Fox News
July 19, 2011

Rep. Ryan: 'Gang of Six' Debt Plan Doesn't Add Up

Guests: Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," July 19, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And this is a Fox News alert. Now moments ago, the House of Representatives passed the GOP's "Cut, Cap and Balance" bill, a plan that would solve the pending deficit crisis.

Now, the keystone of the legislation is a constitutional amendment that would require a balanced budget. Unfortunately, the vote was largely symbolic as Democrats have made it clear that it has little chance of passing in the Senate.

And the president earlier today in the spirit of compromise and bipartisanship that he has brought to all of these negotiations said that he would veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

But tonight, another debt deal is on the table, thanks to a so-called bipartisan group of senators known as the "Gang of Six." GOP Senator Lamar Alexander is now backing their plan bringing their number to seven, and that plan slashes supposedly the deficit by $3.7 trillion over the next 10 years. Albeit, there is no details. And another catch, it also contains $1.2 trillion with what the Democrats like to call revenue measures -- you know, tax hikes. And here's what "The Anointed One," the president, had to say about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The good news is that today, a group of senators, the "Gang of Six," Democrats and Republicans -- I guess now gang of seven, because one additional Republican senator added on -- put forward a proposal is that is broadly consistent with the approach that I've urged.

For Republican senators to acknowledge that revenues will have to be part of a balanced package that makes sure that nobody is disproportionately hurt from us making progress on the debt and deficits, I think is a very significant step.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: And joining me for an exclusive interview is one of the men at the center of the debate negotiations and debt negotiations, House Budget Chair GOP Congressman Paul Ryan. Congressman, good to see you.

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WISC., BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Hey, good to see you, Sean. How are you doing?

HANNITY: All right. Well, first of all, let me congratulate you. Because not only are you dealing -- this is what, $111 billion you are going to cut for the 2012 budget. But you are dealing structurally with the bill. Why don't you tell us what you passed tonight?

RYAN: Well, we cut $111 billion in the first year, as you say. We also cap spending as a present of the economy and we bring spending down to cut $6 trillion over a 10 year period. And then we move into passing a balanced budget amendment with taxpayer limitation and spending limitations.

The problem we have is spending. You have to cap spending. And we capped total government spending as a share of the economy so we don't let the government grow on its trajectory. Right now, government is at its spending levels since we haven't seen since World War II. We bring it back down to where it historically has been and keep it there and prevent the government from doubling in size which is now scheduled to do by the time my three kids are my age. We cut right away. We cap the spending, that saves us $6 trillion. And then we move to actually having a balanced budget amendment and a balance budget requirement.

HANNITY: And the Obama budget, which by the way didn't even get a single Democratic vote.

RYAN: Right.

HANNITY: If that is passed, we get to 100 percent of GDP, right, within 10 years?

RYAN: That's right. Over 10 years according to the Congressional Budget Office. The president's budget doubles the debt in five years that triples the debt in about ten years.

HANNITY: Unbelievable. All right. I'm a little bit angry tonight. Because while the country should be focused on what I think is the most responsible plan out there, Republicans are negotiating against themselves. Republicans now -- we got three separate plans. We got stopgap measure of Senator McConnell, which I do not support. Although, he supported, in fairness to him, "Cut, Cap and Balance." He co-sponsored it. Then we got all of a sudden, the president got to break in on your day where this historic vote is taking place and announce out of nowhere, we got a "Gang of Six," maybe seven. And I'm thinking, why would the Republicans give him this opportunity today? This is now a third bill that you are negotiating with yourselves on.

RYAN: That's right. A backroom bill, a bill that has number as that don't add up. I won't get in all the budget nomenclature. But it is very difficult to add up all the claims that are being made with this bill, based upon what they've put out. So, I don't know if it is real spending cuts. We don't know how they make their revenues add up the way they claim. And more to the point, the reason they are doing all of this because the Senate hasn't passed a budget for over 810 days.

So, the reason -- I understand why senators are frustrated. They haven't budgeted for two years. We passed our budget. This deal that we passed today, "Cut and Cap," reflects our budget. So, we've now twice passed a specific piece of legislation to get spending under control, to pay off debt to avert a debt crisis to deal with this responsibly. And the Senate hasn't done anything for two years. And so, I guess that's why the six people are frustrated. But the plan they put out there, it is difficult to see how old our numbers add up quite honestly.

