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Weekly remarks: GOP's Ryan warns of crushing debt; Obama says new budget deal is 'good news'

April 9, 2011 |  3:00 am

Capitol Hill as Budget Deal is announced 4-8-11

Weekly remarks by Rep. Paul Ryan, as provided by the Republican Party leadership

Hello. I’m Congressman Paul Ryan from Janesville, Wisconsin – and Chairman here at the House Budget Committee. It’s no secret our government has a spending problem –- and the problem has gotten so bad it’s threatening our future and hurting our nation’s ability to create jobs. 

Republicans made a pledge that we would work to change this if given the opportunity to lead. Since January, we’ve been urging President Obama to listen to the people and work with us to reduce spending. The president started this year by proposing a freeze that would make no cuts at all.

But now bipartisan legislation is in sight to enact the largest spending cut in American history.

This is good news for job creators in America –- but much more has to be done to put....

... our nation on a true path to prosperity.  Earlier this week, the House Budget Committee advanced a new budget for the United States government that will move the debate in Washington from billions in spending cuts to trillions.

We did so because it is unconscionable to leave the next generation with a crushing burden of debt and a nation in decline. Washington’s obsession with the next election has come at the expense of the next generation.

We are calling this budget The Path to Prosperity, because it is more than just a budget.

It is a commitment to honor the American legacy of leaving the next generation a more prosperous nation than the one we inherited.

By removing the anchor of debt that weighs down our economy and advancing pro-growth tax reforms, this budget is a jobs budget. It sends signals to investors, entrepreneurs, and job creators that a brighter future is still possible – a future in which America is still an engine of growth that leads the world.

Right now, that legacy is in grave danger. This nation is going deeper and deeper into debt -– and the spending choices we make today will determine the kind of lives our children enjoy tomorrow.

The facts are these: Washington has not been telling you the truth about the magnitude of the problems we are facing.

Unless we act soon, government spending on health and retirement programs will crowd out spending on everything else, including national security. It will literally take every cent of every federal tax dollar just to pay for these programs.

The non-partisan experts have been clear about what this means:

Each day that Congress fails to act, the government takes one step closer to breaking its promises to current retirees.

Each year that policymakers kick this can down the road means trillions of dollars in empty promises are being made to future generations.

If we stay on the current path, we are heading toward a debt-fueled economic crisis –- meaning massive tax increases, sudden cuts to vital programs, runaway inflation, or all three.

Make no mistake: The prospect of a crisis is casting a shadow on economic activity in this country. Uncertainty is keeping job creators from hiring as fast as they should be. Businesses know that all this borrowing and spending today means higher taxes and lower incomes for their customers down the road.Wisconsin Republican Representative Paul Ryan chairman of the Budget Committee

Economists agree: Advancing a credible solution to this crisis will begin to restore confidence and create better conditions for job-creation immediately.

The President’s recent budget proposal is worse than just a commitment to this status quo. It would actually accelerate this country’s descent into a debt crisis. It would double the debt held by the public by the end of his term, and triple it in a decade from now.

It would raise taxes by $1.5 trillion, even though the problem is that Washington spends too much, not that Americans are taxed too little.

It would permanently enlarge the size of government by sending government spending as a share of the economy skyrocketing to levels that a healthy economy simply cannot sustain. And it offers no real reforms to save government health and retirement programs, and no leadership.

Our budget is very different: Instead of locking in the spending spree of the last two years, our budget cuts $6.2 trillion in spending from the President’s budget over the next ten years.

This keeps government spending as a share of the economy consistent with the historical average of 20 percent, so that individuals and the economy can be free.

Instead of letting deficits spiral out of control, our budget keeps borrowing in check and puts us on the path to balance.

Instead of adding $13 trillion to the debt over the next decade and trillions more in the years to come, this Path to Prosperity lifts this crushing burden of debt that is threatening our economy and our children’s future.

It is not too late to fix America’s problems. It is not too late to get our country back on track so our kids can also realize the American Dream. 

We can – and we must – preserve this nation’s exceptional promise, because that is exactly what previous generations of Americans worked so hard to do for us.

It is time for officials in Washington to stop acting like politicians, and to start acting like leaders. We have a legacy to fulfill. It is time for all of us to get to work, put an end to the empty promises and advance a plan to prosperity.     ####

Obama talks about Budget talks 4-7-11

Weekly remarks by President Obama, as provided by the White House

Last night, after weeks of long and difficult negotiations over our national budget, leaders of both parties came together to avert a government shutdown, cut spending and invest in our future.  

This is good news for the American people. It means that small businesses can get the loans they need, our families can get the mortgages they applied for, folks can visit our national parks and museums, and hundreds of thousands of Americans will get their paychecks on time -– including our brave men and women in uniform. 

This is an agreement to invest in our country’s future while making the largest annual spending cut in our history. Like any compromise, this required everyone to give ground on issues that were important to them. I certainly did. 

Some of the cuts we agreed to will be painful –- programs people rely on will be cut back; needed infrastructure projects will be delayed. And I would not have made these cuts in better circumstances. 

But we also prevented this important debate from being overtaken by politics and unrelated disagreements on social issues. And beginning to live within our means is the only way to protect the investments that will help America compete for new jobs –- investments in our kids’ education and student loans; in clean energy and life-saving medical research. 

Reducing spending while still investing in the future is just common sense. That’s what families do in tough times. They sacrifice where they can, even if it’s hard, to afford what’s really important. 

A few months ago, I was able to sign a tax cut for American families because both parties worked through their differences and found common ground. Now, the same cooperation has made it possible for us to move forward with the biggest annual spending cut in history. 

And it’s my sincere hope that we can continue to come together as we face the many difficult challenges that lie ahead -– from creating jobs and growing our economy to educating our children and reducing our long-term deficits. 

That’s our responsibility. That’s what the American people expect us to do. And it’s what the American people deserve. ####

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Photos: Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images; Alex Wong / Getty Images.

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