Interview with Rep. Paul Ryan

Interview with Rep. Paul Ryan

By Your World w/Neil Cavuto - June 10, 2010

NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR: New reports House Democrats are now looking at that unused stimulus cash to fund a multibillion-dollar teacher bailout. The strategy was reportedly discussed at a big powwow late last night.

Fast reaction now from Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. He's the ranking member of the House Budget Committee.

Congressman, good to have you back. How you doing?

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS.: Hey, Neil.


RYAN: Fine. How you doing, Neil?

CAVUTO: OK. Kind of weird, I guess, we're redoing the rules. We have redone them on TARP. We have redone them on a variety of things. I guess it shouldn't shock me we're redoing them on this. What is really going on?

RYAN: Well, we went from bailing out big companies to now bailing out big governments. It's sort of a national progression for this Congress.

If you take a look at stimulus, the goal was not incentives for small business and private sector job creation. The goal here is very clear: public sector job creation.

What you basically have here are taxpayers from frugal states are basically bailing out taxpayers from profligate states. And that's - this is just the latest iteration of that idea.

CAVUTO: Well, where and when would this come to pass? In other words, what would it be attached to? How would it be voted on and, more to the point, when would it be voted on??

RYAN: That's completely up to Speaker Pelosi.

Dave Obey, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, is the architect of this idea, this particular one. He wanted to put it on the stimulus, or the - the last - the third stimulus bill two weeks ago without paying for it. It was this new spending - $23 billion, I think.

Now they're trying to find a way of paying for it by rescinding some of the unspent stimulus funds that were supposed to occur in 2011. So they might just bring a single bill to the floor next week. They might - they have a whole host of options. It's really up to Speaker Pelosi, how she wants to do this.

CAVUTO: You know, Congressman, it reminds me of the closing minutes of an all-night buffet, right? And -


CAVUTO: This is something of which I'm very familiar. And you rush up and try to fill the plate with whatever you can before they close the doors -

RYAN: That's right.

CAVUTO: - or, worse, try to take the food away.

And is - it - there does seem to be more of this than usual going on in the waning days of - of this particular Congress - not the waning days. We're - we're getting to that, with the summer and the heated congressional races.

RYAN: Neil -

CAVUTO: So, what - what is really happening?

RYAN: You name the issue, Neil, and this is happening in every issue category.

Not only is Congress not doing a budget this year. What they will simply do is deem themselves a certain number - probably $1.3 trillion, $1.4 trillion - to put together a new spending package for government agencies. They will write that and pass it in a lame-duck session of Congress.

So, they're trying to sweep so much legislation through the door because they fear that they're going to lose their power come the November election. So, they're trying to get all of this stuff up and running, pump up these elevated levels of government spending, so that, if we have a funding impasse with the president in the next session, if, say, Congress gets tighter or they lose control, then they will just go back to a continuing resolution at present levels. So, they're setting those present levels right now.

CAVUTO: Yes, yes, but - but, Congressman, lame-duck or not, if they vote on it, and - and - and it's whisked to the president, it's a done deal, right?

RYAN: That's right.

And, so, what I'm trying to tell you is, they're trying to inflate government spending levels as high as they can in as many areas as they can, so they can ride those inflated levels in the next session of Congress, if they can't set the levels then.

CAVUTO: Do you know or have you talked to -

RYAN: That's what is happening here.

CAVUTO: I understand - a number of your colleagues, or the Democratic colleagues, more to the point, that they sense, we might lose our majority, but, at the very least, we're going to be looking at a much tighter balance of power here -

RYAN: Right. Right.

CAVUTO: - so we might as well get the goods when the goods are getting - you know what I mean?

RYAN: Mm-hmm. Yes. That's exactly what is happening. I can't really add to that story. That's pretty much what it is.

CAVUTO: All right, it's weird stuff.

Congressman, always a pleasure seeing you. Thank you very, very much.

RYAN: All right, Neil, you, too.


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