Speeches and Floor Statements
CNBC: Ryan on Obamacare’s rocky rollout and the budget-conference committee
Earlier this week at the Jack Kemp Foundation Dinner in Washington, D.C., Wisconsin’s First District Congressman Paul Ryan spoke with CNBC’s Larry Kudlow about Obamacare’s rocky rollout and Wednesday’s meeting of the budget-conference committee. Video of the interview, which aired last night on CNBC, is accessible below. Excerpts of the interview follow.
The problem with Obamacare
“House Republicans passed and sent to the Senate defunding the law, delaying the entire law, delaying the individual mandate. They voted those down, so they’ve already made that choice. They decided not to do that, so this law is coming into place. Why is it that we advanced those ideas? Because the collateral damage is the American people.
“The collateral damage are the people who are seeing huge premium increases. The collateral damage are the people who are losing their 40-hour work week, the people who are losing the job-based insurance they have, the health-care providers who are seeing IPAB and all this other stuff happen to Medicare, which is putting them out of business. That’s the collateral damage. But the point is, we already passed these in the House, and the Senate rejected them, so that’s over with.
“So now we’re here learning to live with the law, and those of us who are in the majority in the House, who had oversight hearing after oversight hearing, all year long. We had Kathleen Sebelius come to our committee at Ways and Means. We have the CMS director tomorrow. . . .
“The point is, they came and said: ‘Everything is fine. The law is going to be OK. We’re ready to roll it out. There won’t be any problems.’ They came to Congress and said, ‘No problem here,’ when we knew better—because we saw the same analysis that NBC News is now reporting. Yet they said, ‘We’re good to go. This is going to be fine. Everything is ready.’ And look what is happening. It’s more than a website. It’s because this law itself is born from an architecture, a foundation, that is just not workable.”
The chance for a budget agreement
“If we spend our time focusing on our differences, we won’t get anything done. And if we talk about some big, grand bargain—which to me means fundamental pro-growth tax reform, good energy policy, balancing the budget, and getting our debt under control by reforming our entitlements that are going bankrupt—that to me is a grand bargain. I don’t think we’ll get a grand bargain. And we’re not talking about getting a grand bargain because then one party will require that the other compromises a core principle, and we won’t get anything done.
“Dealing with the entitlement programs that are the big drivers of our debt, that are hurting growth today—if we did something to deal with that, having smarter entitlement reforms to replace the sort of crude, across-the-board sequester, it would do a couple things: It would show the credit markets and the bond markets, it would show the world that America is getting ahead of its problems. We’re beginning to see a bipartisan consensus on getting tax rates down by broadening the base, [ending] the crony capitalism, and getting more competitive so the American economy can grow. Those things we think are encouraging, so we want to have an agreement that helps foster those things: common ground on spending cuts and entitlement reforms in place of what I call the crude, across-the-board cut. And then focus on pro-growth policies.”
The need for pro-growth tax reform
“We’re interested in reforming our tax code—not as a measure of raising tax revenues. We think you can get better revenues through more economic growth, through faster economic growth. That’s the kind of thing that we’re in favor of, but we also want to get at the drivers of our debt. So the Keynesians want up-front stimulus, which is not what we’re going to do because it didn’t work the last time, and we believe in pro-growth economics, not this Keynesian, sugar-high economics. Point one. Point two, the reason I liked the Budget Control Act is it did have spending caps. Now with the sequester, we’re going to even lower spending caps. The question is, in the interim, in this moment that we are in, can we actually get some smarter and better deficit reduction that actually helps us get the debt under control to help us grow the economy so we can launch another pro-growth agenda?”
Jack Kemp’s legacy
“I’ve been really clear about this, if people see this as an exercise to have tax increases to replace the spending cuts we already have. Why would we do that? Why are we doing this?
“We’re doing this because we want to help improve people’s lives. And what does that mean? That means upward mobility. That means opportunity. That means economic growth. That means get out of the rut that we are in in this country. And if we can do that through this divided government, great. If we can’t do that in a divided government, then we in the minority party, the opposition party, owe it to the people of this country to show them how we would do that. What are our ideas? What are our ideas for fighting poverty, for prosperity, for economic growth, for reigniting the American idea as Jack Kemp so thoughtfully did. That is what we are all about.”