Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) discussed the American Jobs Act, proposed during President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress last night, on CNBC's Squawkbox. See below for excerpts and a link to the video.
“I thought it was a good speech. I thought it was a very pointed speech. And I thought it was a speech that offered alternatives that, as the President pointed out, both parties have supported over the years. Republicans talk about putting money in people's pockets. The President’s [plan], clearly, most of it is tax cuts to put money not only in people's pockets but in the pockets of small business so they can grow businesses and hire people.”
“I hope a very significant part [will have bipartisan support]. Again, investing in infrastructure is something our Republican colleagues say makes sense. I think the unemployment insurance has had bipartisan support, in the future making sure people don't fall through the cracks. So when you look at the tax cuts, the infrastructure investment, the making sure that states are not hemorrhaging, losing jobs, of teachers, policemen and firemen and making sure the unemployed are not falling through the cracks, I think those are all items which there's been historically agreement.”
“The fact of the matter is that the President offered a program which he judges and many people agree is sufficient to try to staunch this doldrums that the economy is in. We heard in August from Americans all over this country, jobs is the number one issue, getting this economy growing is the number one issue. They want to make it in America, which the President talked about. They want to manufacture it in America. They want to get our economy moving. Very frankly, if we piecemeal, if we just take little pieces, I’m not sure that will do the job. I think the President doesn't think that will do the job.”
“What the President said is it's going to be paid for. What he said is what both commissions have said. The Bowles-Simpson commission, which I thought had an excellent report, Domenici-Rivlin was an excellent report, what did they say? They said in the short term you’ve got to make sure the economy grows because if the economy doesn't grow you're not going to get a handle on the debt and deficit. The economy has to grow. You won't do it simply by cuts or by tax rescissions. You have to have a growing economy. Therefore, what the President said in the short term, we need to adopt policies to grow the economy but in the long term have to pay for it.”
“We should [pay for the plan] essentially as the Bowles-Simpson and the Gang of Six, which is now a larger group, has recommended by paying attention to all items of expenditure, interest you have to pay. But we have to look at cuts in defense and non-defense domestic discretionary spending. We have to look at revenues and entitlements. That's what the President said last night. That's what the committee is charged to do. I'm hopeful that they will do that... In the short term grow the economy, in the long term exercise the kind of discipline that's necessary to get our country on a sound fiscal track.”