House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said Tuesday that President Obama "punted on the budget" and that entitlement programs are driving the national debt. "You have to do entitlement reforms if you are serious about this budget, if you are serious about this debt," Ryan said. "The sooner we tackle it, the better off everyone is." Ryan, who also delivered the Republican Party's response to the president's State of the Union address last month, echoed the GOP leadership's reaction to Obama's 2012 budget proposal by saying he had hoped for presidential leadership on the budget and called for bringing spending back to 2008 levels. If Congress doesn't agree to keep the government running on current levels by March 4, the government will run out of money. Ryan addressed these looming fears of a government shutdown. "We don't want to see shutdown occur," he said, but "we don't want to rubber-stamp these extremely high and elevated spending levels." Ryan said he wants to see the government continue to run and that Congress will have to "negotiate some short-term extensions while we get to the long-term fix."
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