Ryan: 'Not Going to Pretend That This Budget Solves Our Fiscal Problems'
(CNSNews.com) - House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) predicts that the budget compromise he reached with Democrats will pass the House, imperfect as it is.
"Look, I'm not going to pretend that this budget solves our fiscal problems because it doesn't. The budget that we passed in the House in the spring does solve our fiscal problems. But in this divided government -- you're not going to get that," Ryan told Fox News's Sean Hannity Wednesday night.
"This is not an agreement to balance the budget. That's what our (Republican) budget does. Guess what, Sean? Elections have consequences. We're going to have to win a couple of elections to actually pass the kind of budgets that you and I are in favor of, the one I passed in the House just last spring."
Ryan said House Republicans have passed three consecutive budgets that would balance the budget and pay off the debt without raising taxes.
"Here's the problem," he said. "Barack Obama is the president of the United States, and Harry Reid is the Senate majority leader."
Until Republicans can get the budgets they want -- by winning elections -- Ryan suggested they must settle for small steps:
"And so what are we going to do in the meantime? In the meantime, it's three yards and a cloud of dust. In the meantime, we're going to get incremental gains. And we think it's in our interests nationally and also for the year to not have government shutdowns. And here's the precedent that I wanted to set. Every time we've had these budget negotiations, the Democrats say, I need 50 percent tax increases, 50 percent of spending increases.
"They didn't get that this time. They got no tax increases. And we said when this fiscal pressure comes, we're going to have to go after entitlements. We're going to have to reform what we call autopilot spending--and you're going to have to reduce the deficit -- without raising taxes.
Ryan said if Republicans take back the Senate in 2014, they'll pass the House balanced-budget plan. "We'll pass it through the Senate and we'll put it on the president's desk. It will give us even more leverage than the little leverage we have right now.
"But to be honest with you, Sean, I mean, sincerely, I don't think President Obama is going to be our solution to our fiscal crisis. So the question is, what can we do in the meantime to buy the country time? What can we do in the meantime to get a foundation under this economy?
"And by the way, every time we do these continuing resolutions, where we give the power to the president to set spending priorities, we're ceding the legislative branch power to the executive branch. This agreement brings that power back. This agreement, by writing our appropriation bills, says we're not going to give the president a blank check with a continuing resolution. Congress is going to set spending priorities. Congress is going to write the spending bills. That's one of the things we get in this agreement."
Ryan said the bipartisan budget agreement, for which President Obama has indicated support, would make "divided government work."
"As small as it is, it's a good precedent. It's a step in the right direction," he said.
The deal would erase $63 billion in scheduled spending cuts over the next two years and replace them with longer-term savings measured over 10 years, many of which won't accumulate until 2022-23, the Associated Press reported. Deficits would increase by $23.2 billion in 2014 and by $18.2 billion the year after that.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who followed Ryan on Hannity's show Wednesday night, said he can't support the budget agreement because "it just makes government more expensive and it puts off more spending cuts that need to be made now."