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Republican Study Committee Chairman, Jim Jordan

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

HH: Joined now by Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio’s 4th Congressional district, but also the chairman of the Republican Study Committee. Congressman Jordan, welcome back, great to have you.

JJ: Good to be with you, Hugh.

HH: Can you give us an update on where we are, Monday afternoon, after what may have been another round of secret meetings at the White House?

JJ: Well, who know what took place there, but what I do know is that the American people are embracing this idea that we need to cut, and then we need to cap, and then we also need a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution to permanently fix the problem. So we are excited about that. The President, obviously, issued his threat that he would veto this legislation if it got to his desk. I think that…and he gave some strange statement about why it was not responsible and dangerous to actually balance our budget. So I think the more Americans hear about this common sense plan, the more they’re going to like it, because it is, in fact, common sense. And so I’m pleased with where we’re headed. We’re going to have a vote tomorrow, and let’s continue to push for what makes sense for the country.

HH: Okay, so you pass cut, cap and balance, it goes over to the Senate, and they refuse, as it widely expected, to even take it up, much less to pass it.

JJ: Yeah.

HH: And some version of the McConnell bill comes back to you. What do you think the House does at that point, Jim Jordan?

JJ: Well, yeah, let me do two things. First, we’re not going to, conservatives are certainly not going to go for that McConnell plan. I mean, that makes absolutely no sense. The American people in the last election sent us here to make the tough choices and do the right things. And giving the President, basically, veto authority over this, and to create more commissions, it’s whole gobbledygook type of, it makes absolutely no sense. So that’s certainly not going to fly with me and a bunch of other conservatives in the House, if in fact that gets brought up. But what I’m actually thinking is you know, think about all the Democrat Senators who are up. If we get this bill out of the House tomorrow, and I this bill will come out with a strong vote from Republicans, if we get it to the Senate, and let’s assume that Senator DeMint and others over there can get past the parliamentary hurdles, and the procedural hurdles that exist in the Senate, and get this on the floor. If there’s a vote, these Senators, they’re up for reelection in 15 months – a whole bunch of them. And it’s funny how upcoming elections have a way of making people find Jesus. And they may actually see the light and say you know what, I don’t know if I want to be voting against the balanced budget act. I don’t know if I want to be voting against caps on spending. So that’s…and the more this builds with the American people, I actually think we have a chance here.

HH: Well, agreed that a lot of Democrats would think twice against voting for it, and maybe, in some alternative universe, it will get to the President’s desk. But he’ll veto it. You can’t have, you know, none of us believe you have the votes to override a veto. So we’re coming up on August 3rd, and markets, et cetera, are worried that there will be a collision with the debt ceiling, and that we’ll get a four figure market sell-off. Are you concerned about that, Jim Jordan?

JJ: What I’m much more concerned about is where we’re headed. What I’m much more concerned about is the debt crisis that virtually economist now will tell you is coming in two to three years. What I’m much more concerned about is the future of the greatest nation in history, and where we stand fiscally as we head down this path that everybody knows we cannot sustain. That’s what I’m much more concerned with. And instead of the President standing up and scaring people, he should put a plan on the table. Instead of him standing up and saying oh, Social Security…here’s the facts. In the month of August, there is enough money in that month coming into the Treasury of the United States to pay the bondholders, to pay Social Security recipients, and to pay the men and women who wear the uniform of our country and defend our nation. There is enough money to do all that. So for the President to stand up, without a plan, without any specific plan, and scare people is just not what the president of the United States of America should be doing. And that is so frustrating to me, and I think it’s frustrating to countless other Americans around this great country. So that’s what we’ve got to focus on, is where we’re headed. Hugh, you know the facts. We pay $200 billion a year in interest. And right now, interest rates are record low, historic low. They’re going to go up. If they go up just modestly, within the next decade, we will be paying more in interest than we currently spend on national defense. Now everybody knows that is not a model you can sustain.

HH: But also, everybody knows if the Republicans fold, Congressman, like they have a couple of times this year already, that the threat to go to the wall doesn’t really get the President to move. Everyone thinks the Republicans are going to fold. Do you have the votes to stop anything other than cut, cap and balance?

JJ: Yeah. And look, I will tell you, I’m willing to stand strong for…the only plan that I’m going to support is the cut, cap and balance plan. And that, and I think there are lots of members in the House of Representatives who have that same position. I mean, many of these guys were elected this last fall to do…for this very moment, for a time such as this.

HH: There are 218 of you?

JJ: Yup.

HH: That is impressive.

JJ: I hope. Well look, I don’t know. Well, what I’m saying is there are lots of conservatives in the 240 member Republican conference who aren’t going to support a plan like McConnell, who aren’t going to cave for something like that, who are going to stand strong and say we need the cut, cap and balance plan. That’s the common sense plan. Let’s do it before August 2nd, and avoid any problem then, and fix the country long term.

HH: I agree with you, Congressman. It’ll be interesting to see if you can keep the conference together. Thanks for joining us today, Jim Jordan of Ohio’s 4th Congressional district.

End of interview.

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