Rep. Ryan: New GOP Majority Ready to Change Culture of Congress

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This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," November 16, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Now the Republicans have been given a second chance by voters. Party leaders are beginning to take the steps necessary to fulfill the pledge to America. Now one way they plan to do that is stop out of control spending by banning the corrupt process of earmarking.

In just a short time ago, we got word that the Senate Republicans have adopted a voluntary ban on those controversial spending projects. Minority leader Mitch McConnell helped pave the way for this after making this statement on the Senate floor yesterday.


SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL , R-KY., SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Every day that is Senate has been in session for the past two years, I have come down to this very spot and said the Democrats were ignoring the wishes of the American people.

When it comes to earmarks, I won't be guilty of the same thing. That's why today I'm announcing that I will join the Republicans in the House in support of a moratorium on earmarks in the 112th Congress.


HANNITY: All right, in other words, the people have spoken and it looks like the Republican Party has heard you loud and clear. And now we await to see if the Democrats follow suit. Also facing the lame duck session is the question of whether or not to extent Bush tax cuts.

And my next guest is right in the middle of that debate as well. He is the incoming chair of the House Budget Committee. Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan is back with us.

Congressman, I don't even know what the final tally is. How many seats does now bring your number up to?

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WISC.: That's 84. We were at 83 until you just mentioned that. We were watching that race so that's 84 now for new Republicans coming in to Congress. Now that replaces some retirements, but that's 84 new people coming in to the Republican Conference.

HANNITY: Pick-up then of how much on Election Day?

RYAN: I think that's 64, 63. There are a couple of more out there. So we're about 62, I think that one is 62. A couple of more races we're watching that we think in a couple of days could break our way.

HANNITY: Did you count the New York first congressional district with Andy --

RYAN: Yes. That's why I think it's 62. I might be wrong on the math.

HANNITY: All right, look, I think this is a symbolic thing. John Boehner's getting rid of the plane. You're banning earmarks in the House, banning earmarks in the Senate, which is I think is a pretty big concession by Mitch McConnell. What does it mean?

RYAN: It's what you said. A message was delivered on November the 2nd and we're hearing this message. This means this is just the beginning, Sean, of the kinds of reforms this new Republican majority are going to bring to get this culture in Congress changed and get the country on the right track.

This was a repudiation election, the largest repudiation in 72 years. We do not intend to ignore the will of the people. What I would argue, Sean, is the last time Republicans had majority in Congress we screwed up. We don't want it to happen again. That's why we want to bring economic liberty, fiscal responsibility and transparency and accountability back to Congress. So this is one of several reforms we're going to be rolling out in the next days ahead.

HANNITY: We are in the lame duck session of Congress so that's means we have the same Congress that means Nancy Pelosi is still in charge.

All right, so if they come back and don't want to extend permanently the tax cuts for everybody, but only some people, what are the strategies you think the Republicans ought to be employing?

RYAN: Then we will do it retroactive to the first of the year after we take power in January. Now that's ugly and it's disruptive to the economy so I hope it doesn't come to that. That is exactly what we'll do. We do not want to see these taxes increase.


HANNITY: Do you really think they will do it in light of this election? Do you think they'd come back in a lame duck session and that they would do exactly what the American people don't want them to do?

RYAN: They are debating it right now. I'm meeting with the Treasury secretary and talk about this tomorrow. So I don't know if it's going to be permanent. They will not do permanent. They're pretty clear about that.

The question is, will they extend all tax relief for a period of time, two or three years? That is a question none of us really know the answer to. The Democrats have the control and power to do that. They know full well that it would be really bad and disruptive to the economy if you let it go past January the 1st. And see what they end up doing in the next few weeks. We'll know pretty soon. If they don't, then we're going to try to do it after January.

HANNITY: You don't expect that they would try to make the middle class tax cuts permanent, but not tax cuts or raising taxes for the wealthy?

RYAN: That could. And let's not say the wealthy, these are the job creators.

HANNITY: That's a good point, small business.

RYAN: Fifty percent of small businesses are going to get a big tax increase here. Even the president's own economic advisers acknowledge that it's a job-killer.

Even the Congressional Budget Committee is telling us this tax increase cost us 1.2 million jobs in the next year alone. So, you're right that could happen, but Democrats are still thinking this thing through and we might get an extension.

HANNITY: Any way the Democrats will say no and support you on the earmark moratorium. Any Democrats going to do that?

RYAN: It doesn't matter, we're not passing them in the House. So I hope they do, that's great. But we're not going to let earmarks through these bills. We're going to be in control of Congress. We're not going to let earmarks pass the floor of the Congress.

HANNITY: Last question, if as it relates to repealing health care, assuming that the Senate won't go along with it and president would veto it, what could you do to stop health care?

RYAN: We are going to still advance the repeal bill because we think it's important to define ourselves with our actions. But then we have to do oversight and go down defunding route. And then we got these states attorney generals going down that path as well.

HANNITY: Alright, Paul Ryan thanks for being with us. Appreciate your time.

RYAN: You bet, Sean.

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