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Paul Ryan on UpFront with Mike Gousha (Part 2)

Rep. Ryan says he is settling back into his job in Congress and his family life in Janesville after running for vice president in 2012

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March 03, 2013 | comments
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Mike Gousha: Welcome back to UpFront and our interview with Congressman Paul Ryan, House Budget Committee Chairman. You said you’re working on a budget, a budget that would eliminate our deficit in ten years?

Congressman Paul Ryan: A lot of people say ‘Gosh, it takes you ten years.’ You should see how bad our fiscal situation is. And it will pay off the debt. We’re still running our long-term numbers and we’re doing a budget that balances the budget and shows you, just like a mortgage payment, how we’re going to pay off this debt. We believe we have an obligation to the next generation to give them a debt free nation. We have an obligation to our seniors to save the programs they rely on, like Medicare. We also have to make sure we get this deficit under control because if we have a debt crisis like Europe, we’ll have a real bad recession. We’ll hurt people on the safety net, we’ll take benefits away from current seniors and we’ll kill our economy. We want economic growth. Balancing the budget helps get you economic growth and job creation so that is what we’re pursuing because we know that it is necessary to get us the healthy economy we need.

Mike Gousha: And you said you will have that document and those numbers in about two weeks?

Congressman Paul Ryan: The schedule we have mapped out for Congress is I will bring it through the Budget Committee on, I think, March 12th. And the week after is when we’ll bring it to the floor.

Mike Gousha: Democrats are saying there’s no way you’re going to be able to do this without deep, deep cuts and pain for an awful lot of Americans.

Congressman Paul Ryan: Actually, federal spending will still increase each and every year under our budget. It just won’t increase nearly as fast as say the President or Senate Democrats want them to increase. We’re simply talking about slowing the growth of spending. Now in Washington, that’s considered savage cuts - we’re saying let’s get government to live within its means by slowing the growth of spending. Revenues are growing. A big tax increase just occurred as you and I just spoke about, so revenues are growing in this country. We actually have higher revenues coming in the door this year than we’ve ever had ever before. So that’s not the problem. It’s spending that’s on a tear, that’s going too fast, and that’s what we have to get under control.

Mike Gousha: A couple of quick political questions. I haven’t seen you in a while on this program, so I haven’t talked to you about this but give me a sense of how you’re settling back in to your life as Budget Committee Chairman. Running for vice president in this country is a heady experience, how did you handle the defeat and how do you feel about it now?

Congressman Paul Ryan: Well, the defeat wasn’t fun. What was most distressing about it was I worked quite closely with Mike Leavitt, who was our transition person, on getting our first 200 days planned. The budget balancing we were going to do, the charm offensive we were going to do with Senate Democrats to get Medicare under control and to save it, to fix the budget problems and get the economy growing. We had great plans and now to see where the President is taking the country and the difference in leadership. This isn’t one of those elections where we just went this way or that way, we went THIS way or THAT way so that was a little distressing to see. But having a front row seat at that shows me the big difference in trajectory of the country and that’s disconcerting. At the same time, getting back to work has been regenerating. Getting back to the Budget Committee, because we still have a problem that needs to be solved, has been regenerating.

My family is doing great. My kids are back at St. John Vianney at school. Our family life in Janesville is normal. I’m taking the kids to Cascade Mountain tomorrow. We have basically a normal life again but what I worry about is the direction of the country, the economy and especially this fiscal crisis. I find myself back with a great experience, where I learned a lot, where I saw a lot of people who cared deeply about this country and I’m trying to get back to work on fixing this problem.  

Mike Gousha: What would cause you not to run for President in 2016?

Congressman Paul Ryan: I haven’t given that the kind of serious thought you need to to even get to that question. The reason is I have a job to do now; I represent the First District of Wisconsin. We need to buy time with the bond markets and we need to help prevent a debt crisis - that’s my job. I just want to focus on that and then I’ll think about that other stuff later on.  

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