In a conference call with the press this morning, Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) and GOP chairman Reince Priebus praised their fellow Wisconsinite, Rep. Paul Ryan, for his response to the State of the Union last night.
Priebus called Ryan’s speech “right on” and pointed to yesterday’s vote in the House to let Ryan set non-defense discretionary spending to 2008 levels as a sign of the congressman’s trustworthiness. “Paul’s contrast to the president’s message is based more on reality than platitudes,” he said.
Although some conservative pundits have criticized Ryan’s message for lacking specifics, Johnson defended Ryan’s performance. “He’s actually had the courage to put forward a plan,” Johnson said, referring to the congressman’s “Roadmap for America’s Future,” which the senator called a “starting point” for impending budgetary discussions.
Johnson also voiced skepticism over the president’s proposal to freeze non-defense discretionary spending for five years. “The problem is at what level do you freeze spending?” he asked. “I’m afraid that spending freeze falls far short of what we need to do to get spending under control.”
Johnson did express support, however, for the president’s suggestion that Congress pair an elimination of tax loopholes with a cut in the corporate tax rate. “We absolutely do have to benchmark our tax rates against those of other countries,” Johnson affirmed.
The Republican National Committee organized the Wisconsin-focused call in response to news that President Obama is visiting the Badger State today. “My suspicion is Barack Obama’s math does not add up without Wisconsin being in his column,” Priebus mused. For his part, Priebus is heading to Florida today to meet with the host committee of the 2012 GOP convention in Tampa.
The rookie Johnson also had some advice for the president. “I would say concentrate on what we need to do to keep spending in control. That for any official is going to be the best path for success in 2012.”