NBC News
updated 1/25/2011 10:06:02 PM ET 2011-01-26T03:06:02

Here is the transcript of the Republican Party response to the State of the Union speech to Congress, as prepared for delivery by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee:

Good evening. I'm Congressman Paul Ryan from Janesville, Wisconsin — and Chairman here at the House Budget Committee. President Obama just addressed a Congressional chamber filled with many new faces. One face we did not see tonight was that of our friend and colleague, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. We all miss Gabby and her cheerful spirit; and we are praying for her return to the House Chamber. Earlier this month, President Obama spoke movingly at a memorial event for the six people who died on that violent morning in Tucson. Still, there are no words that can lift the sorrow that now engulfs the families and friends of the fallen. What we can do is assure them that the nation is praying for them; that, in the words of the Psalmist, the Lord heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds; and that over time grace will replace grief.

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As Gabby continues to make encouraging progress, we must keep her and the others in our thoughts as we attend to the work now before us.

'We want to work with the president'
Tonight, the President focused a lot of attention on our economy in general — and on our deficit and debt in particular. He was right to do so, and some of his words were reassuring. As Chairman of the House Budget Committee, I assure you that we want to work with the President to restrain federal spending. In one of our first acts in the new majority, House Republicans voted to cut Congress's own budget. And just today, the House voted to restore the spending discipline that Washington sorely needs. The reason is simple. A few years ago, reducing spending was important. Today, it's imperative.

Here's why. We face a crushing burden of debt. The debt will soon eclipse our entire economy, and grow to catastrophic levels in the years ahead. On this current path, when my three children - who are now 6, 7, and 8 years old - are raising their own children, the Federal government will double in size, and so will the taxes they pay. No economy can sustain such high levels of debt and taxation. The next generation will inherit a stagnant economy and a diminished country. Frankly, it's one of my greatest concerns as a parent — and I know many of you feel the same way.

Our debt is the product of acts by many presidents and many Congresses over many years. No one person or party is responsible for it. There is no doubt the President came into office facing a severe fiscal and economic situation. Unfortunately, instead of restoring the fundamentals of economic growth, he engaged in a stimulus spending spree that not only failed to deliver on its promise to create jobs, but also plunged us even deeper into debt. The facts are clear: Since taking office, President Obama has signed into law spending increases of nearly 25% for domestic government agencies — an 84% increase when you include the failed stimulus. All of this new government spending was sold as "investment." Yet after two years, the unemployment rate remains above 9% and government has added over $3 trillion to our debt.

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Then the President and his party made matters even worse, by creating a new open-ended health care entitlement. What we already know about the President's health care law is this: Costs are going up, premiums are rising, and millions of people will lose the coverage they currently have. Job creation is being stifled by all of its taxes, penalties, mandates and fees. Businesses and unions from around the country are asking the Obama Administration for waivers from the mandates. Washington should not be in the business of picking winners and losers.

'Full repeal of this law'
The President mentioned the need for regulatory reform to ease the burden on American businesses. We agree — and we think his health care law would be a great place to start. Last week, House Republicans voted for a full repeal of this law, as we pledged to do, and we will work to replace it with fiscally responsible, patient-centered reforms that actually reduce costs and expand coverage. Health care spending is driving the explosive growth of our debt. And the President's law is accelerating our country toward bankruptcy. Our debt is out of control. What was a fiscal challenge is now a fiscal crisis. We cannot deny it; instead we must, as Americans, confront it responsibly.

Video: Ryan stresses government accountability (on this page)

And that is exactly what Republicans pledge to do. Americans are skeptical of both political parties, and that skepticism is justified - especially when it comes to spending. So hold all of us accountable. In this very room, the House will produce, debate, and advance a budget. Last year — in an unprecedented failure — Congress chose not to pass, or even propose a budget. The spending spree continued unchecked.

We owe you a better choice and a different vision. Our forthcoming budget is our obligation to you — to show you how we intend to do things differently … how we will cut spending to get the debt down … help create jobs and prosperity … and reform government programs. If we act soon, and if we act responsibly, people in and near retirement will be protected. These budget debates are not just about the programs of government; they're also about the purpose of government. So I'd like to share with you the principles that guide us. They are anchored in the wisdom of the founders; in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence; and in the words of the American Constitution. They have to do with the importance of limited government; and with the blessing of self-government.

