Rep. Paul Ryan: ‘Default Is Not Our Option’

By Kate McCarthy

Apr 13, 2011 8:31am

Rep. Paul Ryan agreed with Sec. Tim Geithner that defaulting on our debt would be "catastrophic," but Ryan needs spending reform attached to that vote – something he says the president will address today.

“Default is not our option or strategy but we also want to make sure that…as this debt limit increases, which is based on past spending, we get something in place to address future spending and that’s the kind of stuff we’re talking about. Spending cuts, spending control,” he told me on “GMA.”

And if those cuts are not attached will he vote to raise the debt limit?

“I don’t accept a notion that that’s not possible. I think it is and the president is probably going to be talking about that today,” Ryan said.

Ryan did not spell out what it would take to avoid default.

The chairman of the House Budget Committee said he’s looking forward to hearing what the President has to say today – except for any talk about new taxes.

Stephanopoulos: As you said Congressman you are keeping tax revenues where they are. The president insists that you’re going to need new revenues if you’re going to really get a handle on this over the long term. And if you’re not willing to at least discuss new revenues, aren’t these negotiations dead before they’re even born?

Ryan: Well the president hasn’t even engaged in negotiations. So I’m glad he’s starting this conversation. Look we’ve been leading with plans, he gave us his campaign announcement last week, this week we’re bringing our budget, he’s giving a speech on this this week. So we’ll see what kind of engagement we’re going to get. But I will just simply say George, we don’t have a problem with our budget because Americans don’t pay enough taxes. We have a problem with our budget because we spend too much money and that’s the source of our problem, that’s where we should keep our eye on the ball.

Stephanopoulos: I understand that you’re not a fan of new taxes but as a matter of negotiation, as a matter of discussion don’t they have to be on the table in order to get these negotiations started?

Ryan: I want to hear what he has to say but I do believe that tax reform, which means you get rid of all these special interest loop holes and deductions that the higher income earners enjoy that some companies make a lot of money and pay no taxes others make a lot of money and pay a lot of taxes, we need to clean that up because we got to get economic growth. The key caveat here George is we want job creation. We want economic growth and spending cuts. Those are the two key combinations that you need to get this debt and deficit under control. If you don’t have a growing economy, you don’t have people going back to work, you cannot solve this fiscal problem so let’s hear what he has to say today.

Watch my interview here:

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