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Paul Ryan Responds to President’s Disappointing, Partisan Speech

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Washington, Apr 13, 2011 | comments

WASHINGTON – House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan made the following statement after listening to the President’s speech on deficit reduction:

 “When the President reached out to ask us to attend his speech, we were expecting an olive branch. Instead, his speech was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to address our fiscal crisis. What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander-in-chief; we heard a political broadside from our campaigner-in-chief.

Last year, in the absence of a serious budget, the President created a Fiscal Commission. He then ignored its recommendations and omitted any of its major proposals from his budget, and now he wants to delegate leadership to yet another commission to solve a problem he refuses to confront.

“We need leadership, not a doubling down on the politics of the past.  By failing to seriously confront the most predictable economic crisis in our history, this President’s policies are committing our children to a diminished future. We are looking for bipartisan solutions, not partisan rhetoric. When the President is ready to get serious about confronting this challenge, we'll be here.”

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Key Facts About the President’s Speech

General:

  • Counts unspecified savings over 12 years, not the 10-year window by which serious budget proposals are evaluated.

  • Postpones all savings until 2013 – after his reelection campaign.

  • Runs away from the Fiscal Commission’s recommendations on Social Security – puts forward no specific ideas or even a process to force action.

  • Calls for the appointment of another commission, after mostly omitting from his Fiscal Year 2012 Budget any of proposals submitted by the commission he appointed last year.

  • Non-specific framework fails to meet Fiscal Commission's definition of sustainability.

Taxes:

  • Proposes to raise taxes on the American people by more than $1 trillion, devastating our fragile economy and stifling job creation.

  • Endorsed the Fiscal Commission’s ideas on taxes, which specifically called for lower tax rates and a broader base, but then called for higher tax rates. Which is it?

  • Government health and retirement programs are growing at more than twice the speed of the economy. At the current rate of spending, revenue would have to rise “by more than 50 percent” just to keep debt at its current level, according to the Government Accountability Office. That means tax increases across-the-board, now and in the future.  

Medicare:

  • Instead of proposing structural reforms that would actually reduce health care costs, the President proposed across-the-board cuts to current seniors’ care. 

  • Strictly limits the amount of health care seniors can receive within the existing structure of unsustainable government health care programs.

  • Gives more power to unelected bureaucrats in Washington to determine what treatments seniors should or shouldn’t get, against a backdrop of costs that continue to rise.

  • Conceded that the relentlessly rising cost of health care is the primary reason why the nation is threatened by debt, and implicitly conceded that his health care law failed to solve the problem.

  • Eviscerates the only competitive element anywhere in health-care entitlement programs – the competition amongst Part D prescription-drug plans – which allowed the drug benefit to come in 41 percent under budget.

Medicaid:

  • Acknowledges that the open-ended financing of Medicaid is a crippling financial burden to both states and the federal government, but explicitly rejected the only solution to this problem, which is to give states the freedom they need to design systems that work for the unique needs of their own populations.

Defense:

  • Proposes more cuts on top of $78 billion in cuts included in his own defense budget, which he proposed just two months ago – all at a time when he continues to task the military with new missions.

  • Secretary Gates has said that the military needs 2 percent – 3 percent real growth just to keep executing the missions that DOD has already been assigned.

  • Secretary Gates described deficit reduction plans that let budget targets drive defense policy as “math, not strategy.”

 

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