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Speeches and Floor Statements

On Benghazi and IRS scandal, Ryan demands accountability

Fox News Sunday

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May 20, 2013 | comments

WASHINGTON—Yesterday morning, in an exclusive interview with Fox News Sunday, Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan called on the Obama administration to be honest with the American people. He discussed the discriminatory practices at the Internal Revenue Service and the attacks in Benghazi. On Friday, at a House Ways and Means hearing, Ryan pressed acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller for answers on the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. And yesterday, he pledged that investigations will continue. 

Video of Congressman Ryan’s interview on Fox News Sunday is accessible here. Excerpts of the interview follow.

Ryan says the Ways and Means Committee will continue to demand answers from the IRS:

“What we do now know is that for roughly two years, the IRS was targeting Americans based upon their political beliefs. What we do now know is that the IRS misled Congress. You have to understand the Ways and Means Committee opened this investigation about two years ago, asked repeatedly these questions of the IRS, and they withheld this information from Congress. So that’s what we now know.

“So we’re going to continue this investigation and get to the bottom of this. Who knew? When did they know? Why did they do this? How high up in government did this go?  Look, people have no trust that their government is being impartial. This is arrogance of power—an abuse of power to the nth degree—and we’re going to get to the bottom of this.”

In light of recent scandals, Ryan questions expansion of IRS authority under Obamacare:

“What we also know from just this one hearing is that groups with the words ‘progressive’ or ‘organizing’—groups with a liberal persuasion—did not have this targeting. They went through. They were approved. So we know that they specifically targeted people based on their political beliefs, based on people who had suspicions on the size and direction of government, based on ‘Tea Party’ and ‘9/12’ and the word ‘patriots.’ So we know for sure they targeted people based on their political beliefs. . . .

“As bad as this is…. the IRS is going to be granted huge amounts unprecedented power over our health care in the implementation of Obamacare. And so this is just rotten to the core. This is arrogance. This is big-government cronyism. This is not what hard-working taxpayers deserve. People deserve a government that they can trust, that is honest, that is impartial—equality before the law. And that is not what we are getting here.”

Ryan says the American people deserve the truth about Benghazi:

“What we now know from congressional testimony is that the number-two man in Benghazi, the deputy chief of mission, informed his superiors, including the secretary of state, that this was a terrorist attack. Those of us who have had the briefings and have seen the videos know there was no protest involved. And to suggest afterwards that this was the result of a spontaneous protest—we know is now not the case. . . .

“The point here, Chris, is this is not a partisan endeavor. This is about what is the truth and why was the truth intentionally distorted? And we want to make sure that something like this never happens again. People deserve honest government. People deserve to be told the truth by their government. And that’s not the kind of the thing that we’re getting here whether it’s the HHS, whether it’s the IRS, or whether it’s the State Department.”

Ryan says accountability is critical to check the overreach of big government:

“The country is seeing what this kind of big, unlimited government does in practice. And that is not a pretty picture. And this why we need to do our jobs to bring accountability back to the federal government—to bring trust back to the federal government. Unfortunately, I think we’re going to go through a painful exercise in this country where we learn that these abuses are occurring and our rights as citizens are being infringed upon.”

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