HANNITY: You see, the one bill that the president does want is this responsible bill. And, you know, to give him this pr opportunity today really angered me and -- because I think this is what's good for the country. Obviously, Washington, with all due respect to your fellow colleagues there, they don't have the ability to control themselves in terms of getting to a balanced budget. So, 49 states have a balanced budget, either law, or constitutional requirement that they balance the budget. Washington does not.

So, here's the question -- you wrote this first bill where you are going to save $6.2 trillion, you came under enormous fire for this. They couldn't even write this bill by August 2nd, isn't that true?

RYAN: That's right. You couldn't get the Congressional Budget Office to score this bill by August 2nd, let alone drafting the bill. So, what they are talking about is a framework which would be we would agree to a framework and then the details will be filled in later, as best I can understand what this is.

I'll tell you what this does do, though. There are people putting plans on the table, that's good. I'm glad people are putting plans on the table. There's one person who is pretty important to all of this that hasn't put a plan on the table yet, that's President Obama. For all this talk, we've gotten speeches, we've gotten press conferences. We have yet to see any proposal from the president to fix this problem. The Senate, the Senate majority leader has put no plan on the table, the Senate hasn't passed a plan, he got six senators throwing their idea of a plan on the table, that's constructive. You know, let's just say, at least they are putting something on the table. The president hasn't once put a proposal on the table to fix our fiscal problems. He talks about these ideas but no actions.

HANNITY: How about they don't work against what the House is doing. And let me be even more blunt now. I don't have any faith in the Senate. I really don't. First of all, conservatives don't control the Senate.

RYAN: That's right.

HANNITY: So, really the hope is in the House. And so the question is, do you think that House Republicans will hold the line? Now that you've passed a bill that will save Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, support the military, pay down the debt and make structural reforms, because the country is going bankrupt and we don't want it to become Greece. Do you think that the Republicans in the House will go for this late minute phony deals, spending cuts later, that seems to being bantered about in the Senate?

RYAN: Look, what I get from -- what I've heard from this "Gang of Six" in the clip you just played of the president is higher taxes, more revenues. That's not we are about, we're not talking, we've already rejected that over and over and over again with the president in these talks. We are about cutting spending. And that's what we are holding out for are spending cuts.

So, the problem is, if you raise revenues, number one, you hurt the economy and job creation. Number two, that means you are not cutting spending. And that's the problem, cutting spending. So, you know, I can't tell you what the Senate is going to do. There's an old saying around here in the House, the Democrats are our adversaries, the enemy is the Senate. That's the old saying that's said about here a lot these days and I think that that's sometimes true.

HANNITY: So, let me ask you this question. Let's assume that either one of these stupid deals, you know, compromise in the Senate. Then we are at an impasse. You guys passed a responsible bill. They passed the backroom -- smoke filled backroom deal. And now all of a sudden, August 2nd is coming. And the pressure is building and the pressure is mounting. I would argue this is why people were hired in 2010. Will the Republicans in the House hold the line when the going gets tough, which is about to happen?

RYAN: Right. So, I can't imagine that we would rubber stamp just a debt ceiling increase without spending cuts. That's what we are holding out for are real spending cuts. Can I tell you what those are going to look like? What the size of those cuts are? How it is going to take place? No, I don't. It is a very fluid situation. Our position has been really clear all along. We got to cut spending.

Now, what we're founding out is, we are not being able to cut spending, the kind of cuts we were talking about. The $6 trillion we've passed because we have a Senate that doesn't want to do it and we have a president hasn't even put a plan out there. So, we are going to try to get the kind of spending cuts we've been talking about. We're going to hold out for cuts. And that's what we're doing.

So, what this looks like at the end of the day, I don't know. But I'll tell you, we are holding out for spending cuts.

HANNITY: All right. I can tell you that it is not only good for the country, there's going to be a lot of anger from people who voted for you guys in 2010. Because you know, what? I don't want America becoming Greece and we are on the path to Greece. So, we need these real structural fundamental changes. Congressman, good to see you.

RYAN: Couldn't agree more. You bet, Sean, take care.

HANNITY: All right. I appreciate it.

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