Hoyer Issues Response to Obama's State of the Union on CNN

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... >>> 15 minutes past the hour now. >>> president obama drove the point home last night that sitting together means little, if democrats and republicans can't work together when it could you please tell us. the partnership critical to his formula for winning the future. how will it happen? joining us from capitol hill one of the president's point men in the house, maryland congressman, steny hoyer. you sat with your republican counterpart kevin mccarthy. how different was the mood last night than last year's state of the union? >> i think it was significantly different. i mean, the fact that republicans and democrats were sitting together, not sort of in two camps ready to pop up on something they liked or pop up on something -- or sit silent on something they didn't like, i think the fact that we were together, i think, was a good start. it create an atmosphere that is important. sitting together is not the key, working together is the key. what the president and what i thought was a serious thoughtful call to action, not a rah rah speech but a serious reflection on the challenges that confront us and his suggestion of some of the solutions. i thought that it created an atmosphere to listen to that speech. now, hopefully, that atmosphere will carry over to meet the challenges, given the fact there are differences of opinion, but one of the things we saw in the post-election session was that it can be done. not ten years ago, 20 years ago, but last month, it was done where we came together and made compromises by definition compromises, have some things in that each party doesn't like, but, on the whole, they believe the proposition is supportable. i think we need to do that. i think we can do that. i've been working with mr. cantor and mr. mccarthy. >> right. >> and speaker boehner in discussions to hope that we can move forward in a way that will affect change. >> two things i want to ask you about then. one, the health care situation. the president last night said working to, you know, that the repeal is not necessarily helpful, that working together to sort of tweak moving forward would probably be more helpful. do you really think you're going to get any give from the other side where they voted to repeal it? they want to repeal it, not necessarily change. >> there was a vote to repeal in the house. that, obviously, is a pledge republicans made and they have fulfilled that pledge. but i don't really think it was a serious effort and, frankly, the debate surrounding it didn't make it much of a serious debate. bill frist, a former republican leader of the united states senate, very close to george bush, and a great surgeon in his own right, great medical leader, bill frist said that, talking about getting rid of it, it didn't really make sense, that it would be the basis upon which we would build to make sure that we had affordable, accessible quality health care available to our people. i think he's right. i think it will be the basis. i think that's what the president said last night. that would be the basis upon which we could build. he was open to making improvements. he said that anything of this magnitude certainly could be improved. i think we all agree on that. but as senator bill frist, the former republican majority leader said, it will be the basis on which we will build. >> i want to ask you about the budget. because the gop has a very different take on what it will take to balance the budget, what it will take to get out of deficit spending. where do you see common ground after listening to the gop responses last night on any type of legislation to bring down the deficit? >> well, certainly what we saw was common ground in a recognition that dealing with a budget deficit is an absolutely critical objective if we're going to stabilize and grow our economy. we cannot sustain the deficit picture that confronts us. the president referenced two commission reports that were made. one, his commission that he appointed. the other commission led by alice riblin and senator pete domenchi. that we had to deal not only with domestic nondefense, nonsecurity spending which the president talked about, our republican friends talked a lot about, but we also got a deal with defense spending and spending on health care and the president mentioned medicare and medicaid in particular. we have to deal across the board with spending, constrain it, make sure that it's sustainable in the future, and get our deficits down. ...