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We believe government's role is both vital and limited - to defend the nation from attack and provide for the common defense … to secure our borders… to protect innocent life… to uphold our laws and Constitutional rights … to ensure domestic tranquility and equal opportunity … and to help provide a safety net for those who cannot provide for themselves. We believe that the government has an important role to create the conditions that promote entrepreneurship, upward mobility, and individual responsibility. We believe, as our founders did, that "the pursuit of happiness" depends upon individual liberty; and individual liberty requires limited government.

Limited government also means effective government. When government takes on too many tasks, it usually doesn't do any of them very well. It's no coincidence that trust in government is at an all-time low now that the size of government is at an all-time high. The President and the Democratic Leadership have shown, by their actions, that they believe government needs to increase its size and its reach, its price tag and its power.

Slideshow: The State of the Union (on this page)

'Record deficits and debt'
Whether sold as "stimulus" or repackaged as "investment," their actions show they want a federal government that controls too much; taxes too much; and spends too much in order to do too much. And during the last two years, that is exactly what we have gotten - along with record deficits and debt - to the point where the President is now urging Congress to increase the debt limit. 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.

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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. This is a future in which we will transform our social safety net into a hammock, which lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency. Depending on bureaucracy to foster innovation, competitiveness, and wise consumer choices has never worked — and it won't work now. We need to chart a new course.

Video: Ryan stresses government accountability (on this page)

Speaking candidly, as one citizen to another: We still have time… but not much time. If we continue down our current path, we know what our future will be. Just take a look at what's happening to Greece, Ireland, the United Kingdom and other nations in Europe. They didn't act soon enough; and now their governments have been forced to impose painful austerity measures: large benefit cuts to seniors and huge tax increases on everybody. Their day of reckoning has arrived. Ours is around the corner. That is why we must act now.

Some people will back away from this challenge. But I see this challenge as an opportunity to rebuild what Lincoln called the "central ideas" of the Republic. We believe a renewed commitment to limited government will unshackle our economy and create millions of new jobs and opportunities for all people, of every background, to succeed and prosper. Under this approach, the spirit of initiative — not political clout — determines who succeeds. Millions of families have fallen on hard times not because of our ideals of free enterprise — but because our leaders failed to live up to those ideals; because of poor decisions made in Washington and Wall Street that caused a financial crisis, squandered our savings, broke our trust, and crippled our economy. Today, a similar kind of irresponsibility threatens not only our livelihoods but our way of life.

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We need to reclaim our American system of limited government, low taxes, reasonable regulations, and sound money, which has blessed us with unprecedented prosperity. And it has done more to help the poor than any other economic system ever designed. That's the real secret to job creation — not borrowing and spending more money in Washington. Limited government and free enterprise have helped make America the greatest nation on earth.

These are not easy times, but America is an exceptional nation. In all the chapters of human history, there has never been anything quite like America. The American story has been cherished, advanced, and defended over the centuries. And it now falls to this generation to pass on to our children a nation that is stronger, more vibrant, more decent, and better than the one we inherited. Thank you and good night.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Video: Ryan stresses government accountability

