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Watch Paul Ryan's Response to the President, Read the Transcript

1:19 PM, Apr 15, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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I would just simply say and I suppose you want to get into these details, but he gave us a budget the other day in February that has been roundly panned as fundamentally unserious. And it is. Last year, he created a commission with certain goals and benchmarks to address the fiscal crisis. The commission came up with a plan. I was on the commission. I took dozens of the recommendations and put it on our budget. I didn't agree with the final product of the commission, but there were lot of things I did like. And that's why we're carrying them forward. He disavowed the commission in his plan, didn't put any of their substantive recommendations in his budget.

And so we thought he was going to kind of go back on that and offer commission like plans. We thought he was going to embrace some of the commission proposals. Instead, what we got was he wants another commission, the Biden commission, where he wants to delegate yet again to other people to make the tough decisions of our time which is the most predictable economic crisis, this debt crisis, he wants to delegate that to other people. And this new commission has even more modest benchmarks than the last commission he created. So, to me, it just makes it harder to close the gap than easier.

MR. BARNES: What are the prospects for a grand bargain?

REP. RYAN: Well, this definitely damages them. I think when you go after your political adversaries with the kind of demagogic terms and comparisons that the President did, that makes it harder.

I forgot whose quote this was. Maybe it was Churchill. But he was basically a pyromaniac in a field of straw men. I mean, to set up all these straw men arguments and then to tear them down, it's almost as if he wanted to paint his political adversaries, supposedly us, in a cartoonish kind of a way, in a caricature as if we want to hurt people's grandparents, were against families who have children with autism and disabilities and we don't want kids to go to college. I mean, that's basically what I got out of the President's speech yesterday is that what we believe.

How do you have a serious debate about this? This coming from a President who came to our Republican retreat about a year and a half ago and said what we were hoping to hear: We've got to do entitlement reform. We, House Republicans, have put out some credible, serious ideas, and we can't demagogue each other. We can't go after each other.

And, look, I'm saying both parties do this, but when the President came and said, "We can't treat the other party as if they're hurting seniors and hurting people and using this demagoguery," that's what he told us when he came to talk to us in 2010 in Baltimore. What we got yesterday was the opposite of what he said is necessary to fix this problem.

And so I think what we got yesterday was a reelection campaign speech. I guess it sort of tipped it off to me this last weekend when we heard he was floating a speech, not a plan necessarily, but a speech and he sent his campaign manager out to discuss it, not his budget director, not his Treasury Secretary, not his, you know, chief council of economic advisors. But he sent his campaign manager out to announce this.

We've asked you know, we have a good relationship with OMB. Our budget staff, a lot of them came from OMB. We talk to them on pretty much nearly a daily basis, and we called OMB yesterday to find out, okay, what do these new numbers what is this plan, show us the benchmarks, the data, the points. And they basically referred us to the President's budget and the press secretary's office

MR. BARNES: So there is no ...

REP. RYAN: There is -- this was really a speech, not a plan, as far as I can tell. So speeches aren't plans. Speeches isn't action. It's speeches.

MR. BARNES: The President said, "There was nothing serious about a budget that would cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires by $1 trillion." He was referring to your budget.

REP. RYAN: I guess he was. We do not include in our budget his tax increases. As you know, he's proposing an additional $1.5 trillion in tax increases, and we don't include that. We keep revenues where they are, and we reform the tax code much along the lines that were recommended by the Fiscal Commission. I was on the Fiscal Commission. I just said I like a lot of the things the Fiscal Commission did.

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