OTR Interviews

Behind the Roadblock to the 'Path to Prosperity'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 10, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, "ON THE RECORD" GUEST HOST: All right, so what is the hold-up on Capitol Hill when it comes to this, Congressman Ryan's proposal for fiscal 2012, passed in the House, hung up, though, in the Senate. Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised that there will be a vote on the "Path to Prosperity" that Paul Ryan proposed.

Congressman Paul Ryan and Senator Jeff Sessions join us. Thank you so much for being here, both of you. Good to have you here tonight.

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS, R-ALA.: Thank you.

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS.: Thanks for having us.

MACCALLUM: You know, let me go to you, Senator Sessions, first. Where does this stand? When are we going to get some action from the Democratic side of the Senate?

SESSIONS: Well, the Republican House has produced a historic, courageous budget that will put us on a debt path that is sustainable for America, and Paul Ryan, the architect of it, deserves great credit and has received universal praise, really, except from some of the more liberal partisan big spenders.

So the Democratic Senate has failed to act. I think it's because they cannot bring forth a budget that the members support that the American people will support, and they understand that. They know that. And they've got a big problem. And it's been sort of rope-a-dope for quite a long time. We're at least six weeks behind where we should be.

MACCALLUM: Well, Senator, you know, what do you hear from Kent Conrad? He has been, you know, proactive on this issue. He was part of the debt commission -- commission, I should say. You know, where -- are they embarrassed to any extent about the fact that they have not brought forth any legislation that -- you know, I don't have to tell the two of you this is the primary job of Congress, bring forth a budget.

SESSIONS: It is. And the congressional law requires that they bring the budget up, and it's supposed to be passed by April 15th. The House did their bit, but the Democratic Senate has not. I do think Congressman -- Senator Conrad is embarrassed. I do think the Democrats are worried. They're just not able to get their act together. The president's now invited people over to the White House.

He dispatched Vice President Biden to try to work on it. They had a debt commission that he founded and established...

MACCALLUM: Yes.

SESSIONS: ... and then ignored its results. It's been a -- it's been unsatisfactory, and it's unworthy of the challenge this country has right now with a debt that's out of control and threatens the financial future of our nation.

MACCALLUM: You know, it's interesting, Congressman Ryan, there's obviously and justifiably so been so much focus, you know, for the past 10 days on Usama bin Laden and on this issue. It's gotten a lot of attention. And the president went to Texas today to talk about immigration. But this issue is not going away.

RYAN: No.

MACCALLUM: And it's going to be the most compelling story of this election season. Where does your budget go? Are there, you know, new versions of your budget that you think are passable?

RYAN: Well, no, our budget passed, so we...

MACCALLUM: I mean in both houses.

RYAN: So we passed our budget by April 15th deadline. We're waiting to see if the Senate's going to do something. As you know, a piece of legislation got to pass the House and you got to pass the Senate, trying to iron out the differences. We're waiting for the Senate to do something. The president has not submitted a budget that fixes this problem. He's abdicated leadership on this. He created one commission, disavowed that commission, gave us a budget that didn't fix the problem, and now he's created this next Biden commission.

MACCALLUM: Right.

RYAN: He keeps delegating decisions to other people...

MACCALLUM: How's that going?

RYAN: Well, it's not really seems to be doing anything right now. And so we're waiting to see if the Senate's going to do anything. You have to remember, Martha, the Senate and the House in the last session of Congress did not pass a budget. That's one of the reasons why we had this government shutdown specter in the first place. And so we're waiting to see if the Senate's going to do anything. If they Senate doesn't do anything, then the process just stops right there. And that means we do not offer the leadership that this country needs to get spending under control.

Look, our budget cuts spending, grows the economy and literally puts our debt on a path to be completely paid off. And that's what we think we owe the next generation, and we owe it to this economy to get it growing again.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Well, you know what? It's great to talk to both of you. It's -- you know, on the larger picture, it is an embarrassment to be at this situation and to be facing the possibility of a shutdown once again. Paul Ryan, Jeff Sessions, Senator and Congressman, thank you so much. Good to have you both with us tonight.

RYAN: Our pleasure.

SESSIONS: Thank you.