  1. Closed captioning of: Ryan stresses government accountability

    >> good evening. i'm congressman paul ryan from janesville, wisconsin. and chairman here at the house budget committee . president obama just addressed a congressional chamber filled with many new faces. one face we did not see tonight was that of our friend and colleague congresswoman gabrielle giffords of arizona. we all miss gabby and her cheerful spirit and we are praying for her to return to the house chamber. earlier this month president obama spoke movingly at a memorial event for the six people who died on that violent morning in tucson. still, there are no words that can lift the sorrow that now engulfs the families and the friends of the fallen. what we can do is assure them that the nation is praying for them, that in the words of the psalmist, the lord heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds and that over time grace will replace grief. as gabby continues to make encouraging progress we must keep her and the others in our thoughts as we attend to the work now before us. tonight the president focused a lot of attention on our economy in general and on our deficit and debt in particular. he was right to do so and some of his words were reassuring. as chairman of the house budget committee , i assure you, that we want to work with the president to restrain federal spending. in one of our first acts in the new majority, house republicans voted to cut congress's own budget and just today the house voted to restore the spending discipline that washington sorely needs. the reason is simple. a few years ago, reducing spending was important. today, it's imperative. here's why. we face a crushing burden of debt. the debt will soon eclipse our entire economy and grow to catastrophic levels in the years ahead. on this current path, when my three children who are now 6, 7, and 8 years old are raising their own children, the federal government will double in size and so will the taxes they pay. no economy can sustain such high levels of debt and taxation. the next generation will inherit a stagnant economy and a diminished country. frankly, it's one of my greatest concerns as a parent and i know many of you feel the same way. our debt is the product of acts by many presidents and many congresses over many years. no one person or party is responsible for it. there is no doubt the president came into office facing a severe fiscal and economic situation. unfortunately, instead of restoring the fundamentals of economic growth , he engaged in a stimulus spending spree that not only failed to deliver on his promise to create jobs but also plunged us even into deeper into debt. td fac the facts are clear. since taking office president obama has signed into law spending increases of nearly 25% for domestic government agencies and 84% increase when you include the failed stimulus. all of this new government spending was sold as investment. yet after two years, the unemployment rate remains above 9%. and government has added over $3 trillion to our debt. then the president and his party made matters even worse by creating a new, open ended health care entitlement. what we already know about the president's health care law is this. costs are going up. premiums are rising. and millions of people will lose the coverage they currently have. job creation is being stifled by all of its taxes, penalties, mandates, and fees. businesses and unions from around the country are asking the obama administration for waivers from the mandates. washington should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. the president mentioned the need for regulatory reform , to ease the burden on american businesses. we agreed and we think its health care level would be a great place to start. last week house republicans voted for a full repeal of this law as we pledged to do and we will work to replace it with fiscally responsible, patient-centered reforms that actually reduce costs and expand coverage. health care spending is driving the explosive growth of our debt. and the president's law is accelerating our country toward bankruptcy. our debt is out of control. what was a fiscal challenge is now a fiscal crisis. we cannot deny it. instead, we must as americans confront it responsibly. and that is exactly what republicans pledge to do. americans are skeptical of both political parties and that skepticism is justified especially when it comes to spending. so hold all of us accountable. in this very room, the house will produce debate in advance of budget. last year in an unprecedented failure, congress chose not to pass or even propose a budget. the spending spree continued unchecked. we owe you a better choice and a different vision. our forthcoming budget is our obligation to you to show you how we would do things differently, how we will cut spending to get the debt down, help create jobs and prosperity and reform government programs. if we act soon, and if we act responsibly, people in and near retirement will be protected. these budget debates are not just about the programs of government. they're also about the purpose of government. so i'd like to share with you the principles that guide us. they are anchored in the wisdom of the founders. in the spirit of the declaration of independence , and in the words of the american constitution . they have to do with the importance of limited government and with the blessing of self-government. we believe government's role is both vital and limited. to defend the nation from attack and provide for the common defense, to secure our borders, to protect innocent life , to uphold our laws and constitutional rights , to ensure domestic tranquility and equal opportunity and to provide a safety net to help provide a safety net for those who cannot provide for themselves. we believe that the government has an important role to create the conditions that promote entrepreneurship, upward mobility , and individual responsibility. we believe as our founders did that the pursuit of happiness depends on individual liberty and individual liberty requires limited government . limited government also means effective government. when government takes on too many tasks, it usually doesn't do any of them very well. it's no coincidence that trusting government is at an all time low now that the size of government is at an all time high. the president and the democratic leadership have shown by their actions that they believe government needs to increase its size and its reach, its price tag and its power. whether sold as stimulus or repackaged as investment their actions show they want a federal government that controls too much, taxes too much, and spends too much in order to do too much. and during the last two years, that is exactly what we have gotten. along with record deficits in debt to the point where the president is now urging congress to increase the debt limit. we believe the days of business as usual must come to an end. we hold to a couple simple convictions. endless borrowing is not a strategy. spending cuts have to come first. 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. this is a future in which we will transform our social safety net into a hammock which lulls people into lives of complacency and dependency depending on bureaucracy to foster innovation, competitiveness, and wise consumer choices has never worked and it won't work now. we need to chart a new course. speaking candidly, as one citizen to another, we still have time but not much time. if we continue down our current path, we know what our future will be. just take a look at what's happening to greece, ireland, the united kingdom , and other nations in europe. they didn't act soon enough and now their governments have been forced to impose painful austerity measures, large benefit cuts to seniors, and huge tax increases on everybody. their day of reckoning has arrived. ours is around the corner. that is why we have to act now. some people will back away from this challenge but i see this challenge as an opportunity to rebuild what lincoln called the central ideas of the republic. we believe a renewed commitment to limited government will unshackle our economy and create millions of new jobs and opportunities for all people of every background to succeed and prosper. under this approach, the spirit of initiative, not political clout, determines who succeeds. millions of families have fallen on hard times not because of our ideals of free enterprise but because our leaders failed to live up to those ideals. because of poor decisions made in washington and wall street that caused a financial crisis , squandered our savings, broke our trust, and crippled our economy. today a similar kind of irresponsibility threatens not only our livelihoods but our way of life . we need to reclaim our american system of limited government , low taxes, reasonable regulations, and sound money , which has blessed us with unprecedented prosperity and it has done more to help the poor than any other economic system ever designed. that's the real secret to job creation , not borrowing and spending more money in washington . limited government and free enterprise have helped make america the greatest nation on earth. these are not easy times. but america is an exceptional nation. in all the chapters of human history , there has never been anything quite like america . the american story has been cherished, advanced, and defended over the centuries. and it now falls to this generation to pass on to our children a nation that is stronger, more vibrant, more decent, and better than the one we inherited. thank you and good night.

