RUSH: We have a special guest I want to welcome to the EIB Network: The ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan from Wisconsin, who really got the ball rolling today on the fraud that was the early release of CBO numbers. Clear estimates, wild guesses. Congressman, thanks for carving some time. I know you’re swamped today.
PAUL RYAN: Great. It’s good to be with you. First, longtime listener, first-time caller, Rush.
RUSH: Thank you. (laughing) That’s great. Tell us what’s going on with this. We know the CBO number is basically a fraud designed to persuade some wavering —
PAUL RYAN: That’s right.
RUSH: — Blue Dogs, but what’s the real state? It seems to me like they don’t have the votes; they’re getting further away. It seems like a fire drill gone amuck.
PAUL RYAN: Right. So they needed to pile on some more spending to try and assuage, you know, the liberals and progressives. So they basically put the screws on more Medicare cuts, more tax increases to accommodate the extra spending they had to add on this thing. They got a new 3.8 tax on interest, dividends, annuities, royalties, and rents for people. They increased taxes on the Medicare payroll tax and they did more penalties on businesses if they don’t offer the kind of health insurance Kathleen Sebelius tells them they have to offer. So more taxes, more Medicare cuts to pay for more spending to try and get these votes.
RUSH: Is there a reconciliation bill? Is there something you’ve seen, ’cause the CBO said they can’t score it because it’s an estimate.
PAUL RYAN: That’s right.
RUSH: Is there anything to vote on yet?
PAUL RYAN: No. We have not seen anything. But because they started leaking out their numbers that they manipulated, CBO was forced to release their estimates. So we’ve seen a CBO estimate, but we’ve not seen the bill that they’re estimating.
RUSH: Is there one?
PAUL RYAN: Well, they must have a draft of something for CBO to give these estimates. So we have not seen a bill but clearly they have a draft because the way it works is you send CBO drafts and they give you scores from it. So now we’ve seen the score of this draft and by looking at the CBO score, I’m able to tell you what the tax increases in the Medicare cuts are.
RUSH: Well, aren’t they double counting Medicare anyway?
PAUL RYAN: Oh, yeah.
RUSH: Rendering that $940 billion number irrelevant?
PAUL RYAN: Correct, it’s not. They double count CLASS act premiums, they double count Social Security taxes, they double count a half a trillion — actually $522 billion — in Medicare cuts to make this thing look as if it’s adding up.
RUSH: Now, explain to people how that happened. When I say ‘double counting,’ when they’re double counting $500 billion in Medicare cuts, what are they actually doing with it?
PAUL RYAN: So they’re cutting a half a trillion out of Medicare. That’s supposed to go to Medicare and make it solvent. But they’re using it instead as a piggy bank to pay for this new program. So they’re taking it from Medicare, but at the same time they’re claiming they’re extending Medicare’s solvency. So they’re counting those cuts twice, when in fact they’re using this money to create a new entitlement. Then they have all these tax increases, which the dollars for these tax increases are already spoken for for Social Security, for this new entitlement, for long-term care called the CLASS Act which are spoken for those programs. But they’re counting it to fund this new program. So they’re basically saying, ‘We’re going to spend in both places the same dollar,’ which the CBO is telling them, ‘You can’t do that.’
RUSH: Did I see…? There are so many people making estimates. Did I see you make statements saying that you think they’re ten votes short?
PAUL RYAN: That’s what we think. So it’s really so fluid. It’s basically they’re at least a handful, maybe two handfuls short. This is a fluid situation. We’ve moved two people from the ‘yes’ column to the ‘no’ column. Arcuri from New York, Lynch from Massachusetts, we believe are two people who went from ‘yes’ to ‘no,’ but as you know yesterday they put a couple from ‘no’ to ‘yes.’ So it’s a fluid situation. They’re clearly down. They don’t have the votes. The president wouldn’t be postponing his trip if he didn’t think that they were still shy.
PAUL RYAN: He’d be overseas now.
RUSH: If he wanted to leave Sunday he could still leave Sunday if they were going to vote. So does this mean there isn’t going to be a vote Sunday likely?
PAUL RYAN: I think there is going to be a vote likely. That’s what our Democratic colleagues are telling us. But they know they don’t have the votes and they think they can create sort of a pressure cooker situation to pressure their members to voting with the, quote, unquote, ‘team’ and bring this over the finish line.
RUSH: The president said last night in his interview with Bret Baier that this whole thing is going to get posted, that he’ll find out what’s in it when it gets posted and we’ll all be able to find out and it’s going to be posted for 72 hours. That’s I think you referred to these two votes that they gained yesterday, these two guys in Central Valley California, that they’re going to turn their water back on for them.
PAUL RYAN: That’s right.
RUSH: But you haven’t seen the piece of legislation that does that.
PAUL RYAN: No.
RUSH: It can’t possibly be posted for 72 hours if it’s going to be voted on Sunday.
PAUL RYAN: That’s exactly right. So something’s going to have to give. Either they’re going to violate their pledge of 72 hours or they’re going to vote later than Sunday and the president, you know, will postpone his trip more.
RUSH: Well, he’s already announced he’s going to postpone the trip, and that’s why a lot of people are thinking they’re not going to vote Sunday, or at least they don’t have the votes now to do it. Well, it does remain fluid and we’re fortune we were able to get through to you with all the phones being clogged there.
PAUL RYAN: (laughing) I tell you it’s amazing. And I just ran into a busload of seniors who came up here for one day from Florida to walk the halls and talk to members of Congress. People are engaged unlike anything I’ve ever, ever seen before. It’s truly remarkable and impressive. They gotta keep the pressure on. They know if they let their members go home for this Easter recess they’re done, and that means they gotta do it now and that’s why they’re trying to put this pressure cooker to try and get their members to do this. And they’re starting to lose people, and they don’t have the votes and they’re going to try and break arms and muscle this thing through. And the next handful of days will determine the outcome as to whether or not, you know, this bill to basically nationalize the health care sector of our economy succeeds or not.
RUSH: Well, you’re doing yeoman’s work here in trying to stop it, and people are so proud of you with the meeting you had over at the White House. People loved what you said to Obama and the way he looked back at you at that.
PAUL RYAN: Rush, I appreciate it. I’m a representative, and the way I look at it is that’s exactly what people in southern Wisconsin, would have wanted me to say to them.
RUSH: Well, you did, and keep it up everybody’s proud of you and supporting what you’re doing. That’s Paul Ryan, who is a ranking Republican member on the House Budget Committee with the latest update on the real meaning of the CBO numbers today, what (as best anybody can determine) they mean, and what the future holds. Five to ten seats undecided is the best count so far, or votes undecided.