Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) discussed the Continuing Resolution compromise, the President's upcoming speech on a long term deficit plan and how the Republican budget for fiscal year 2012 makes the wrong choices and doesn't balance the budget on CNN's American Morning. See excerpts of the interview and a link to the video below.
“On the CR, I'm still looking at it and our members are still looking at it, but clearly we want to keep the government running. Clearly we needed to reach compromise, and I think the President and Mr. Reid tried to reach the best compromise that was possible.”
“My expectation is the President is going to talk about essentially what the Bipartisan [Fiscal] Commission recommended and that is moving forward in a balanced way so that we continue to invest in education, in innovation and in our infrastructure to grow our economy. But at the same time, I think he's going to look at making substantial cuts in spending over the long term. The Commission recommended don't make substantial cuts now while the economy is struggling to right itself and create jobs, but long term, get our budget deficit under control. I think he's going to do a balanced approach. The problem with the Republican proposal is that it's not balanced, it’s all on the backs of either seniors or middle class, working-class Americans. We don't think it will work anymore than that same proposal worked in the '80s or in the 2000s, where we created significant deficit under Reagan, 200% increase in the deficit, in the debt, and under George Bush, 115% increase in the national debt, as opposed to Bill Clinton, that had a balanced budget and didn't borrow money during the last four years. I expect the President to present a balanced program, which cuts spending, looks at all elements of the budget, including defense and entitlements and including tax expenditures.”
“I think the experts are right—just raising taxes on the rich aren't going to be enough. It has to be a balanced program. I expect the President to present such a program as the Commission did. The Republicans simply let the rich and wealthy of us off the hook as if they didn't have to participate in helping right this economy. The fact of the matter is, the Commission said, it's got to be a balanced approach, cut spending, look at all areas of spending, but also, ask people to pay a fair share. The Republican budget, reaches its $4 trillion in cuts by essentially eliminating Medicare as we know it, very substantially undermin[ing] Medicaid, which seniors will find very difficult because that's the major funder of long-term care for seniors, and giving large tax cuts to people who are making a lot of money, particularly the oil companies. It's not balanced. I don't think it will work and it will not receive bipartisan support in the House.”
“I think the President is going to look at entitlements somewhat like the Commission looked at entitlements. The issue is restraining the growth and spending. In terms of Medicare and Medicaid, we took a substantial step when we adopted the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform, which will, in fact, bring down health care costs which will, therefore, bring down the costs of Medicare and Medicaid. In addition to that, I think the President's going to be addressing additional ways that we can constrain costs without, however, undermining the benefits that are available to seniors and to people on Medicaid. We think that's critically important. Those programs need to be available for people. We need to have a healthy nation and that's one way we're going to get there, as opposed to simply changing it and passing the costs along to seniors and those on Medicaid.”