Explainer: State of the union: by the numbers

  • After President Barack Obama's delivery of the annual State of the Union address to Congress, here is a look at some of the facts and figures that shape American life and how they have changed in the past decade (based on the latest available data, compiled from multiple sources).

  • Economy and Business

    Unemployed workers, January 2000: 4.0%
    Unemployed workers, January 2011: 9.4%

    Dow Industrial Average, Jan. 25, 2000:11,029
    Dow Industrial Average, Jan. 20, 2011:11,822

    U.S. federal debt, September 2000:$5,674,178,209,886
    U.S. federal debt, September 2010:$13,561,623,030,891

    Median new home price, January 2000: $163,500
    Median new home price, November 2010: $213,000

    Household income (top 5%), 2000:$252,400
    Household income (top 5%), 2009:$295,388

    Household income (bottom 5%), 2000:$10,157
    Household income (bottom 5%), 2009:$11,552

    Total U.S. population, 2000: 281,421,906
    Total U.S. population, 2010:308,745,538

    Number of U.S. millionaires, 2000:6.3 million
    Number of U.S. millionaires, 2010:7.8 million

    Price of admission to Forbes 400 list, 2000:$725 million
    Price of admission to Forbes 400 list, 2010:$1 billion

  • Politics

    Congressional approval, December 2000:55% approve; 30% disapprove     
    Congressional approval, September 2010:
    20% approve, 73% disapprove

    Confidence in national news media, December 2000:40% have little or no confidence
    Confidence in national news media, January 2011:42% have little or no confidence

    Confidence in the federal government, December 2000:19% have little or no confidence
    Confidence in the federal government, January 2010:
    35% have little or no confidence

    Hispanic/Latino electorate in 2000 election:7%
    Hispanic/Latino electorate in 2008 election:9%

    Women serving in Congress, 2000: 67
    Women serving in Congress, 2011: 93

    African-American members in U.S. Senate, 2000:0
    African-American members in U.S. Senate, 2011:0

  • Health

    Life expectancy at birth, 2000:76.8 years
    Life expectancy at birth, 2010:78.3 years, projected

    Number of uninsured Americans, 2000: 38.4 million
    Number of uninsured Americans, 2010:
    50.7 million

    Cancer deaths, all causes, 2000:553,091
    Cancer deaths, all causes, 2010:
    569,490

  • Travel

    Average price of a gallon of gas, 2000:$1.51/gallon
    Average price of a gallon of gas, 2011:
    $3.08/gallon

    Average airfare, 2000:$339
    Average airfare, 2011: $335 (through second quarter of 2010)

    First-bag fee, 2000: None
    First-bag fee, 2010:$20-25 (on most major U.S. carriers)

    Average hotel, 2000:$85.89/night
    Average hotel, 2011:$97.89/night (through September 2010)

    One-day ticket to Walt Disney World, 2000:$46
    One-day ticket to Walt Disney World, 2011:$82

  • Tech and Science

    Google searches per day, 2000: 30 million
    Google searches per day, 2011:
    Over 1 billion

    Wireless phone subscribers in U.S., 2000:97 million (34% of population)
    Wireless phone subscribers in U.S., 2011:293 million (93% of population)

    Facebook users, worldwide, 2000: 0
    Facebook users, worldwide, 2011:600 million

    Federal spending on research and development, 2000:$99 billion (actual spending)
    Federal spending on research and development, 2011:$148 billion (proposed)

    NASA science missions in operation, 2000: 38
    NASA science missions in operation, 2011:67

  • Education

    Public schools that require student uniforms, 1999-2000:12%
    Public schools that require student uniforms, 2007-2008:18%

    Public schools reporting the use of one or more security cameras, 1999-2000:19%
    Public schools reporting the use of one or more security cameras, 2007-2008:55%

    Nationwide graduation rates at public high schools, 2000-2001:71.7%
    Nationwide graduation rates at public high schools, 2007-2008:74.9%

    Average salary for public high school teachers, 1999-2000:$42,546
    Average salary for public high school teachers, 2008-2009:$53,724

