“A few years ago, reducing spending was important,” Ryan, R-Wis., said. “Today, it’s imperative.”
Ryan delivered his remarks from the House Budget Committee Hearing Room—the very room in which congressmen “will produce, debate, and advance a budget,” he said.
Ryan’s comments followed a 256-165 vote in the House to slash spending to 2008 levels, just hours before the President stood up to make his own proposals.
“Our nation is approaching a tipping point,” Ryan said. “We are at a moment where if government’s growth is left unchecked and unchallenged, America’s best century will be considered our past century.”
Obama agreed in his address that the U.S. needed to begin serious work aimed at deficit reduction, calling for a less severe five-year freeze in non-security, discretionary domestic spending.
Ryan did acknowledge the president and his party were not alone in the blame.
“There is no doubt the president came into office facing a severe fiscal and economic situation,” he said. “Unfortunately, instead of restoring the fundamentals of economic growth, he engaged in a stimulus spending spree that not only failed to deliver on its promise to create jobs, but also plunged us even deeper into debt.”
If Ryan, who is known for being the author of the controversial “Roadmap for America” budget plan, came off more understanding, the GOP’s second act was anything but patient with Obama’s explanation.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., chair of the House Tea Party Caucus, spoke after Ryan finished, blaming the president for much of the country’s current economic plight.
“For two years President Obama made promises just like the ones we heard him make tonight,” Bachmann said. “Yet still we have high unemployment, devalued housing prices and the cost of gasoline is skyrocketing.”
CNN carried her speech live.
Bachmann made clear Monday in a press conference that her response was not meant to compete with Ryan.
Her rhetoric succeeded in being more pointed than Ryan’s, but ultimately the two outlined similar critiques.
“We need to reclaim our American system of limited government, low taxes, reasonable regulations, and sound money, which has blessed us with unprecedented prosperity,” Ryan said. “And it has done more to help the poor than any other economic system ever designed. That’s the real secret to job creation—not borrowing and spending more money in Washington.”