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tv   Newsmakers  CSPAN  February 20, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm EST

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continuing to partner with you. we're going to move to our third panel. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> what we face today is that the american dream is under attack. we are fighting back and we will get it back. >> today, on "road to the white house" herman cain is a potential 2012 republican presidential candidate. watch his appearance from a lincoln day dinner in plymouth, new hampshire. just over one year from now, the state will host the first
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primary "the road to the white house" today. host: this week "newsmakers" welcomes congressman jim jordan of ohio. for our viewers, it is the in- house think tank for conservatives. guest: it is supposed to be the conservative conscience on capitol hill. 185 members strong. 185 members strong. i like to think the old dick armey line, "when we act like us we win. when we act like them, we lose." it is to make sure that republicans act like us. when we do that, not only is it good for republicans and what we stand for, but i believe it is good for america. that is the mission of rsc, and we are about making sure we adhere to the mission. host: russell berman is a
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congressional reporter for "the hill." guest: congressman, i want to get you to talk more about your view of the role of the rsc. is what you're trying to do to hold speaker john boehner's feet to the fire before bills get to the floor? guest: you saw the way rsc operated last week. you saw our leadership do the right thing last week as well. i have been impressed with our leadership's willingness to allow -- and you are following this today -- this open process of that we have. not only is it bringing amendments to the floor, but within the conference. we have seen this play out relative to the continuing resolution which will fund the government. the appropriations committee was working on it.
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good start. good piece of legislation. we thought it should be a little bit better. we thought we could get to $100 billion in savings. to the leadership's credit, they moved there. i think what you're seeing is played out in the way it is supposed to, where we are -- take your best shot, bring your best argument, and if you can carry the day, you'll have that as part of the legislation. both in the conference and within the house of representatives. that is the way we will behave. we will tell them what we are for, we will fight for it, and push it in the right direction. guest: even if that means taking bills down on the floor? guest: making a good bill better. this freshman class is just strong. they spoke at a conference. and told the leadership and
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other members that they think it is important that we get to $100 billion in savings. this is going to get there. that is what we plan to do. host: past speakers have come in and talked about open processes and, after experience, closed things down a little bit. after seeing 500 plus amendments, i wonder if this amendments, i wonder if this could be the beginning of the end of open legislation. guest: i can guarantee that we think it is important. the founders, when they set up this great experiment in liberty that we call america, the greatest country ever, they wanted the house of representatives, in particular, to be close to the people. what better way to have this body closer to the people than to let every member bring their best idea, take your best shot?
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see if you can get 218 votes. a lot of rsc members have brought amendments. a freshman has already won the one amendment. you are seeing freshmen members grab ahold of this concept and bring their ideas. i think the american people like that. guest: talk about the spending debate. the house and senate are sparring over the continuing resolution, and john boehner has said if it comes down to having to do a short-term continuing resolution, if the parties cannot agree by march 4, that he will not do a short- term extension at the current levels of spending. from your perspective, does that mean that a government shutdown is on the table then? is this upping the ante?
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guest: i don't think this is -- it means that at all. i think that this means that john boehner understands what the election was about on november the second. if we continue to kick the can down the road and do a short- term cr, and continue to spend at the current levels, that is agreeing to what the democrat house, the democrat senate, and the administration put together last year. this election in november was about not agreeing to that. so there is no way we can agree to continue to fund the government at current levels. we have to achieve some savings for the american people. i think the speaker is spot on when he makes that statement. guest: does that mean that a shutdown could be acceptable, the democrats will go to the wall on this? neither side wants to talk about this. that is the consequence of not getting something agreed upon. guest: i think the democrats will see things our way. you guys have been covering this. have you ever seen the
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appropriations committee cut tens of billions of dollars, now $100 billion, from what the president requested last year? have we ever seen that? this is a whole new world. we will find out in two weeks, but you think with all these democrat senators up for reelection in 22 months, do you think they will say, "no. we will keep spending like we have been spending?" i do not see it. i think they have to agree to reduce -- because, look, it is mathematics. we are going broke. you have to change things. i do not think that is going to happen. now, will they see things our way clear to $100 billion? we'll see. guest: when did they seen things your way before? guest: it's a whole new world. we might think the senate is not going to reduce spending, but it is a whole new game.
