A week after presenting a 2014 budget resolution that later passed along party lines, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., continued to push his fiscal policies at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC.
Ryan used his CPAC speech to poke fun at Democrats for finally passing a budget after four years. A Senate panel on Thursday evening voted 12 to 10 to approved a budget that will be considered by the full Senate next week. Democrats are seeking to end the sequester that kicked in March 1 by reaping nearly $1 trillion in taxes and cutting a similar amount in spending.
“This has been a really big week: We got white smoke from the Vatican and a budget from the Senate,” Ryan told the conservative gathering of lawmakers, activists and thinkers. “But when you read it, you find out that the Vatican isn’t the only place blowing smoke this week.”
The Wisconsin congressman argued that his plan will balance the budget in 10 years without raising taxes. Instead, Ryan’s plan will cut spending by about $5 trillion over a decade.
A balanced budget, said Ryan, is necessary for economic growth and for creating jobs. He charged that Democrats never achieved balanced with their proposal.
“Nothing is more urgent than that,” he added. “The president said we are in a recovery. I say we are in critical care.”
Ryan said the nation’s $16 trillion debt is a “threat” that must be tackled “before it tackles us.” He calls it a “sign of overreach” and a “sign that the federal government is doing too much.”
But having been criticized for the proposed cuts and changes to cherished entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, Ryan said, “We don’t see the debt as an excuse to cut with abandon, to shirk our obligations. We see it as an opportunity to reform government, to make it leaner and more effective. ... That’s what conservatives stand for. That's who we are.”
Ryan added that, with the introduction of his budget plan, the conversation in America has shifted from fiscal cliffs, debt ceilings and sequester to solutions.
“And that’s how it should be,” he said. “Our budget expands opportunity by growing the economy. It strengthens the safety net by retooling government, and it restores fairness by ending cronyism. And by setting priorities and choosing wisely, we have a plan to pay off our debt. In fact, we balance the budget in 10 years without raising taxes. ... We stop spending money we don’t have. Go figure!”