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Rep. King praises Ryan plan at Cain-Gingrich debate

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U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Kiron) used a nationally-televised debate Saturday evening to praise a budget plan from U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), saying the country is “up against a very big problem” when it comes to the cost of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and the federal budget is growing so fast “it’s pretty hard to get a handle on what it all means.”

King made the comments at a debate between GOP presidential candidates Herman Cain and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Saturday in Texas. King co-hosted the event, held by the Texas Patriots PAC, which focused on entitlement reform.

With entitlement programs making up more than half the budget, King said, it’s difficult to address the nation’s deficit without looking to reform those programs. He praised Ryan’s plan for taking the initiative to do just that, and noted his own battle to do away with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“It is a very, very difficult task to be able to shrink this,” he said. “I tried to do so by cutting off all the funding to Obamacare. I didn’t get that done yet.”

King said his one-year-old granddaughter’s share of the national debt is near $50,000. And by the time she’s in 5th grade, he said, she’ll owe $88,000.

“To put that in perspective the average student loan debt upon leaving college is $24,000,” King said. “Can you imagine coming into the world owing Uncle Sam twice as much as you might owe as a college graduate to pay off her tuition?”

And King warned it’s only a matter of time until each person’s share of the national debt becomes hundreds of thousands of dollars, and said it’s going to take “grit, determination and support” from a number of groups to address the issue.

“I pray I live to see the day that we have deficit reduction in this federal government and I am hopeful that we will take a big step tonight on how to get there,” King said before handing the conversation over to Cain and Gingrich.

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