    Minorities enrolled in 4-year institutions, 2000:1.5 million
    Minorities enrolled in 4-year institutions, 2007:1.8 million

    Average college tuition for 4-year private institutions, 1999-2000:$20,706
    Average college tuition for 4-year private institutions, 2009-2010:$26,273

    Science and math literacy (U.S. ranking on OECD PISA test given to 15-year-olds), 2000:14th in science, 19th in math
    Science and math literacy (U.S. ranking on OECD PISA test given to 15-year-olds), 2009:23rd in science, 31st in math

  • Sports

    Highest paid athletes (includes salaries, bonuses, prize money, endorsements and appearance fees), 2000:Michael Schumacher, $59 million
    Highest paid athletes (includes salaries, bonuses, prize money, endorsements and appearance fees), 2010:Tiger Woods, $105 million

    Cost of a Super Bowl ad, 2000:$2.1 million
    Cost of a Super Bowl ad, 2011:$3 million

    Rose Bowl payout (amount paid to each participating team), 2000:$12 million
    Rose Bowl payout (amount paid to each participating team), 2011:$21.2 million

    Average cost of an NFL ticket, 2000:$45.63
    Average cost of an NFL ticket, 2011:$76.47

  • Entertainment and Lifestyle

    Average movie ticket price, 2001: $5.66
    Average movie ticket price, 2011: $7.95

    Golden Globe winner for best picture, 2001:"A Beautiful Mind"
    Golden Globe winner for best picture, 2011:"The Social Network"

    Number of wide-release 3-D movies, 2001: 1
    Number of wide-released 3-D movies, 2011:30+

    Oprah Winfrey net worth, 2001:$800 million
    Oprah Winfrey net worth, 2011:$2.7 billion

    Number of children in the Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar family, 2001: 13
    Number of children in the Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar family, 2011: 19

    Most-watched TV show, 2001-2002:"Friends," 24.46 million average
    Most-watched TV show, 2010:"American Idol," 29.8 million average

    Highest-paid TV actor, 2001:Kelsey Grammer, $1.6 million per episode
    Highest-paid TV actor, 2011:Charlie Sheen, $1.25 million per episode

    Number of reality shows in Nielsen top 10, 2001: 2
    Number of reality shows in Nielsen top 10, 2010: 5

    Top-earning concert act, 2001:U2, estimated ticket sales $109.7 million
    Top-earning concert act, 2010:Bon Jovi, estimated ticket sales $201.1 million

    Average concert ticket price, 2001:$43.86
    Average concert ticket price, 2010:$55

    Popularity rank of the names "Malia" and "Sasha," 2000:498, 476
    Popularity rank of the names "Malia" and "Sasha," 2009:192, 261

Photos: State of the Union

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  1. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington. Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio applaud at rear. (Pablo Martinez Monsivias / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. This photo from the office of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shows her husband, Mark Kelly, watching the State of the Union address with Giffords in her hospital room in Houston on Tuesday, Jan. 25. Giffords was critically wounded in a shooting in Tucson that left six people dead, and she has been moved to Houston for rehabilitation. (Office Of U.s. Rep. Gabrielle Gi / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. First lady Michelle Obama waves as, from left to right, John, Dallas and Roxanna Green, family of the late Christina Taylor Green of Tucson, take their seats before the address. Christina, 9, was killed in the attack that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords critically injured. (Alex Wong / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Ramon Diaz Castellon sits in the back of the pickup he is living in as he watches the speech in Miami. Castellon said he is unemployed after losing his job working at a restaurant that went out of business. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi takes her seat next to Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, left. They agreed to sit next to each other in a spirit of bipartisanship on the floor of the House for the president's speech. (Jim Young / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. President Barack Obama is greeted on Capitol Hill in Washington before his speech. (Charles Dharapak / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Vice President Joe Biden, left and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio wear black and white ribbons in honor of those killed and wounded in the Tucson attack. The white band represents hope for a peaceful, nonviolent society. The black is in remembrance those who have died or been injured as a result of violence. (Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. The president's motorcade drives toward Capitol Hill for his State of Union speech on Tuesday. (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: Barack Obama, John Boehner, Joe Biden
    Pablo Martinez Monsivias / AP
    Above: Slideshow (8) The State of the Union
  2. Image: President Obama Hold Town Hall Meeting In Ohio
    J.D. Pooley / Getty Images
    Slideshow (65) Obama's first years in office - Second year
  3. USA presidential inauguration
    Chuck Kennedy / Pool via EPA
    Slideshow (68) Obama's first years in office - First year

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