Whip Hoyer Discusses the Debt Limit and Deficit Reduction on CNBC

WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) discussed the debt limit and the need for a bipartisan deficit reduction plan today on CNBC's Squawkbox. See below for a link to the video and excerpts.

Click here to watch the video.

“I think the Biden talks are serious talks…. [T]he reports I get are that there are real efforts at making progress and addressing the fiscal crisis that confronts our nation and confronting the debt and deficit that we need to bring down, but also to constructively move forward on trying to reach bipartisan agreement which is the only way we're going to be able to affect change.”

“I was pleased that Mr. Boehner said today [note: Mr. Hoyer misspoke, he meant yesterday] 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.”

“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 out-build, out-innovate and out-educate 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.”

“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 maintain. We need to address it and address it now. And in my view, the next five months are the most timely way that we can do that before we get into the election year. We have bipartisan representation. Hopefully we'll have bipartisan responsibility.”

“I am for passing of the trade agreements…. 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…. 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 at that point then the president will send down the trade agreements.”

“[The debt limit vote] was political theater, and everybody recognized it was political theater. When you have every Republican voting against a piece of legislation, that their leader says would have been an adult 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 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.”

“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 discuss 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.”

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