House Budget Chairman Ryan on SOTU & Debt Reduction

“We basically got this: the president can't run on his record. It's a miserable record...So, he has no choice but to divide,” was Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) critique of the president’s State of the Union address this past week.

Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, argued that while the president paints himself as a defender of the middle class, his policies actually harm it.

“The irony of this is the president's policies do the exact opposite… the president is going to use this divisive rhetoric and the outcome of these policies is to consolidate power in Washington where you have crony capitalism, which his rhetoric tries to decry.” Ryan said.

One of the specific proposals the president mentioned in his address, and has been pressing Congress to pass for several months now, is a tax increase on millionaires, the so-called Buffett rule.

Ryan said implementing the president’s proposed tax increases “only cover 8 percent of his proposed spending increases. The other 92 percent of the president's spending increases are borrowed money.”

Moreover, Ryan argued that raising taxes hits small businesses. “Eight out of 10 businesses in America file their taxes as individuals,” he said.

“Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace pointed out how little attention the president paid to the growing deficit in his address to Congress and asked the Budget chairman whether he thinks anything serious will get done in Washington on that issue this year.

Ryan said it appears that debt reduction will not be on the table, adding that the president “has outsourced the leadership only to decry the results.”

Turning to this year’s budget for the coming fiscal year, Ryan said the House GOP will build on what they passed last year, adding that they will not be backing off the reform elements of that plan, including entitlement reform.

Ryan said that while the Democrats think his entitlement reform plan makes for a dangerous issue for Republicans during the coming election, he sees an “emerging bipartisan consensus” on Medicare reform.