(CNSNews.com) – Republican presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty says he wants to trim the size of the federal workforce and bring pay and benefits of public employees in line with the private sector.
But when asked Wednesday whether that would include eliminating any federal agencies, Pawlenty did not name any and would only say that he would scrap Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two formerly federally-sponsored financial services institutions that were made independent of the federal government in 2008.
He made the remarks at the Cato Institute, as part of his “It’s Time to Tell the Truth Tour.”
“When I was the governor of Minnesota we did,” Pawlenty said of making cuts. “We eliminated the Minnesota Planning Agency and we merged a number of other state departments, programs and agencies as well.”
Pawlenty said his campaign would release a budget proposal soon that “will include reduction or elimination of a number of things – one of which will be Fanny and Freddie.”
“I know those aren’t federal agencies per se, but they are essentially fully-owned subsidiaries of the federal government,” Pawlenty said. “They become de facto agencies.”
A member of the audience asked Pawlenty what he thought of the budget proposal put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Pawlenty complemented Ryan on his “leadership” and “courage” for putting the plan “on the table” and accused President Obama of a lack of leadership in tackling the nation’s record debt and deficit.
“But I will have my own plan,” Pawlenty said, adding that his budget proposal would include some elements of Ryan’s as well as some other ideas, citing in particular his approach to Social Security and Medicare reform.
Pawlenty said in his remarks that reforms should include a gradual increase in the retirement age for Social Security eligibility and cutting cost of living increases for wealthy individuals eligible for Social Security.
Medicare reforms should include more choices for Americans, he said, adding that “incentivizing consumer behavior” could help Americans to make better health care choices, and to save money.