Republican budget rematch with president?

Rep. Paul Ryan prepping for new plan


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 9, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: Remember this political ad? It became famous, right? Liberals had my next guest essentially throwing granny off a cliff, though they didn’t say it was my next guest.

Today, that guest is ready to throw President Obama’s budget off a cliff with the help this time of a Democrat.

Joining me now, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, Congressman Paul Ryan.



CAVUTO: Very good, sir. Thanks for coming.

RYAN: You bet.

CAVUTO: We don’t know the full details of the president’s budget. We do know it will be offering a better than $1 trillion deficit and we do know he’ll be calling for tax hikes on the rich, some familiar themes.

But we do know that it’s just not going to address a lot of the inherent problems.

RYAN: Right.

CAVUTO: So what does yours do?

RYAN: Well, we’re going to wait and see on Monday exactly what he’s proposing. That’s when we get it. But, unfortunately, based on early press reports, it’s what you said. He’s just going to duck the tough decisions. He’s not going to offer a solution to our fiscal problems to our coming debt crisis. And he’ll probably have sprinkled throughout this budget some of kinds of themes he threw out in the fall in the State of the Union address for his campaign.

So, unfortunately, this is a fourth budget now, a fourth year of doing nothing to actually fix this country’s fiscal problems. And that’s -- quite honestly, I think it’s irresponsible. We’re going to budget. We’re going to show a budget this year, like we did last year, an actual solution to our country’s fiscal problems.

We’re going to propose tax reform. We’re going to propose entitlement reform. We’re going to show how we can get the country out of debt and back onto a path of prosperity. And that draws a very sharp contrast with this president, who, even with all his tax increases, doesn’t even come close to covering all the deficit spending he is proposing, which just leads us deeper and deeper into debt.

CAVUTO: All right, so what are you planning in terms of cutting that spending, then, Congressman, if you wanted to look at it this year, in the next fiscal year, over 10 years? What?

RYAN: So, I’ll come back on your show at the end of March, when we actually have our budget written, and walk you through all of that.

We literally have not written our budget yet, because the way this process works is, we wait for the president’s budget.

CAVUTO: Understood.

RYAN: Then the Congressional Budget Office scores that, measures it. And then we use that as our baseline to then write our budget. So we haven’t literally written our budget yet.

But I can tell you we take this responsibility seriously. We take the law that says we have to budget by April 15 seriously. And we think the country’s in a very precarious moment, with a debt crisis on our, that we owe the country real solutions. And we’re going to do that.

And that’s quite a juxtaposition against a Senate that, in 2010, didn’t budget, in 2011 didn’t budget. And now Senator Reid just last week told us they’re not going to do a budget again this year. And we have a president that continues to duck from responsibly addressing this situation.

So, we’re going to be the adults. And we’re going to put out a budget to fix this problem. And, yeah, I’m sure they’re going to run those same kinds of ads against us. They’re going to run all of those scare tactics, but we think the country is smarter than that. We think basic -- Americans can do the basic math. And we think we owe them solutions to these problems. And that’s what we intend on doing.

CAVUTO: But I know you’re addressing the CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Committee, and others, who argue that at least conservatives within your party, Congressman, are saying why aren’t we doing more? Why aren’t Republicans doing more? Why aren’t we walking the walk?

You did last year, and many in your own party, no offense to them, left you high and dry.

So, I know...


CAVUTO: ... Democrat right now. And I’m looking at this, and I remember what you went through on the whole Medicare thing. And you might be brave soul, but there aren’t a lot of brave folks behind you.

RYAN: Look, if you want to be good at these jobs, you’ve got to be willing to lose them. At least that’s how I see it.

We have serious challenges, Neil.


CAVUTO: Well, that implies that a lot of colleagues are not.

RYAN: Well, I think we’re going to get there.

Look, I think we’ve we put out some bold ideas last year. I think the differences got muddled with all these various negotiations at the end of the year last year. But we’re going to go back to recasting a very sharp contrast.

And what we’re showing here is that there is a bipartisan consensus emerging on Medicare reform, on tax reform, on some of these budget reform ideas. The only problem is the Democrats in charge, Senator Reid in the Senate, the president, they’re not part of this compromise, they’re not part of this consensus. They’re on the outside over to the left looking in.

But we are showing that we can plant the seeds of a bipartisan compromise, that if we get the right leadership in place, we can realize it and solve this country’s problems, get our economy really growing like it ought to, and preempt a debt crisis by fixing these entitlement programs and preventing them from going into bankruptcy.

CAVUTO: When you say get the right leader -- you talk about getting the right leadership in place and many of your colleagues hope to take the Senate as well.

But there is frustration, certainly mentioning CPAC in this frustration with Mitt Romney. I touched on it with him earlier in the show, Chairman. And he’s aware of it. He’s trying to address it.

But what do you make of the race thus far, that, you know, a lot of them go kicking and screaming to Romney, but it’s divided? It’s not heartfelt.

RYAN: Well, look, I think these things happen in primaries.

You have got a few, three or four competitive people in the primary. And they’re hitting each other. Some of those hits take hold. But the dust is going to settle. We’re going to have a nominee. And that nominee, based upon what each of these candidates are saying, is completely in sync with us about drawing sharp contrasts with the president, showing bold alternatives, and giving the country a clear choice of two futures.

That’s really what we think we owe the country.

CAVUTO: But you are not worried that, the longer it drags on, Congressman, the more damaged that eventual nominee is?

RYAN: It’s February, Neil. These things usually take till March or April at the least.

Remember the Obama-Clinton, that primary...

CAVUTO: Very true.

RYAN: ... went well into April. So I am really not that worried about it. It’s February. We didn’t even have Super Tuesday yet.

So, there is plenty of time. I think we should settle down, understand that these things get competitive and that when that dust settles, our job has got to be to give the country the choice they deserve in making, the president’s path of debt, doubt and decline, or our path of reclaiming the American idea and getting that opportunity society with a safety net. That’s who we are. That’s what we can get. We will show the way. And then we’ll let the country choose what they want America to be in the 21st century.

CAVUTO: Do you regret passing up the chance to run yourself?

RYAN: No. No, I don’t.

CAVUTO: Are you sure?

RYAN: I’m sure.

CAVUTO: OK. I was just checking.

RYAN: Thanks.

CAVUTO: Congressman, always a pleasure. Thank you very, very much, Paul Ryan, the man who runs the Budget Committee and really put his neck out, if you think about it, last year at this time. All right.

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