Whip Hoyer on CNBC Discussing the Debt Limit and Deficit Negotiations

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Transcript: 

good morning. good to be with you.

 

we had leader cantor on earlier. he suggested there was some progress being made but it's hard to tell when you're watching arrivals and departures from either the president's meeting or the biden meeting.

 

i see the fact we're talking. progress i think is a little more elusive. clearly the fact that people are talking, i think the biden talks are serious talks. i am pleased with them and therefore, optimistic that there are real discussions going on. obviously, i'm not in that room and there are just a few of them in the room. but the reports i get are there that there are real efforts at making progress and addressing the fiscal crisis that is confronts our nation and confronting the debt and deficit that we need to bring down, but also to constructively moving forward on trying to reach bipartisan agreement which is the only way we're going to be able to effect change.

 

but efforts and progress are different than progress. saying something is on the table when it really means it's just your proposal, that's not moving us any closer to the goal line.

 

no, i agree with that. that's why i said that i'm optimistic because i think they're serious meetings. i was not sure they were going to be serious meetings. but i'm not optimistic from the standpoint there's been no substantive progress made yet. i was pleased that mr. boehner said today that we have to address this deficit issue. the debt extension issue in a timely fashion and do it before we get up to a deadline. i've said that now for over a month. i agree with speaker boehner on that. i'm hopeful that we can get there. unfortunately this week we played a game. we played a game where the republicans on the debt limit knowing full well that it must be extended and it would be catastrophic if we didn't have put on a piece of legislation designed to fail. in fact, every republican voted against it. i decided not to play the game with them. but the fact is, i'm prepared to sit down with the speaker, with the republican leadership and get to a point where we can make progress, extend the debt limit, put our finances on a sound footing and reduce deficits and debt. we need to do both.

 

bond market clearly is not leaning on you guys to do anything too soon. we've got other things to worry about. that is some of the economic data we're getting this week. if the data stays weak and the jobs number is miserable and manufacturing numbers get worse, isn't the moment going to slip away?

 

well, i think it's possible it will slip away. i think the urgency of the challenge that confronts us ought to be evident to us all. and we need to act in a bipartisan fashion. i've said that, for instance, on debt reduction and deficit reduction, which i think is important for us to do, everything needs to be on the table. i've said that now for a year and a half and i'm prepared to work with my republican colleagues and my democratic colleagues and the president of the united states to reach that end. i think he is, as well. we're going to be talking about that at the white house today. i'm going to be mentioning our make it in america agenda, a jobs agenda, an agenda to expand manufacturing jobs in our country to make sure that we can outbuild, outinnovate and outeducate our international competitors. we need to get this economy moving. we've been struggling to do that since its deep decline from december '07 till the middle of last year.

 

representative heir, obviously, there's only so much progress that can be made in a month or two. a lot of people said you can't tackle the problems with medicare in that time. yet, there seems to be this issue where if we get past a crisis, the urgency goes away. somebody pointed out yesterday that the boles simpson commission was a result of the last time this happened. we didn't take their recommendations very seriously either. how do we make sure there maintains a real focus on trying to work down some of this debt if there's not an intermediate threat and if you continue to face issues like rising unemployment which could be a real potential?

 

becky, i hope that's not the case, but you're right. it's a potential. but let me say that raising the debt limit is something that everybody understands must be done. i don't mean that everybody agrees with that, but all the leadership on both sides, the president and most people that consider the consequences believe this has got to be done. but the crisis is not just the immediate extension of the debt limit. the crisis is the economic situation that confronts us, the government spending, entitlements, defense spending are simply not sustainable. that is a long-term challenge for us that must be solved and frankly must be solved in the short term irrespective of the debt limit issue which is an immediate one that we must address. but i would hope and believe that most members of congress and the american public understands that this is not a crisis that will go away by extending the debt limit. the crisis will taken taken and we need to address it and address it now. and in my view, the next five months are the most timely ways that we can do that before we get into the election year. we have bipartisan representation. hopefully we'll have bipartisan responsibility.

 

leader Hoyer, we had cantor on talking about the korea and columbiaen an some of those things. are you working behind the scenes? can you put something together? what do you need to agree to get the republicans to agree to the job training? how much money, is there going to be a compromise where you can do this in the next month?