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every friday night in the fall, we have high school football. and many times, there is one team that is favored and everyone says there is no way the other team can win. they still play the game. and sometimes the underdog wins. we are kicking the ball off and we will say, this is what the american people expect. who knows? we may, in fact, win. guest: let's fast-forward to the fiscal 2012 budget. right now we are looking at appropriations and some cutting there on domestic discretionary. a small pot. the budget chairman has said that he will look at reforming medicare and medicaid in that budget. budget. social security is on the table. what do you think are the right ways to do that? is the roadmap he laid out a way to go? what is necessary? what is necessary? guest: the concepts are in his
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road map. the concept of moving to an empowerment model. the empowerment of young people to take care of their health care bills. he is exactly right. he says the people who are at or near retirement age, they should have the exact same system because they made decisions based on that system. they have structured and done things in their lives because they knew this with it -- these were the parameters in place. but for younger americans, to save medicare and social security and make the systems work better, to keep our promise to americans, we have to change. we just have to change. paul is on target. i think we will see real reform in medicaid to save those
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systems and make them more efficient for the people who use them and also put us on a path that is sustainable, and that will keep us from going bankrupt. guest: you said, what we're going to see, very likely medicaid -- medicare -- what is imperative to you to be able to support an fy12 budget? do you have to have both medicaid and medicare? you did not mention social security. guest: social security does not have the financial concerns the others have in the short range. this is a sacred contract with the american people. we have to honor that. the more pressing issues are medicare and medicaid, and frankly, the dollars. the bigger dollars when you think about our budget situation. so what i think is important is that we get on a path to balance. i think it is important we get to a balanced budget in a reasonable period of time. i always use the comparison -- the average family in a big financial mess. they know they cannot get out of it in a year or two, but it should not take 60 or 70 years.
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the president's budget would never have us begin to pay down the debt. the 14 highest deficits are in the next four years and the last 10 years. 10 years. what you have to have in the 2012 budget is a plan to get you to balance within a reasonable period of time. i would argue that is defined as the budget window, the 10 year window. let's get the budget there. let's get the budget there. just getting the balance, we still have to pay down debt. the debt still goes up. under president obama's plan and under a conservative plan like i am advancing, we will still have to pay down the debt. we still need to pay down the debt. that i think makes common sense and is accepted by the american people. host: john boehner said that the case has to be made to the american people about how important this is.
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lacking the white house, how will the republican party makes this happen? guest: i think they already understand. the bigger question is will the political class demonstrate the courage the american people have in saying we understand it? there is a great column in "the washington times", called "the american miracle." what took place in 2009, and no other people in the planet would have reacted the way the american people did. his point was that in early 2009, everybody was scared. our 401k's lost value, our homes lost value. many americans lost their jobs. general motors was going bankrupt. everyone was nervous, and along came this popular president and said he was going to do this thing the government tries to do. he would do the same old, same old. he would have bailouts, a
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failed stimulus package. he was going to promise that the government would do it all. an amazing thing happened. the american people said, "you know what? know what? we will forgo the so-called protection of the state and we will embrace liberty." it was an amazing thing to watch from the town halls to the chris christie election to the judges' decision on healthcare regarding individual mandates. an amazing thing happened in the country. the american people basically said, "we are willing to do the tough things if it means a better future for our kids and grandkids." amazing. no other people in the world would have made that decision. they embraced liberty and they said, "we will forgo any type of protection from the government." and i think, in my time in public life, i have never seen the american people more receptive for the tough decisions that have to be made. the real question is -- are the politicians, do they have the
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courage to do the right thing, the discipline? and you are going to see that play out over the next six months. host: halfway through. guest: michele bachmann is leading the tea party in the house. they will have their first meeting after this upcoming recess. they are expected to have a lot of new members among the freshmen. they had 50 before the election. how do you see the republican study committee and the tea party caucus differing on policy? guest: i don't. what michele is doing is great. though i have not compared membership lists, i would venture to guess that every member of the tea party is a member of the rsc. the tea party is the energy in politics now. they have provided a great service to this country and highlighting the fiscal seriousness in this country.
