Ryan: 'If This Conference Becomes an Argument About Taxes, We’re Not Going to Get Anywhere'

By Susan Jones | October 31, 2013 | 6:34 AM EDT

Rep. Paul Ryan, House Budget Committee Chairman (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - "We’re here because we want to get an agreement," Rep. Paul Ryan told a House-Senate conference committee on Wednesday, as the bipartisan panel began its work to produce a long-delayed budget. But Ryan also made it clear that raising tax rates is not the answer:

"[F]rom my perspective, taking more from hardworking families just isn’t the answer. I know my Republican colleagues feel the same way. So I want to say this from the get-go: If this conference becomes an argument about taxes, we’re not going to get anywhere."

Ryan said the way to raise revenue is by growing the economy and putting Americans back to work. And he indicated that ending some tax breaks would be okay with Republicans:

"We need to write a tax code that encourages economic growth -- not stifles it. And luckily, Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate are working together to do just that. Today, our tax code is full of carve-outs and kickbacks. We need to get rid of them, and those bipartisan talks are just the way to do it. So let’s do all we can to encourage that effort. And let’s focus our energy on the task at hand: a budget that cuts spending in a smarter way."

Ryan said the nation's debt threatens to become a crisis, as baby boomers retire, health care costs rise, and Medicare and Social Security go broke. Unless something is done to reduce the debt, the most vulnerable will suffer most.

"This debt weighs down our economy even today, Ryan said. "But right now, we’re not doing much about it. We can’t kick the can down the road anymore. We’ve got to get a handle on our debt -- now."

Also see:
At Budget Conference, Murray Eyes 'Responsible Spending Cuts' and 'Wasteful Tax Loopholes'