower taxes. If you're a family sitting home in Janesville, Wisconsin, you're paying whatever tax rate. We are saying the person or the business that has the same amount of income should pay the same kind of tax rate.

With that, I'd like to yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Williams), a member of the Budget Committee.


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Does that mean that money is not going to fund ObamaCare, and does that mean there's a $716 billion hole in the funding of ObamaCare?


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 30 seconds to say that was pretty good scaremongering if I ever heard any.

Like I said, the whole purpose of balancing the budget is to prevent a crisis from happening in the first place. What happened to Europe? They kicked the can down the road. They spent more than they could take in. They borrowed until they couldn't borrow at affordable rates, and then a crisis hit. We know that's where we're headed.

Look, the federal budget is growing at about 5 percent a year, and the family budget is growing at about 2 1/2 percent a year. We want to get the family budget on course with the federal budget or vice versa.

With that, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from Tennessee, a member of the Budget Committee and the Ways and Means Committee, Mrs. Black.


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 minute to say I simply dispute my friend from Wisconsin's interpretation.

This is the chart the gentleman from Maryland was talking about. Guess where we got this chart from? The Congressional Budget Office. It's the most recent numbers they've given us. Will they give us new numbers this summer? Yes. And guess what? It's still going to show a whole bunch of red ink. We can't wish away this debt problem. One year of spending and $3 for every $2 that you're taking in, you've got a problem. We've got to deal with that.

We know we're giving the next generation an inferior standard of living. If we keep down this path, we will have a crisis, yes. That's not fearmongering. The gentleman was talking about the fiscal commission. Erskine Bowles, President Clinton's chief of staff, says this debt is a cancer on society, that we will have a crisis. The problem is: there are Democrats who agree with the facts; it's not the Democrats who are writing these budgets, though. That's our problem.

Mr. Chairman, we're going to have to come together sooner or later to deal with this. That's why I want to yield 4 minutes to the vice chair of the Budget Committee, a gentleman who's offered lots of wisdom on this committee, the doctor from Georgia (Mr. Price).


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

Mr. Chairman, another chart. The red line shows where spending is going. These are Congressional Budget Office numbers. The green line shows our historic revenues. The blue line shows the additional revenues that President Obama has called for. He has already gotten a big chunk of this--he just got $617 billion--but even if we got all the tax increases that President Obama and his allies in Congress are calling for, it wouldn't even pay for a fifth of all the deficit spending that's coming.

This is where spending is going. We are spending ourselves into a debt crisis. We will never, ever balance the budget if we keep spending growing at the pace it's growing right now. We have to do something about this because, if we don't, our families will receive a bankrupt country; economic growth will slow; and our kids will be guaranteed a diminished future. We owe it to our countrymen, to our economy, to our kids to get this under control.

With that, I would like to yield 3 minutes to a member of the Budget Committee, also a member of the Appropriations Committee, the gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Nunnelee).


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. That was very entertaining.

Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 minute.

There are two ways to deal with Medicare essentially. And I think most people would agree, Medicare has a big problem. It's going bankrupt. And the gentleman from Maryland talked about demographics and health inflation.

ObamaCare changed Medicare as we know it. ObamaCare puts a board of 15 unelected bureaucrats in charge of Medicare. These bureaucrats, by law, are given the assignment to require Medicare cuts each and every year to hit the targets that will lead to denied care for current seniors.

We disagree with that. We think patients and their doctors should be in charge of their health care. We believe in choice and competition so that seniors have guaranteed coverage options to make sure that they can have a plan that best meets their needs.

Now, is this some pie in the sky theory?


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I yield myself an additional 1 minute.

Let me show you a chart.

By the way, a voucher is, you get a check and then you go buy something. No one's proposing that. It's a good poll-tested word.

Premium support is a bipartisan solution, the only bipartisan idea offered on how to save Medicare. It's how the prescription drug law works today.

When the prescription drug law was passed, it was expected to cost about $100 billion when we began, on an annual basis. What happened to the actual cost?