 

first of all, as you know, i am for passing of the trade agreements. i think that will help our competitive situation and colombia is our best ally in south america and we ought to move forward on that agreement. however, we have always in the past moved forward in a parallel track with the trade assistance adjustment. clearly and i've discussed this with republican leaders who acknowledge that there are disruptions. and that we ought to have a program to ensure that those disruptions are minimized and we retrain people who are displaced. we passed that last year in december. extended temporarily on a bipartisan basis through unanimous consent. that is no opposition in either the senate or the house. i would hope we could move forward on a bipartisan basis. i've talked to speaker boehner about that and hoping that we can adopt the trade adjustment assistance very soon. i think on that point, then the president will send down the trade agreements.

 

we have proposed a "squawk" beer summit tomorrow morning. at the labor department if you'll show. can you come over to the labor department and see it.

 

i don't know i'm going to be at your beer summit.

 

what if we make it straight scotch?

 

i'm a sprite drinker myself. what can i tell you?

 

what dorm did you stay in at college? i was, i slept over in some mer set on friday night. do you know where that is?

 

sure i do.

 

they have a statue of jim henson but no steny Hoyer at the university of maryland. is that an oversight? do i need to suggest that? if you would do that, that would be a great service.

 

i think they have a boomer esiason and jim henson and nothing. it's like Hoyer is invisible on this entire campus, which i don't understand.

 

it's shocking, i know. the whole world is worried about it.

 

actually, you represent -- i spent a lot of time in the county. that's your district too, prince georges.

 

i'm very close to the university of maryland. it's a great institution.

 

beautiful campus.

 

congressman Hoyer, one more question for you. you mentioned that you're y dismayed at the vote that went down this week. but there were more than 90 democrats who voted to strike down the debt ceiling, too. are you frustrated by the inability to even control those work very hard at controlling our own ranks. what you saw was david camp, my friend, whom i respect, and whom i really believe understands that, and i said, we need to extend the dead limit. unfortunately offered this, and when he offered it he said it was offered so we would reject it. everyone republican was going to vote no. we're all against debt. frankly, in the last administration, we increased the debt over 100%. the bush administration. through their policies.

 

a lot of democrats, too.

 

it is a vote we split on that. some people thought that the premise in the resolution that was the, obama's debt, which was absurd, given the fact that george bush doubled the debt in his administration, but the fact is it was a game. it was political theater, and everybody recognized it was political theater. when you have every republican voting against a piece of legislation, that they're leader says would have been a moment, you know this is not real. we've got to be real. we've got to be serious. we've got to be adults and address this in a bipartisan tags fashion, and i'm prepared to work with mr. boehner and mr. cantor and get the necessary votes out from both sides so that we don't make it a political football on both sides to extends the debt consistent with what was needed so that we can pay the debts we've already incurred. it's an adult matter for us to address and we sought to act like adults.

 

well, we're ready tomorrow 0 to start this whole thing, this adult thing. tomorrow!

 

i know.

 

okay. kidding. that was a different -- a coffee summit at the labor department. you know where that is. don't you?

 

i have an idea where the labor department is.

 

6:00 to 9:00 a.m. what are you doing between 6:00 and 9:00? we'll make time, whatever you want, for you and cantor.

 

you're very kind. i'm not sure i'm going to be there.

 

i got the same answer from cantor.

 

alan greenspan.

 

we're going to work on these two guys.

 

our special guest tomorrow.

 

got to drag them together. for the country, steny.

 

look, hopefully we can agree.

 

yeah.

 

for the country. this is a crisis and we're kidding about it, but the place to do it, frankly, is the seriously, we sit down and say, look, our country's confronts a very substantial crisis. not only in terms of growth of our economy and the creation of jobs to for our people.

 

yes.

 

but in terms it of having a fiscally sustainable future for our children. if we don't do that in a responsible way and not pretend we can take things off the table. frankly i thought mr. boehner's comments in new york were not helpful that, look, no revenues. i don't think anybody believes we're going to solve this problem without looking to revenue. we need to cut spending, do we need to contain entitlements? look at the discretionary, non-defense discretionary spending? the answer to that is, yes, we need to look at all of it, but for one side to come to the table and say you can't discussion this and can't discuss that, that is not, frankly, going to get us to where we need to get as a country, and the american public expects us to do as i said. sit down, act like adults and understand the nature of the problem and discuss it in a serious way.

 

if we can't get it done, we may all be --

 

you're right on that.

 

thank you for your time.

 

thank you.

 

congressman Hoyer.