Whip Hoyer Discusses President’s Plan to Reduce the Deficit, Finding Agreement on Debt Limit on CNBC

For Immediate Release:

April 14, 2011

Contact:

Katie Grant, 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) discussed the President’s plan to address the deficit and the need to work in a bipartisan fashion on the budget and debt ceiling today on CNBC’s Squawkbox. See below for a link to the video and excerpts.

Click here to watch the video.

“We had a good meeting in the White House yesterday. I think a good, frank discussion. I think the President’s speech laid out essentially what the Commission that he appointed, which was headed by former Chief of Staff Bowles and former Senator Alan Simpson, which said yes, we need to bring spending down. I think that’s generally agreed upon. We’ve got to rein in deficit and debt, it’s dangerous to our economy, our people and our competitiveness internationally. What the President indicated yesterday was yes, we’ve got it bring it down. We’re going to cut spending by about two-thirds of that $4 trillion he wants to cut over the next 12 years and rely on revenues, that is paying for what we buy, for the other third, which is essentially the formula that the Commission set forward. David Stockman in referring to the alternative Ryan budget made it very clear that he thought that was not a reasonable alternative. And that in fact, we had to rely to a much greater degree than the Republicans, who say absolutely no, on revenues.”

“The fact of the matter is there needs to be not another side. There needs to be a meeting of the sides. We need to reach agreement, we need to reach agreement on extending the debt limit so that this country pays its bills and doesn't put the domestic or international financial marketplace in chaos. We need to come to agreement on how we're going to cut spending if our children and grandchildren are going to inherit a country that is fiscally stable and successful and competitive in the international markets. I think what the President did was put on the table his proposal as to how we ought to get there. Mr. Ryan's put on what the Republicans' proposal is to get there. Now we need to sit down, do some hard thinking, make some compromises. But there is no alternative to getting a handle on the finances of this country, period. The American public knows that and almost everybody on the Hill knows that. What we can't do, however, is in the process undermine, and, this is what the President said, the most vulnerable in America that we have a responsibility of trying to help and lift up and educate and make sure we can out-innovate and out-build our competitors. And we need to make sure that we contribute to paying for what we are continuing to buy even in a reduced budget scenario.”

“We discussed the debt ceiling yesterday. I made the observation that everybody in the room adopts the premise that not raising the debt ceiling is not an option. Every Republican made that premise and every Democrat made that premise. Jamie Dimon has indicated that if that happened, there would be chaos in the fiscal community and would undermine our economy very, very badly and undermine our credibility in international markets. I think there is agreement that's not an option. My suggestion was look, I think the markets would be stabilized. I think the American public would see it as a real victory if we came together and said on this, we can agree because it's in the best interests of our country and it's essential to do. That didn't come out of that meeting, unfortunately. But I think in the short term, what we may do and what I hope we will do is vote on that in a bipartisan way with a realization that there's no other option. Mr. Cantor said that and Mr. Boehner said that. I think we all understand that.”

“My own view is that – and I’ve said this in a speech that I made over a year ago – I think at this point in time, we need to look at entitlements and we need to restrain spending on these entitlements. Make sure that they are fiscally sustainable over the long-term and are available for people in the future. The issue really is that the President raised and Ryan raises, the Republicans want to change fundamentally the nature of Medicare and Medicaid. The guarantee that is there that people can rely on to what is either a voucher plan or a payment on which people couldn't rely and subject seniors to all the risk of a, whether they could get insurance and b, whether or not they can afford that insurance... I think the character of those two entitlements need to be maintained but I think clearly they need to be addressed. They need to be addressed to contain costs to make them affordable in the long run."

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