Congressman Ryan Makes Case for Budget During GU Lecture
April 26, 2012 –Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chair of the House Budget Committee, addressed a Georgetown audience this morning as the speaker for Georgetown Public Policy Institute’s annual Whittington Lecture.
GPPI established the lecture to honor the memory of Leslie Whittington, a faculty member and associate dean who died in the 9/11 attacks.
Titled “America’s Enduring Promise,” Ryan’s talk included his budget plan, which passed in the House of Representatives on March 29.
Ryan said his plan would include restructuring retirement health programs and the tax code that would bolster the United States’ economy.
“Our idea is to force insurance companies to compete against each other in order to better serve seniors with more help for the poor and the sick and less help for the wealthy,” Ryan explains. “Our plan offers the best way to guarantee quality affordable health care for a generation of seniors to come.”
Prior to Ryan’s visit, 90 Georgetown faculty members and priests sent the congressman a letter criticizing him for “continuing misuse of Catholic teaching to defend a budget plan that decimates food programs for struggling families, radically weakens protections for the elderly and sick, and gives more tax breaks to the wealthiest few.”
Ryan acknowledged the letter in his talk and said “I do appreciate the dialogue.”
"As an academic community, Georgetown has a proud tradition of supporting open dialogue by our students and faculty,” said GPPI Dean Edward B. Montgomery. “The letter from the Georgetown University faculty to Congressman Ryan spurred the exact type of constructive discourse the Georgetown Public Policy Institute hoped to create with this event."
Ryan said that “charitable conversation” is necessary when discussing the serious financial issues the United States faces today.
“Of course there can be differences among faithful Catholics on this,” he said. “The work I do as a Catholic holding office conforms to the social doctrine as best as I can make of it.”
Control of Destiny
Ryan bemoaned the lack of bipartisanship and empty promises he said have come from both parties over the last four years for the nation’s inability to erase its federal debt.
“If we remain on this path, bond markets in a state of panic will turn on us, threatening to end the American ideal itself,” he said, adding that forced European-style austerity measures could follow. “We are in control of our own destiny.”
The congressman emphasized an overhaul of the tax code that would keep it “fair, simple and competitive,” and include closing special interest loopholes.
“When we lower tax rates by closing special interest loopholes, we’re saying we in Washington don’t need to micromanage people’s decisions through the tax code,” he said.
The result, Ryan said, would be more Americans having control over their money.
Montgomery said the lecture “gave GPPI and Georgetown students an opportunity to hear from a leading voice on budget policy, as Congressman Ryan is at the center of the efforts to resolve our budget crisis, one of the most pressing policy issues our country faces today.”