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i appreciate tremendously what they are doing. they have made a difference. chris christie, bob mcdonnell, scott brown. they will continue to play a bigger role. guest: how do you see both caucuses working together? guest: michele bachus has been to rsc meetings. she's talked about it. to be honest, it is not something i think about because it is two groups working for the same goal. guest: can i ask your views on the size and scope of government and what you think is the proper level? is there a way to quantify -- say you believe there should be some, and there is too much now. so what would be the
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appropriate role for government? guest: the constitution talks about one of the things we are supposed to do with your tax dollars is protect the country. so national defense is something. there are many of us in rsc, if you look at the cr, we focused on non-defense discretionary spending because we think we are supposed to have money in national defense for our troops, for our men and women in uniform, for the protection of america. you do that. if you look at general trends, the idea that we are 25% of gdp, government spending is 25%. it is way too high. historically, we have been at 20, 17, 18, 19. in extraordinary times, it goes up, like world war ii. where we are right now is unprecedented. the fact that the president in
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his budget outline will continue that trend of having government as such a big percentage of gdp is dangerous. you look at that from an economic standpoint and you look at the constitution and say national defense is where we need to focus your dollars. guest: obviously, the military is involved and we have this new homeland security department. are there other forms of national security? in these budget cuts, we've seen the cops program, firefighter cuts and some of it has been restored. guest: it is mostly locally funded issues there. here is the fundamental question that we have to ask, and the american people have and the american people have figured out the answer -- we do not have the money. we're getting calls to our office, "what about this program? it helps kids." it may be a great program, but the answer is, we are broke. you cannot do it. it's like a family making
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$50,000 who is spending $80,000 per year. some of what they are spending that extra 30 on are good things. maybe they have a family night where they go out as a family. they got out to dinner and watch a good movie. that is all good stuff, but you know what? they cannot afford it. they have to make choices. that is the situation the federal government is in, only it is worse for us, because we have been taking in 50 and spending 80 year after year. and what the president proposed was to do it for the next 10 years. at that crazy rate. when you break it down to the way the typical family and typical small-business owner has to look at this, it is like, we are spending money on good things. the firefighters, those are all good things. you know what? we cannot do it. if we continue, it all falls in and then we cannot get back to doing what we are supposed to do, which is protecting the country, which is spending money
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on those things that are truly in the national interest. that is why we have to begin to scale back and that is why the rsc is completely focused on, look, it is not easy. politicians -- think about it -- everybody loves to spend money. politicians get to spend other people's money. it's not like it is fun to be cutting, but it has to be done. guest: one side of the ledger. the rsc looks at spending and says it will not vote for it and not be supportive of tax increases of any kind. why look at only one side of the ledger? guest: great question. because to truly deal with the numbers we are talking about -- we have a $1.6 trillion deficit, and the president has trillion dollar deficits for the next 10 years. it averages out. to truly deal with what we are talking about, you have to have economic growth. we can do all the good savings
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and reduce programs and focus and, because we are going broke, but we have to be cognizant of this simple truth -- you have to have a growing economy. there is no way we will be able to pay down this debt in the long run if we do not have economic growth. and you do not have economic growth by further penalizing the job creators, the small business owners, the families that decide to start -- if you keep taxing them, like the president is fixated on doing, $250,000 and above, you diminish the future that our kids and grandkids are going to have. frankly, we should be looking to lower tax rates. the one good thing the president has been talking about is talking about lowering the corporate tax rate. i think it is almost a patriotic thing. the fact that american companies have one of the highest corporate taxes in the world and have to compete with others that have low ones, it does not make sense. host: do you anticipate there will be comprehensive tax reform this year? or is it too much to tackle?
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guest: talk about economic growth. that would help. that would help. a simplified system would be conducive to economic growth and job creation. but it, the big focus over the next six months is going to be the spending issue, because -- in the times i have been watching the federal government, i do not know if we have ever had multiple cr's, budget, the debt ceiling, appropriations, all between now and august. it will be every single week talking about how we will achieve savings for the american people and put this budget on a path that is sustainable. guest: picking up on the debt ceiling. the president has asked congress to raise the debt limit. john boehner said it will have to come with a significant spending cuts or reform. what, in your perspective, what
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does that look like? guest: we have not finalized that. i will be frank. we have been so focused on the cr. cr. the order i anticipate it happening is the cr and budget. we have got to reach some kind of agreement on what we think is needed if, in fact, conservatives are going to consider that. the truth is conservatives are not going to raise the debt ceiling unless it is something really good for taxpayers and helps put us on the path i've been describing. in my mind, it is that important. we do not know. guest: are there a couple of key options on the table? guest: it is all general. we think serious spending cuts with the bill itself and structure and process reforms, as we go forward, whether it is spending as a percentage of gdp, whether it is a balanced budget amendment, there are lots of things being talked about.