It came down 41 percent below cost projections. Let me say that again. The prescription drug law came in 41 percent below cost projections. Name me a government program that comes in 41 percent below cost.

Why did this one do that?

I'll tell you why. Seniors got to choose the plan that meets their needs.

The plans, the drug-providing plans, had to compete against each other for the seniors' business. They compete, so they lowered their prices, they improved their quality. Customer satisfaction is at an all-time high. And lo and behold, costs went down.


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

I enjoy the back-and-forth on Medicare. Let's not forget that under our proposal there's no cap on Medicare growth for current seniors. We don't have the cap like ObamaCare does. ObamaCare caps Medicare and then has this board of 15 bureaucrats decide how to affect current seniors to make it live within its cap to its price controls. We don't do that. We say leave Medicare alone. People like my mom organized their lives around this program and retired on it. Don't change a thing. Don't put some cap with bureaucrats price-controlling it. The premium support we're talking about, that's for future seniors. And if you're poor, if you're sick, if you're middle income, you get a lot more subsidy--total coverage for poor people--than the wealthy.

I keep hearing all this talk about wealthy. We say the wealthy should pay more for their own premiums than everybody else. That helps us save Medicare for the next generation. These are ideas that actually have bipartisan support--the only bipartisan idea on how to save Medicare versus the rationing from the IPAB board.

With that, I would like to yield 3 minutes to the gentlelady from Tennessee, a member of the Budget Committee and a member of the Commerce Committee, Mrs. Blackburn.


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

The gentleman is correct in saying that the savings that are in the Affordable Care Act for Medicare we apply back to Medicare. That's correct. We think that money should stay in Medicare to extend its solvency and not be raided from Medicare to spend on ObamaCare.

He says we keep the savings but we don't keep any of the benefits. President Obama said that premiums would go down by $2,500 if we passed ObamaCare. They've gone up by $3,000, on average. I don't call that a benefit.

The costs of the bill have gone from $938 billion to $1.88 trillion. It's a budget buster. It doesn't pay for itself. I don't think that's a benefit.

Next year, young people are expected to see their premiums go up by 145 percent to 189 percent. I don't think that's a benefit either.

So, yes, we don't want these benefits. We don't think turning Medicare over to a board of 15 unelected bureaucrats to cut it in ways that will surely lead to denied care for current seniors is a benefit. That's why I want to yield 2 minutes--well, that's not why, but I also want to yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Stutzman), a former member of the Budget Committee.


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I yield myself just 30 seconds to say that austerity is what we're trying to prevent from happening. That's the irony of this debate.

Austerity is what happens after the debt crisis hits. Austerity is what is happening in Europe. Austerity is cranking up taxes, slowing down your economy and cutting benefits on senior citizens after they've retired. That's what austerity is. That's what they call it.

We're preventing that. We're preempting that. The goal of this budget is a reasonable plan to balance the budget, to grow the economy, and to create more take-home pay so families can prosper.

With that, I yield 3 minutes to a new member of the Budget Committee, the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Rice).


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I yield myself 30 seconds to say the interest rate cliff in student loans was put in law by the Democrats in the first place.

If we bring legislation to the floor that is paid for to deal with it like we did last year, I would assume we have every reason to believe that we'll pass it.

With that, I yield 3 minutes to a new member of the Budget Committee, the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Duffy).


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, let me yield myself 1 minute.

Look, I very much appreciate the gentlelady from California and where she comes from on this issue. I believe her heart is in the right place. We, too, want to make sure that we get rid of poverty. We, too, want to make sure that people get on with their lives, get on that ladder of life so that they can get out of poverty and on to good lives. That's our aim here.

Now, here is what we see. We have spent trillions of dollars on this war on poverty. We're spending $1 trillion a year at all levels of government to fight poverty, and what have we gotten for this? We have 46 million people in poverty. The poverty rates in America are at a generational high. So rather than measure our poverty-fighting efforts by how much money we throw at programs, by inputs, why don't we start thinking about measuring it by outputs, by how many people we are helping to get out of poverty? By any measurement, this isn't working.


