Cut Loopholes Later to Pay for Tax Reform: Rep. Ryan
Producer, CNBC's "Squawk Box"
House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan told CNBC on Thursday that he expects the across-the-board spending cuts known as the "sequester" to trigger after Friday's deadline.
"[The House] passed a bill 300 days ago to deal with this ... [But] the Senate still hasn't done anything. So I do expect the sequester to take effect," the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee said in his first "Squawk Box" interview since the November election.
(Read More: Back-Load Cuts to Protect Growth Now: Dem Hoyer)
The Wisconsin Republican also laid out what he expects to happen next week: "We will pass an appropriations measure that gives the administration more flexibility. We had already negotiated spending bills with respect to veterans affairs, the military. And that will be part of this."
Ryan added, "I think you'll see more flexibility for the military, for national security, and more flexibility for domestic spending. So that the president and the agencies can go after waste and inefficiency as the sequester takes place." He also said the measure will address entitlement spending.
Obama was "never interested" in a "Grand Bargain" on deficit reduction and entitlement reform, the congressman claimed.
"You have to reform entitlements to save these programs from bankruptcy. To save the country from a debt crisis," Ryan said. "[The White House] has not come to the table with equal proposals to deal with this. And unfortunately that's the stalemate we have today."
As for whether the president "moved the goal posts" asking for more revenue, Ryan said that Bob Woodward of The Washington Post was correct in that characterization.
"The president got the largest tax increase in American history eight weeks ago. Now he's trying to move the goal post and say instead of spending cuts which the sequester is, 'I need a bunch of tax increases' for this as well, to fuel more spending."
Republicans are still interested in closing some tax loopholes and deductions as Obama has suggested, Ryan said. "[But] let's do tax reform and hold loopholes to pay for tax reform. Meanwhile, spending is the problem. Let's focus on spending [now]."
As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, the congressman said the panel will push to overhaul the U.S. tax system. "We'll see if the president follows suit," he pondered.