After Rep. Paul Ryan and Senator Jeff Sessions finished their press conference regarding the budget proposal from President Obama, he headed back to the Cannon Building for a conference call with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and bloggers. Fortunately, I was already on Capitol Hill and got the opportunity to sit in on the call. McMorris Rodgers told us that we are now facing a fiscal crisis, and that the new majority was committed to getting “our fiscal house in order.” Ryan said that this budget is “anything but” triangulation, and said we’d have been better off doing nothing.
The budget contains $8.7 T in new spending, according to Ryan, and $1.6T in tax hikes. It’s “worse than doing nothing,” and stated that low tax rates, reasonable regulations, and stable money are best policies for economic growth. Borrowing at reckless rates means higher taxes now, and we are already seeing new highway taxes. Obama claims $2 in cuts for $1 in new taxes but Ryan says it’s more like 8:1 other way. As for claims of a freeze on non-security discretionary spending, that comes after a 24% increases in domestic spending over last three years.
Ryan rebuked Obama for his “abdication of leadership.” “I thought he was advancing the conversation to an adult level,” Ryan said, and added that Obama’s proposal doesn’t even meet Obama’s definition of credible budgeting. We are left with a choice between two economic paths: economic freedom or perpetual stagnation.
- Were you surprised that Obama didn’t try to top the House GOP on cuts? Yes; the President proposed to spend $46T over next ten years, so the $400B is a drop in the bucket.
- Noel Sheppard: Are Republicans doing a good enough job of explaining the deficits? Deficits higher in constant dollars than during WWII — We need to do a better job of educating the people, and Obama’s actions makes it more difficult. Having the White House stating that we can conduct business as usual masks the crisis. Ryan is excited about the House freshmen, finally getting the “right culture” on Capitol Hill. McMorris Rodgers says those freshmen are here because they “get it,” and “they’re already making a difference.” “We’ve seen in Greece what happens when you continue down this path.”
- CNN Money: How did you get the 8:1 ratio of spending to cuts, and haven’t the GOP also punted on entitlement reform? – Ryan reminded the reporter that his road map did contain entitlement reform, and that the GOP has been discussing it conceptually. Ryan says he’s waiting for the budget to be written to talk about the baselines of the GOP proposals. On the 8:1 ratio, Ryan says the assumptions in Obama’s budget are that we will be at the current troop levels in Af-Pak for ten years, even though Obama has already committed to reducing it in the short term. The real numbers are $870 billion in new spending and $170 billion in cuts. Those are “phony savings from the war,” and they are “bogus.”
- Rob Neppell: Steve King says ObamaCare remains funded in the CR – can you clarify? Ryan and McMorris Rodgers say they are “all in favor” of the King amendments and that ObamaCare will be defunded as part of this process.
- Green Wire: What do you make of the nuclear power part of the proposal? Neither of them know quite what to make of the proposals in that area, but they are both committed to advancing nuclear power, especially in regulatory reform. McMorris Rodgers mentioned the RAIN act, which requires agencies to get Congressional approval for anything that creates an impact o
- Nansen Malin, AFP: What do we need to provide you to get leadership? Get involved in communicating to Facebook, blogs, and newspapers that we support budget cuts and appreciate leadership on “difficult decisions.” Ryan says “the other side will be coming out of the woodwork to paint us as inhumane.” They will demagogue entitlement reform and spending cuts, and if they win that, we will lose the war on spending. “If we duck from this issue,” Ryan warned, “you are guaranteeing European levels of austerity … and slower economic growth.”