Paul Ryan Lauds Republicans as Party of 'Opportunity' at CPAC

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), a big promoter of balancing the federal government's budget, told audience members at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C. that the Republican Party is the party of "opportunity."

Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, joked that two major events occurred this week: "we got white smoke from the Vatican and a budget from the Senate."

Although the Senate calls their budget a "balanced approach," Ryan criticized them for proposing a plan that doesn't balance the budget and adds trillions of dollars in spending.

The former vice presidential candidate believes Americans would be better served if the Senate never proposed a budget. Instead, he believes in the House plan, which members of the Budget Committee worked on for more than nine hours on Wednesday, during budget mark-up.

Ryan told Friday's CPAC audience that the House budget is better, and will "end cronyism, pay off the debt, won't add taxes, and will balance the budget in ten years." He added the federal government must stop spending money that it doesn't have.

He highlighted the reason for having a balanced budget isn't for the wonks who enjoy crunching numbers, it serves a higher purpose, which is to "improve people's lives."

"We are making the case for families," said Ryan, who emphasized, "there's nothing more urgent that creating jobs," in an economy with 7.7 percent unemployment and 46 million people living in poverty.

"President Obama sees this as a recovery, I see this as critical care," said Ryan, who put forth his own plan, "The Path to Prosperity," which includes solutions to balance the budget and avoid future fiscal crises.

Ryan described the national debt as weighing the country down like an anchor, and said any plan that ignores this crisis, be it from the Senate or the White House, is a "moral failure."

He noted entitlement spending as a problem that must be fixed, because it's a looming problem that members of Congress and the president cannot continue to ignore.

Ryan sees a balanced budget as an "opportunity to reform government," and believes it will bring the government back to its intended purpose of responsibly serving its citizens, opposed to increasing mounting debts to the point it cannot do much of anything to benefit citizens.

To this point, Ryan suggested Congress focus in on communities and job growth at the local level. "People don't find happiness through government fiat," Ryan said, "they find it in family, community, church and self-fulfillment," expressing that work doesn't just give people a paycheck, it gives them a sense of "purpose and pride."

He continued, "Government must secure individual rights and protect diversity," as he referenced the point that government chaos and its inability to function stems from a bloated budget, fiscal crises, and leaders ignoring the need to balance budgets.

During Tuesday's White House briefing, Press Secretary Jay Carney blasted Ryan's plan to balance the budget; to which, members of the press corps, asked Carney why Obama refers to the Senate's budget and the White House budget, which is well behind schedule, as "balanced" and a "balanced approach," if neither budget plan will actually balance the budget.

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