Bloomberg News

No ‘Back-Room’ Deficit-Reduction Deals Under Romney, Ryan Says

September 09, 2012

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said a Mitt Romney administration would insist on a public debate over deficit reduction and would never “cut some back-room deal” to overhaul the tax code and reduce spending.

Ryan, in an interview that aired today on ABC’s “This Week,” wouldn’t say which deductions and exemptions for high- income earners he and Republican presidential candidate Romney would seek to eliminate to generate new revenue.

“We want to have this debate with Congress, and we want to do this with the consent of the elected representatives of the people and figure out what loopholes should stay or go and who should or should not get them,” Ryan said. “What we don’t want is a secret plan. What we don’t want to do is cut some back-room deal.”

In an interview that aired today on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Ryan cited the most recent jobs report as evidence of why voters shouldn’t elect President Barack Obama to a second term on Nov. 6.

The Labor Department reported Sept. 7 that the economy added 96,000 jobs in August, down from a revised gain of 141,000 in July. While the unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July, it was because more people have given up looking for employment.

“This isn’t working,” Ryan said. “And that’s why we’re offering the country a better choice.”

Cutting Medicaid

On ABC, Ryan defended his proposal to cut Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor, by about $800 billion over the next decade.

“We don’t want to put more money and force more people on a program that’s failing, that’s not working,” he said. “We want to reform Medicaid. And so what we’re saying is -- don’t expand this program as dramatically as ObamaCare does. Keep it like it is, increase its funding and send it to the states, the states can fix this problem. I think government closest to the people, especially in providing health care for the poor, works the best.”

Ryan said his plan would give states “more flexibility on how to serve this population instead of all these rules and strings from Washington that make it really hard for them to make sure that they can meet the mandate and provide the best possible quality care to low-income populations.”

Foreign Policy

The Wisconsin congressman criticized Obama for saying in his speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte last week that Romney didn’t have adequate foreign policy experience. Obama said Romney’s gaffe during a July trip to London, in which he suggested London might not be prepared to host the Olympic games, suggested Romney “might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing.”

“Those kinds of comments are things that are said when you don’t really have a good record to run on,” Ryan said.

Ryan said on CBS that he would have more foreign policy experience coming into the vice president’s job than Obama had when he was first elected president.

“I’ve been in Congress for 14 years,” Ryan said. “He was in the Senate for far, far less time than that.”

While Ryan said he and Romney agreed with a 2014 time frame for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, they thought political calculations had wrongly come into play in determining troop strengths.

“Where we’ve taken issue is making sure that the generals on the ground get the resources they need throughout the entire fighting season so that they can keep our soldiers safe and operating counterinsurgency strategy,” Ryan said on ABC. “And I fear that this is not what’s happening. I fear that there have been more political decisions made in troop strengths.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Kathleen Hunter in Washington at khunter9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at jschneider50@bloomberg.net


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