Rep. Paul Ryan's constituents mostly supportive

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., works with Republican members of the committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 5, 2011. At right is committee member Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
AP

In a look ahead to the battle over even bigger spending cuts in fiscal year 2012 and beyond, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan issued a warning over the deficit in Saturday's Republican response to the president's address.

"Each year that policy makers kick this can down the road, means trillions of dollars in empty promises are being made to future generations," said Ryan.

Ryan's proposed cuts would affect virtually every part of the country, including his own home district in Wisconsin.

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CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers visited his district, and says that while Ryan's reviews are mixed, many residents are supportive of the congressman's approach.

In his YouTube video, Ryan explains that if you thought finding $ 38 billion in cuts was tough, try finding $6.2 trillion.

"Our debt as the share of the economy is already too high," and even by conservative estimates it's going to get much worse, Ryan says in the video.

In the Republican proposal for the 2012 federal budget, Ryan is daring to take on the third rail proposing cuts in entitlements like Medicare, cuts of $389 billion in spending over the next decade, cutting another $735 billion from Medicaid.

Ryan says repealing the President's health reform law could over time save $1.4 trillion.

These days Ryan is getting called everything from Reaganesque to ruthless, but back in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, which went for Obama in 2008, the seven-term congressman is known simply as "Paul."

"Paul understands that if we don't fix this, or put some strong footings down, we're gonna be in trouble," said Frank Perrotti of the Janesville City Council.

With the national debt topping $14 trillion, folks in his district say they appreciate Ryan's willingness to risk his political future.

"I think there's some really difficult questions that have to be answered: 'How are we going to fund our future?' and 'How are we going to do that and not have the country go broke?'" asked Janesville resident Bill Fisher.

Janesville has been hit hard by the recession, especially when GM pulled out, and many here wonder if now is the best time to take on the national debt.

"If he wants to start with his budget right now, he will do nothing but hurt the people that live in this city, and our city is like every other city," said Linda Wells, another of Ryan's constituents.

At a downtown consignment store, owner Joni Bozart says the Paul Ryan she knows has always meant business.

"He's a numbers person and I think he's being true to himself and I think he thinks this is the best way to get us out of this mess whether we all agree or not," Bozart said.

Paul Ryan knows better than most, these days agreement is hard to come by.