Committee Mark-Up: The Path to Prosperity – FY2013 Budget Resolution

Chairman Paul Ryan
Opening Remarks, As Prepared for Delivery

Welcome to the mark up for the Fiscal Year 2013 budget resolution. I am proud to be here with my House Budget Committee colleagues today. I am proud of all the hard work you’ve done to produce the budget we’re here to discuss.

I also want to thank my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, especially Ranking Member Van Hollen and his staff, for their cooperation in preparation for today. Throughout this process, you’ve shown a commitment to mutual respect and openness in keeping with the best traditions of this committee.

One year ago, we came together in this committee to mark up what became the FY2012 House-passed budget. At the time, I called it just the first step on the Path to Prosperity. And we still have a long way to go.  But look how far we’ve come since then. Our budget changed the conversation in Washington about our nation’s fiscal future. Courageous Democrats have joined our efforts. And bipartisan opposition to the path of broken promises is growing.  This year, we take another step on the Path to Prosperity – one that builds on our important work last year while taking several new strides toward a more prosperous nation.

For years, both political parties have made empty promises to the American people. Unfortunately, the President refuses to take responsibility for avoiding the debt-fueled crisis before us. Instead, his policies put us on the path to debt and decline. We reject the broken politics of the past. The American people deserve real solutions and honest leadership. That’s what we’re delivering with our budget.  House Republicans are advancing a plan of action for American renewal.

It very clear that, absent action, government spending on health and retirement programs will soon grow to consume every dollar of revenue that the government raises in taxes. We can’t avert a debt crisis without dealing with these programs.

The government’s fiscal gap – promises that government is making to future retirees for which it has no way to pay – is growing by trillions of dollars a year.  Each year that Congress fails to act, the U.S. government gets closer to breaking promises to current retirees while adding to a growing pile of empty promises made to future generations.

By its own admission, the President’s budget does nothing to avert this path of broken promises.  In its own words, this budget allows the nation’s “fiscal position [to] deteriorate.”

If we stay on the current path, government spending and the size of the government will skyrocket to record levels that a free economy simply cannot sustain.  If we choose the path to prosperity, government can remain limited – our budget cuts over $5.3 trillion in spending relative to the President’s budget, and it returns spending as a share of the economy to the historical norm of 20% by 2015.

If we stay on the current path, deficits spiral out of control.  If we choose the path to prosperity, our budget keeps borrowing in check and puts us on the path to balance. We cut more than $3.3 trillion from deficits relative to the President’s path.

If we stay on the current path, a path accelerated by the President’s budget, we are heading toward a debt-fueled economic crisis.  If we choose the path to prosperity, we can lift this crushing burden of debt. Our budget puts the nation’s finances on a path to balance and pay off the debt.

My colleagues on the House Budget Committee were instrumental in laying out this path to prosperity. At its core, this plan of action is about putting an end to empty promises from a bankrupt government and restoring the fundamental American promise: ensuring our children have more opportunity and inherit a stronger America than our parents gave us.

It is time for all of us to get to work – elected leaders and the American people – to put an end to empty promises, and choose prosperity.