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Ryan, Issa Lay Out Priorities for Committees

Republican Reps. Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Darrell Issa (Calif.) shared their plans for the 112th Congress on Sunday as they anticipate stepping into the chairman’s role on two House committees.

Ryan, the ranking member of the Budget Committee, discussed budget cuts, the Federal Reserve and the health care overhaul, while Issa named some of the subjects he would like the Oversight and Government Reform Committee to investigate if he is elevated from ranking member to chairman. The two appeared on “Fox News Sunday.”

Ryan said a GOP proposal to cut non-defense discretionary spending by $100 billion in the first year is “actually quite modest considering the pickle we are in.”

“We have had spending on a gusher,” he said. “And if borrowing and spending and taxing and spending actually created jobs and produced prosperity, we wouldn’t have all this joblessness. We wouldn’t have this lame economy we have right now.”
Issa insisted that Congress must start pushing back against competitive grants sought by the administration to save money. “That’s where we give a slush fund, just like the stimulus, to the president. And then they come up with who they like and where they like them and they issue the money,” he said, adding that Congress needs to start knowing the identities of grant recipients in advance.

The Federal Reserve’s announcement last week that it will buy $600 billion more in government bonds is “a big mistake,” Ryan said, adding, “I think the upsides are very low.

“Look, we have Congress doing tax and spend, borrow and spend. Now we have the Federal Reserve doing print and spend,” he said, arguing that the country’s “loose” monetary policy and low interest rates are going to create inflation and interest rate problems.

“What the Fed is basically doing is they’re trying to bail out the fact that our fiscal policy is so bad,” Ryan said. “The Fed should focus on keeping our money sound and honest, not on doing this, which I think is going to give us a big inflation problem down the road.”

He called the health care overhaul “a fiscal and economic train wreck for our country and for the health care system itself,” saying Republicans will do “everything we can to try and repeal and replace this thing.” He outlined three tactics the House GOP will use: committee oversight to “shed light to all the problems they’re going to be bringing in with this,” attempts to defund portions of the law over expected presidential vetoes and court challenges.

“You can’t fully repeal and replace this law until you have a new president and a better Senate,” Ryan said. “And that’s probably in 2013, but that’s before the law fully kicks in in 2014.”

Issa has pledged to step up his panel’s use of subpoenas. “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace presented a list of controversies to Issa, asking whether he would pursue investigations.

Issa said he would help “get the facts” on allegations that the New Black Panthers intimidated voters, but he added that the matter falls under the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee.

Issa said he would also expand an investigation into the White House’s efforts to persuade Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak to abandon his Senate race — which was ultimately unsuccessful.

“People in the Bush administration — W. Bush — said they did the same thing,” he said. “That means that we have an endemic problem, an epidemic, if you will, of administrations thinking it’s OK to save their party money by clearing a primary with a government job. I think we have to bring that to an end, and I’m going to look for ways to expose it and then bring it to an end for this president and every president to come afterwards.”

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