• With: Rep. Paul Ryan

    This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 27, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, the Speaker [House Speaker John Boehner] needs 217 votes or his bill is, frankly, buried. And do we need to remind you we hit the debt limit in just six days. One congressman who is, in the speaker's words, getting his, quote, "ass in line" is Florida congressman Allen West. Now, he tweeted, "Boehner plan is not a perfect bill. However, the fact Pelosi, Reid and Obama hate it doggone makes it perfect enough. Where is their plan?"

    But even if the Boehner plan passes the House, the word is that it is absolutely dead on arrival when it gets to the Senate. No one thinks it'll pass in the Senate, and if there's any doubt, check this out. The Senate majority Democrats just a short time ago sending the speaker of the House a letter saying they will vote against his plan if it does pass the House and shows up at the Senate.

    House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan joins us. Good evening, sir.

    REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Hey. Good to be with you again.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Well, doesn't look like the Boehner bill is -- it may go far in the House, but that's about all.

    RYAN: I think that's a lot of talk right now, and I think what they're trying to do is make these sort of threats to try and reduce the chance of Democrats voting for it in the House itself.

    Look where we started. President Obama asked for just a blanket increase in the debt limit, no spending cuts, nothing. We said no. We said, You got to at least cut more than a dollar's worth of spending for every dollar you raise the debt limit.

    Then he asked for big tax increases. We got rid of the tax increases, no naked (ph) debt limit increase. And now we got a bill that does what we said it should do, cuts more than what we raise the debt limit by. Is it perfect, like John said? No, it's not. But it's a good step on spending cuts. Is it as much as we proposed in our budget and passed? No. We cut $6.2 trillion out of our budget.

    This doesn't do that, but it gets us down the right path. It's a bank. It's -- it's cuts we can bank right now and a step in the right direction. And so I think it's a good step in the right direction (INAUDIBLE) pass.

    VAN SUSTEREN: All right, it has to get 217 votes. You've got a rather rowdy freshman crowd who ran on the promise of a balanced budget amendment, and the balanced budget amendment is not in the Boehner bill. How do you get them to -- how do you get enough of them to get to your 217 mark and have them go home and face their voters where they promised balanced budget amendment?

    RYAN: So we are going to have a vote on the balance budget amendment.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Separate from the Boehner bill.

    RYAN: Separate from the Boehner bill. And that was always the case. It was going to be separate from the bill. The second (INAUDIBLE) "cut, cap and balance" had the BBA separate from the bill.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Balanced budget amendment is BBA.

    RYAN: That's right. Excuse me. And then this also requires that the Senate have a vote on the balanced budget amendment. We've never had the assurances that we could even get a vote on the balanced budget amendment in the Senate.

    What I never really agreed with was the idea that we would expect Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to deliver 40 to 15 votes from Democrats for our version of the balanced budget amendment. You know, I just never thought that was realistic, to demand Democrats vote against their conscience for our version of the balanced budget amendment. So I just never thought that would work.

    I think this is a far more workable plan, cut spending, cap spending, and then have a vote on the balanced budget amendment and let's see where people stand on this issue in Congress.

    VAN SUSTEREN: How realistic are the cuts that you talk about? I mean, the -- you know, oftentimes, we hear these bills -- I remember about six months ago in March, there has this -- all this hoopla about how much is being cut, and then when the dust settled, it really looked like chump change.

    RYAN: Yes, so we had the CBO give us the most recent estimate on this today. We're cutting $917 billion in spending. That brings the deficit down by $917 billion. The deficit goes down $22 billion next year. Is this as much as I want? No. We offered far more than that, but it does cap spending. It caps what we call...

    VAN SUSTEREN: For how long?

    RYAN: For 10 years.


    RYAN: So it's discretionary spending, which is all government agencies, we put legal statutory caps on it with an across-the-board cut to kick in if spending goes above that amount. And we have a super-majority vote threshold to prevent that cup from happening, meaning we protect these caps with a super-majority protection to make sure these caps stay in place.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Meaning that...

    RYAN: Do I want them lower? Yes.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Meaning the next Congress...

    RYAN: Exactly. So...

    VAN SUSTEREN: ... doesn't come along...

    RYAN: ... so future Congresses, it takes a super-majority to violate these caps that we are now setting in law. The last time we had legally binding caps in the 1990s, they stuck for a good while and we actually got spending cuts

    VAN SUSTEREN: For a good while, the operative words.

    RYAN: Well, they did another budget agreement which replaced it with pay-go, which...

    VAN SUSTEREN: But see, I think that's why a lot of people -- a lot of Americans want a balanced budget amendment because they hear, Well, it sticks for a while.

    RYAN: I think that's right.

    VAN SUSTEREN: And I think that's what's so distressing to those who are supporting it is that it -- that the whole idea of spending caps -- you know, I guess Washington doesn't have a huge track record with Americans...

    RYAN: Yes.

    VAN SUSTEREN: ... a lot of -- a lot of these decisions.

    RYAN: I want to make sure the balanced budget amendment has spending caps in it, though, too, because you can balance the budget with a really big government with really high taxes, or if you put spending caps in place, you can balance the budget with a smaller government, with more economic freedom. So to me, the kind of balanced budget amendment that we pass matters a great deal because that will determine the kind and size of government we have.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Who gets cut?