Paul Ryan: 'We're in the 50th anniversary in the war on poverty, and we are not winning it'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 24, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Right now, only right here, ON THE RECORD, House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan unveils his new plan.


VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Chairman, nice to see you.


VAN SUSTEREN: You have a plan to start a debate about poverty. What is it?

RYAN: First of all, I think hard working taxpayers deserve a government that responds to them that works for them, and they are not getting it. What we're taking a look at is, we spent $800 billion a year on 92 different programs for the federal government to fight poverty, yet we have the highest poverty rate in a generation. People are slipping through the cracks. So what we want to do is change this conversation. Let's talk about reform that actually works. And instead of measuring success by how many new programs are created in Washington or how much money we've spent on programs, why don't we measure it by results, by outcomes?

How many people are we actually getting out of poverty? And what we have learned is, from researching all of this throughout the last couple of years, is that the federal government gets in the way in so many places. So we want to empower local communities, the people who are the boots on the ground who are actually fighting poverty, streamline government and focus on customizing aid to getting people actually out of poverty and focus on results.

We reformed welfare in 1996, and it was very successful: work requirements, time limits, local control, experimentation in our states. That was one program. There are 92 other programs that have not been reformed like that. What we're trying to do is take those lessons we learned successfully from welfare reform in 1996 and apply it to the other parts of the government's war on poverty, because we're in the 50th anniversary in the war on poverty and we are not winning it. What we are saying is take 11 different bureaucracies and government programs, consolidate it. That saves you a lot of administrative feeds, bureaucracy. And send it back to our communities. The accountability is we measure. We measure and publish results and you have transparency. You see where the dollars are going and where the results are.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who's going to be doing that though? That's what I wonder, who is doing that?

RYAN: We propose an independent third party does this. It could be - -


VAN SUSTEREN: That's the bureaucracy.

RYAN: It could be a private-sector firm. It's whatever the state decides to do. So you don't have the government measuring itself. You don't have the provider, be it a Catholic Charity or Lutheran Services or state agency or a for- profit group, like America Works, which has been very successful, don't have them measure themselves. An independent third party does the measuring so that we, as taxpayers, see how our dollars are being spent and we see result of these programs. We go where the results take us.

VAN SUSTEREN: I would be all in favor of the federal government doing all of this if it reflected success, totally. I mean, I'm just looking for success. That's not working. And it seems to me, I'm now sort of fixated on that we can't manage these things on such big levels.

RYAN: Look at our home state. You live in Appleton. You are from Appleton. I live in Janesville. We have Milwaukee and Madison in between. Those communities have different problems. Let alone the rest of the country. And we should have Washington dictate how these local communities solve these problems?

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, they don't -- each community is unique, for whatever reason. And so I guess I go back to the whole idea that the other side of the aisle does object to these block grants, and they are going to say to you that your proposal is just a new code word for block grants.

RYAN: Yeah. I'm used to getting partisan labels or getting partisan slings and arrows thrown in my direction. That doesn't bother me. That comes with the territory of breaking up the status quo with offering new ideas. That's fine. Let's get to a conversation of what's your better idea.

Everybody has a different situation in poverty. It's not just some monolithic problem where everybody is the same. People have different needs and different problems. So our solutions ought to customize that. We ought to have aid that is customized to a unique person's problem so they don't have to go to all these various different welfare agencies and get these programs that actually disincentivize them to go to work, that make it pay to stay on welfare, not go to work. So we need to fix that, customize it, and always focus on getting people from where they are to where they want to go, and that is to get a good career, not just a job but a career. I would argue our poverty fighting programs don't do that. In many ways, they trap people in poverty.

VAN SUSTEREN: This was unveiled today. Have you gone over this with Speaker Boehner?

RYAN: I have not.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's the appetite, do you think?

RYAN: Actually, this morning, we talked about it just very briefly. He knew I was putting this out and he wished me luck.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's the appetite for having this done? I realize it's a beginning of a discussion. It's also referred to as a pilot program. But, what's the likelihood?

RYAN: I think we will pass it by Tuesday.

VAN SUSTEREN: Yeah, right!


RYAN: No, the whole purpose of this -- and I have learned this from legislating and reforming government for a long time -- you have got to start with ideas, you have got to begin the discussion so that you can get to consensus to actually effect change. And so that's what we are doing here is we are starting the conversation. We are adding some innovative ideas to the debate on how best to fight poverty more effectively so that we can have this conversation and get consensus and actually effect change. That takes time. It takes time to do these things. That's why we want to get started now.

VAN SUSTEREN: Your party has been branded as being anti-poor.

RYAN: I think that's people who basically want to stick with the status quo and have a partisan game who say things like that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Tough politics in this country. I mean, it's gotten -- it's gotten -- it's tough for so many Americans --


RYAN: Sure it is. If we accept the status quo as un-reformable, give up then. I mean, if you want to serve people in Congress, and you think that you can't solve a problem that's a problem in our communities, you shouldn't be in Congress. So the way I look at this is I look at the condition of the poor and I see opportunity. I see potential. I see people who could be fantastic contributors who need assistance from getting to where they are to where they want to be. And we, in the federal government, are not doing our job to making sure that that occurs. And what I think the federal government in many places does is it displaces local solutions. It crowds out what we call civil society, local groups making a difference. We want to empower that. We want the public and private sector working together to help pull people out of poverty. And I would argue that Washington frustrates that. It should facilitate that.

VAN SUSTEREN: This is where every journalist asks you the question of whether or not you are going to run for president. So I ask the question I always ask. Packers, how are they going to do this year?

RYAN: We're going to do well. I think we had a great draft. We had a great pick. You projected that pick. I think we are going to have a very good team. We filled the holes we had. As long as we are healthy, I think we are going all the way.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so I'm not going to ask the president question. I'll leave that for another day.

Nice to see you, sir. Thank you.

RYAN: You, too.