RYAN: No, I've seen those studies.
VAN SUSTEREN: But I mean...
RYAN: Staffers and people from the IRS and other government employees.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is -- I mean, what -- that's sort of a side issue, but I mean, you know, what effort is being made? I mean, I know there's some bills have been introduced, but -- to do something about the tremendous amount of waste in government, whether it's empty buildings, people getting payments who shouldn't, people getting unemployment who are in jail. I mean, the numbers are sort of staggering. There's so much fat in our government!
RYAN: Each of those things you just you said right there -- empty buildings -- we have a process in this budget that says, Let's dispose of all this excess property. Let's sell some of the federal excess lands and buildings that we don't need. That saves money.
What about -- we call it program integrity. We've got to invest in going after the waste and the fraud and abuse that is occurring in these government agencies. Those are components of our budget, well.
The point we're trying to get it is we're not trying to take a meat axe, some kind of a formula, like the sequester that says across the board. No, we're saying let's use a scalpel to go after the wasteful Washington spending to make sure we reform these programs that are going bankrupt so they fulfill their promises.
And let's have a leaner federal government that respects states' rights. Every community is different. We shouldn't cram one size fits all programs on all our different communities and say that that's how we're going to fight poverty and other problems we have in America. We want to respect the Constitution, respect federalism, limit the size of the federal government so that we can keep economic freedom going and pay off our debt.
The debt is crushing our economy. It's slowing us down and it's guaranteeing the next generation has a diminished future. And we believe we have a moral obligation to balance the budget to get a healthier economy and create jobs.
VAN SUSTEREN: What I don't understand is that -- I mean, I know your mother's -- you talked about Medicare with your mother during the campaign, and I think it was Senator Stabenow today who said that the Ryan budget eliminates Medicare. I mean, good people are saying, like, you know -- you know -- how do we know who to believe? You know, and Senator Stabenow is a good, decent, hard-working U.S. senator. I mean, why is she saying it eliminates Medicare? Is that -- have you not spoken to her and explained your system, or does she think that way...
RYAN: You know, I don't know. I would say why don't you talk to your fellow Democrat, Ron Wyden, who's been supporting these reforms for a long time. Why don't you talk to Alice Rivlin, the head of the Clinton administration Budget Office, who worked with me on crafting these reforms.
I think they think they can get political advantage by scaring seniors into supporting their program. You know, the dirty little secret about this, Greta, "Obama care" changes Medicare as we know it. "Obama care" is the law that puts a board of 15 bureaucrats in charge of cutting Medicare that leads to denied access to current seniors.
What we say -- get rid of this board, make sure that all the savings from Medicare goes to Medicare solvency, not to pay for another program by raiding it. And oh, by the way, people who are on Medicare, they organize their lives around this program. And before a debt crisis, the moment we're in right now, we can put reforms in that guarantee the program doesn't change for those who are in and near retirement, but we must reform it for our generation and the younger people so that we can keep that promise.
If we keep kicking the can down the road, if we keep borrowing and spending like we are, we will have a debt crisis, and then everybody gets cut in real time. That's what's happening in Europe.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so the Senate has a budget now. The House has a budget. The president doesn't have his budget. But now the whole idea is that the two budgets will have to be somehow reconciled.
VAN SUSTEREN: If -- if you have different sides of the aisle saying things about each other, whether they're exaggerated, not true, political advantage, or -- you know, they're mistaken, or whatever, how in the world do we ever get the two sides in conference to work and really take your budget, the Senate's budget and figure out a solution?
RYAN: That's the question of the hour. Look, we had to threaten withholding members' pay for not budgeting to get the Senate to do a budget this year. Whatever it took, I'm glad we've got the Senate actually doing a budget. We're worlds apart. And I think what people are, they're stuck in the old campaign rhetoric. They're stuck in the old, This horrible plan ends Medicare as we know it, to try and scare seniors because that's what they're been saying for four years, even though it's the only bipartisan idea to actually save and strengthen Medicare. Now, we don't like "ObamaCare." So we talk about, you know, how we don't like that.
VAN SUSTEREN: You talk about getting rid of it.
RYAN: Right. So here's what I see. I see a process going like the law requires. The House passes a budget, the Senate is passing a budget. First time we've seen that in four years. That's a good thing.
So the question now is, can we start looking for common ground? Can we start advancing toward a compromise? And the way we look at this as House Republicans, we understand that our budget probably won't become law in every great detail, but hopefully, we can get a down payment on this problem.
VAN SUSTEREN: So are you...
RYAN: Hope we get a down payment on the deficit and the debt to try and buy the country time and prevent a debt crisis.
VAN SUSTEREN: So there's some compromise built into your budget.
RYAN: Yes. We cut $4.6 trillion. So somewhere between zero and $4.6 trillion in savings, I'd like to think there's a compromise. What makes this a little different is the Democrats actually increase spending. They net increase spending at a time when we have record deficits. And they want another trillion-dollar tax increase on top of the $1.6 trillion tax increase that has now already occurred in law.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the biggest...
RYAN: And so that's why we have a big difference of opinion.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the biggest trick in the book of negotiating is, I mean, if you were the -- under your theory, is the Democrats would say, you know, they want a gazillion tax increase and you say you want a gazillion cut in spending. You know, the father out you put your numbers, the more likely it is that you look like you give when you go to the table.
RYAN: Well, we'll find out. But look, people are tired of paying more taxes. We shouldn't be paying more taxes just to fuel more spending this Washington. We should be cutting our spending because you know what? For every $2 we bring in, we spend $3. You can't keep doing that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there a role for the president in this process?
RYAN: Well, normally, you would think that the commander-in-chief would lead by example by putting a plan on the table to say, Here's how I fix America's economic and fiscal problems. He hasn't done that. He hasn't done that yet.
More to the point, his budget was due the first Monday in February and he still has yet to deliver it. I think cynical observation would be he's playing politics. He's waiting for Republicans to go so he can beat them up, and then he'll do something later.
Whatever his motivations for delaying his budget are, I hope that he begins to engage. I think the charm offensive is helpful. The question is, is it real and will it last? If it is real and if it does last, then I think we've got a chance of getting a down payment on the problem fixed.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me ask you the final one dopey media question we always ask. What are your plans for 2016?
RYAN: My plans are to work on this problem right here.
VAN SUSTEREN: I know, I know, I know.
RYAN: No, seriously...
VAN SUSTEREN: But have you thought at all about the presidential race? Is it in the cards?
RYAN: It is in the cards from -- I'm going to take a look at this seriously later. But the way I look at this is, I should not be clouding my judgment in doing my job right now. I'm the head of the Budget Committee. I represent Wisconsin's 1st district, and I should not be putting into my mind, you know, some kind of political consideration three-and-a-half years down from now because I think that will cloud my judgment.
What I need to do is look at the moment we have right now. We're on the cusp of a debt crisis. We have a fiscal problem. We have an economic problem. I need to focus on that and I need to make sure that I make the right decisions for the right reasons on dealing with this issue.