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January 26, 2011 11:10 am

Republicans Vow to Cut Spending, Urge Obama to Join

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“Our nation is approaching a tipping point. We are at a moment, where if government’s growth is left unchecked and unchallenged, America’s best century will be considered our past century,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who was tapped to give the official GOP response to Obama’s Tuesday night speech to Congress and the nation.

In excerpts released before Obama spoke, Ryan vowed that Republicans will insist on spending cuts before contemplating any increase in the government’s ability to borrow.

“We believe the days of business as usual must come to an end. We hold to a couple of simple convictions: Endless borrowing is not a strategy; spending cuts have to come first,” Ryan said.

Ryan will be the point man in the new House GOP majority’s drive to rein in spending and bring the budget closer to balance. Tuesday’s speech is the highest profile assignment yet for a wonky former congressional staff aide who has evolved into one of his party’s brightest stars.

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Ryan is best known for a controversial budget plan brimming with politically unpopular ideas like gradually turning Medicare into a voucher program, curbing Social Security benefits and allowing younger workers to divert Social Security taxes into private accounts. He says such tough steps are needed, given intractable budget deficits that threaten America’s prosperity.

Ryan’s plan, the “Roadmap for America,” is so politically toxic that GOP campaign operatives urged candidates to shy away from it. Democrats went on the attack as soon as Ryan was named to deliver Tuesday’s GOP response.

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