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we think it is quickly becoming a time where we have to focus in and say, "we think this makes sense, if that will happen." host: public broadcasting funding. in the 1990's, a coalition successfully turned around an earlier effort to cut funding for public broadcasting. the "save big bird" campaign. supporters are mobilizing. who will win the battle this time? guest: i think we will. again, i come to the point, the country is going broke. "sesame street" is a wonderful thing. i watched it when i was in grade school. it is a wonderful thing, but we do not have the money. do not have the money. if you not -- if you do not begin to address it -- we introduced our spending four weeks ago. to achieve savings. we listed close to 100 programs, including this one. guys, it all has to be on the
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table. you cannot expect to do the same old, same old and expect any results. you cannot keep spending what you do not take in. every american gets that, every small business gets that. guest: you said the president, and you agree with him, wants a lower corporate tax rate. included in that is to ensure that all corporations are paying taxes. if everyone is paying, you can lower the rates. is that something that is also an area of agreement for you? guest: depends. the president also said revenue neutral. what we really want is to lower the corporate tax burden on the job creators so they can better compete with our competitors around the planet and in so doing, attract more jobs to america which will, in fact, america which will, in fact, bring in more revenue because you have economic growth. that is the whole point. this revenue neutral concept i
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have problems with. but bringing down the corporate rate -- and if that means that certain loopholes need to be fixed, ok, i guess, but the key is bringing down the overall rates that companies in this country are paying so they can better compete with companies in other countries. guest: you hope the whole revenue stream will come down in the short term so it will create greater revenue. guest: you said it exactly right. except for the word "hope." when you lower the tax burden on people that create jobs, more jobs are created and over time you generate more revenue. that can be used for programs. that can be used for programs. guest: any other issues beyond the corporate tax rate were there is an opportunity to work with the president? guest: i will have to look. nothing comes to mind. as we analyze this budget, we so disagree with the direction he took with his budget. philosophically, the president
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and i are not on the same page. host: thank you for your time. guest: thank you. pleasure to be with you. host: "newsmakers" is back with the jonathan allen. after our conversation with what looks to be enthused, energetic jim jordan, you were talking about the relationship with his organization, 185 members, and the leadership -- john boehner. what is your sense in watching this about the dynamic between the republican leadership and the republican study committee? guest: right now the republican study committee is so infused with the tea party energy that they are forcing the leadership's hand.
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they came out with a bill for the rest of the year, and they went, "heck no." they had to come up with bigger cuts. the tail is wagging the dog. if you look at that -- the overwhelming majority of the republican party, the conservative faction, the leadership has to be mindful of that, because otherwise they would become isolated in a situation where you have a democratic party, a republican democratic party, a republican study committee, and a small republican leadership party. host: you are interested in the possibility of a government shutdown over the budget battles or the deadline. the question is being asked. the standard answer is you cannot play chicken with the full faith and credit of the u.s. government. but it seems as though that might be just what people intend to do. guest: right. you have seen in the last couple days, you saw john boehner come out and say they
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will not pass a short-term funding bill without spending cuts. there will be cuts in whatever bill, even if it is only for a couple of weeks. jim jordan is somebody who is going to feel stronger on that point. point. the speaker, the republican study committee controls 2/3 of the republican conference. we are heading ever closer to that brink. and i think it's going to be interesting to watch, but honestly do not know how it will shake out, because i think the democrats will probably have to accept some cuts both in the short-term, medium-term, and bigger cuts in the long term, but the details have not been worked out. host: brinksmanship is often an effective tool in politics, but markets, domestic and global, will be watching all of this, so how much of a concern is the fragile economy to politicians in this town? guest: i think it is secondary
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to the game of chicken at the moment. both sides earnestly believe that the way that they see the world is the one that would be better for the american economy, for the world economy, for stability. host: longer term? guest: the president and john boehner talk about being the only adults in the room. i've never seen two adults get in cars and drive at each other 100 miles an hour. at some point, someone forgot to put on the brakes and get out and, you talk about chicken -- because occasionally people do not swerve, and everyone ends up in a fiery crash. i think most people hope that will not happen. they are certainly positioning themselves and posturing, each side, to make sure they win a little bit of a concession. host: mr. jordan believes he captures the american people's sentiment. sentiment.


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