ABC confronts Paul Ryan for praising sequester before using it to slam Obama
ABC News host Jonathan Karl on Sunday suggested that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) was guilty of hypocrisy because he slammed President Barack Obama for the automatic spending cuts in the so-called sequester — even though congressman had personally praised it in the past.
“Don’t forget it was the president who proposed the sequester, it’s the president who designed the sequester,” Ryan told Karl, adding that he had concluded that Congress was not going to be able to avoid the automatic cuts because Democrats refused to accept Republicans’ proposal for “smarter cuts in other area of government.”
“Congressman, I’ve heard you say this, and this has been a talking point for Republicans for a long time,” Karl interrupted. “But let’s look at your own words, what you said right after the law putting this in place was passed in August of 2011. These are your words. You said, ‘What conservatives like me have been fighting for for years are statutory caps on spending, literally legal caps in law that says government agencies cannot spend over a set amount of money and if they breach that amount across the board sequester comes in to cut that spending. You can’t turn it out without a supermajority. We got that into law.’”
“Now, it sounds to me there like if you weren’t taking credit for the idea of the sequester, you were certainly suggesting it was a good idea,” Karl pointed out.
“So those are the budget caps on discretionary spending. Those occurred. We want those,” Ryan insisted. “The sequester that we’re talking about now is backing up the super committee. Remember the Super Committee — in addition to those caps — was supposed to come up with 1.2 trillion in savings. The Republicans on the Super Committee offered even higher revenues in exchange for spending cuts as part of that. It was rejected by the president and the Democrats. So no resolution occurred and therefore the sequester is occurring.”
“The Senate Democrats on Friday did come out with a plan to replace these cuts,” Karl noted. “It’s half spending cuts and half tax revenue increases.”
“The president got his tax increases last year,” the former vice presidential nominee asserted. “What is the goal that we are trying to achieve here? We want economic growth, we want job creation, we want people to go back to work, we want to prevent a debt crisis from hurting those that are most vulnerable in society from giving us a European-like economy. In order to do that, you’ve got to get the debt and deficit under control, you’ve got to grow the economy. So if you take tax loopholes [away] to fuel more spending — which is what they are proposing here — then you are preventing tax reform, which we think is necessary to end crony capitalism.”
“And you’re saying, no tax increases — period — to pay for this?” Karl wondered.
“That’s right,” Ryan agreed.
Watch this video from ABC’s This Week via Think Progress, broadcast Feb. 17, 2013.