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I yield myself another minute to say that we need to rethink our premise here. Are we simply perpetuating poverty by treating its symptoms; or shouldn't we look at what has worked in the past--what communities are doing to make a difference--and get behind those ideas?

Let's fight poverty by taking the root causes of poverty in order to break the cycle of poverty and to get people out of poverty. Those are the ideas that we are talking about here. This is not a numbers thing. This is not a budget-cutting exercise. This is taking those ideas that were so successful in reducing child poverty in the welfare reform and applying them to the other programs that have not been reformed.

Giving States more flexibility, having work requirements and job-training requirements and block grants and time limits, what did that do? All the predictions of doom and gloom were there, but we lowered child poverty. We helped get single moms back to job-training programs so they could get back to work. This is why we reform job-training programs. This is why we call for reforming our safety net--because our goal, like her goal, is to get people on with their lives so they can reach their potential.

With that, I would like to yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Utah (Mr. Stewart).


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

I also want to thank my friend from Maryland for a lively debate. He and I have done this so much we can probably finish each other's sentences.

Washington is arrogant. There is an arrogance here in the Federal Government. It's an arrogance that says we know how to run things better in Washington; we should run everything here. We reject that.

We believe in the principle of federalism, which is contained in our Constitution. We think that people who are closer to the problems can probably do a better job of fixing problems.

I have a letter from the Governor of Utah, a letter from the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Iowa:

This budget will replace the rigid, one-size-fits-all Federal programs and instead offers the States the flexibility they need to make these programs work for the people they serve.

This budget gives States maximum flexibility in areas like Medicaid, food stamps, TANF so States can determine the optimal way to provide services to these unique populations.

We want to empower people closer to the problem to help solve these problems because you know what? We're not fixing these problems.

The other measure of arrogance in Washington is only in Washington is reducing the increase of spending a huge cut. Only in Washington is growing spending for the Federal Government at 3.4 percent a year instead of 5 percent a year a massive cut. You know what? Government's growing just fine. The Senate Democrat budget says let's grow spending at 4.7 percent a year instead of 5. That's supposed to be progress.

The family budget is growing at less than 2.5 percent for the next 10 years. That's the best projection we've got, the most generous one. If the family budget is only growing 2.5 percent and the Federal Government is growing about 5 percent, this is imbalance. This is arrogance. We should ask our Federal Government to do just what our families do and balance the budget. That's the responsible thing to do.

Now, let's take a look at what our friends on the other side of the aisle are doing. The one consistent theme of all of these budgets that are being offered by Mr. Van Hollen, by the other Democrats, by the Senate Democrats is tax more and spend more.

The Senate Democrat budget, that comes in the cheapest one of them all. Increase net spending--remember, we have a trillion-dollar deficit, a debt crisis in the future. What do they say? Let's net increase spending above where we are and let's raise taxes $923 billion.

The House Democratic budget, let's have a net spending increase of $476 billion and let's raise taxes $1.2 trillion.

The Congressional Black Caucus budget: let's raise spending $1.99 trillion and have a tax increase of $2.9 trillion. Or the Progressive Caucus budget--that one really takes the cake--let's have a $4.65 trillion spending increase only to be slightly outdone by a $5.683 trillion tax increase.

This is what they're saying: ignore the deficit, ignore the economy, all the answers lie in Washington, take more from hardworking small businesses, take more from families, spend it in Washington, and, oh, by the way, we don't have a crisis. That's just scare-mongering.

Do you know what? Try telling that to our children and our grandchildren who are guaranteed to get a lower standard of living if we don't fix this mess. Try telling that to the struggling workers, the families, the people in poverty in America today who aren't cutting it in this economy.

Balancing the budget helps us promote a healthier economy to create jobs and get people back on their feet again, and that's exactly why we're proposing and passing this budget.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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