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Republican Study Committee’s Jim Jordan on why the showdown has be now.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

HH: Pleased to welcome back Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio’s 4th Congressional district, chairman of the Republican Study Committee. Congressman, always a pleasure, welcome back.

JJ: Good to be with you guys tonight. How are you doing, Hugh?

HH: Good. Now Congressman, I am told that you and your brother can wrestle a little bit.

JJ: Now, well, we’re washed-up has-beens. But my brother’s a very successful coach, so he does a nice job with his team. In fact, I’ll brag for a second. They just won their 11th straight state title a week and a half ago, so it was a fun time for our family.

HH: 11 straight?

JJ: Yeah, he does a good job coaching. He’s the smart one. He’s in business making money running his wrestling camp, and I’m the one in politics.

HH: Can you bring him back to the House Republican caucus and have him wrestle these appropriators to the ground?

JJ: Well, there’s times you wonder, aren’t there?

HH: Well, I just had Jack Kingston on. I like Jack, but…

JJ: He’s a great guy, yeah.

HH: Honestly, I think they think we’re stupid, Congressman, because I mean, nothing’s getting done. You guys are wasting a mandate. What’s going on?

JJ: Well, I think you’re right. And as I said today, I don’t think it’s any type of debate on principle. I believe our leadership believes we need to cut spending, and we need to do some of the good policy initiatives that we put forward. But it is question of timing and tactics and strategy, and I think you’re exactly right. It’s time to push. It’s time to have the showdown with the Senate, and encourage the Senate and the White House to get to work, to get off the dime, and do what needed to be done for the taxpayers and families of this country.

HH: Now Congressman, there was a Daily Caller piece today in which a GOP aide unloads on the conservatives. He says the following, “These people aren’t thinking clearly. Their logic doesn’t pan out. They have no plan. What concessions were they going to get if they failed? They were going to shut down the federal government over Planned Parenthood? It’s totally reactionary. These people get elected to lead. Instead, they got jerked around by the political equivalent of music critics. If these people knew anything about governing, they’d be in Congress, not lobbing bombs from the cheap seats, and sending out fundraising emails.”

JJ: Hugh…

HH: Does anyone have any idea how destructive that is?

JJ: Hugh, I mean, look. I don’t know who wrote that. Obviously, I disagree. Look, there was an election on November 2nd, where the people spoke loudly and clearly. And they said cut the crazy spending, do all you can to stop Obamacare, we don’t like this assault on freedom and liberty, and oh, by the way, an important part of Obamacare debate, and something we care deeply about, is not having our tax dollars used to take the life of unborn children. It couldn’t have been more plain. And somehow, if we come to Congress and to fight to get those things accomplished, somehow we’re being obstructionists? I just don’t buy that line. And that’s not our intent. Our intent is to do exactly what we told the voters. You know, here’s the model. This guy in New Jersey? He’s doing exactly what he told the voters he was going to do. He’s going to cut spending, he’s not going to raise taxes, because he wants to create an environment that’s conducive to job growth and job creation. He’s doing exactly what he said, and the people are saying you know what? We appreciate the refreshing approach that this political figure, this politician is taking. And they’re supportive of that. That’s what the American people crave right now, and that’s what we’re trying to give them by pushing to have this vote take place early, and get the Senate to move.

HH: It’s not that…it’s candor, honor, purpose and courage. And I just think that the base is deserting in droves because of this. So my question is, do you think we’ve seen the last of the extensions?

JJ: I actually think we are. I think you’re going to see a showdown and a push to get what we sent over there, which remember, by the way, Hugh, it was a good bill we sent over, the long term C.R., the one that’ll carry us through the rest of the fiscal year. But it was just a first step. It wasn’t going to solve the fiscal problem. But it was a good down payment, a good first step, it had some good policy initiatives in it. And that’s why you saw conservatives support it. And frankly, that’s why you’re seeing conservatives say let’s get on with it. Let’s push for that and get that done, so we can also get to the next year’s budget, and cut even more spending, and begin to put this country on a path that’s actually sustainable. Remember…think about this, Hugh. Switch the roles. Imagine if we had, this is another reason we think it’s time to have the showdown. Imagine if you had two conservative groups who had done and said what NPR and Planned Parenthood did and said, if you had two conservatives do that, on tape, on videotape. Can you imagine what the Democrats could be doing?

HH: Sure.

JJ: Can you imagine what the left would…the left would go crazy. They would be demanding every single Republican disavow this organization, sign some statement. They would be going crazy. And do you think they would try to defund those same comparable groups in a C.R? Of course they would. And so that’s why we’re saying we think it’s time to push, we know our leadership is committed to that, it’s just a matter of tactics, timing and strategy. And we’re saying we think the time is right, and this strategy is right to go after them now.

HH: Well, you are out there communicating this, and I believe this argument can be won. Jack doesn’t believe that independent, Jack Kingston, doesn’t believe independent voters are totally dialed in, he doesn’t hear this in his district. I don’t know which district he’s from, but I’ve got to get down there, because it’s a different district than any one I’ve been to. My question is, does the caucus now come together, and does the RSC come after and say to the leadership now, and we go the mat, and we’re not going to give up on Planned Parenthood, on Obamacare regs, carbon regs, and NPR? We have to have those things.

JJ: Yeah, I think you’re exactly right. And I do think we come together, because I think the commitment across the Republican conference is strong to do just what you described. In fact, that’s why it was in a House H.R. 1. That’s why it was in the bill we initially sent to the Senate. So I do think that’s going to happen, and that’s certainly what RSC is pushing for, and conservative members are pushing for.

HH: Now in terms of the RSC, do they have the ability to vote resolutions? Is there a way that they can act with unanimity within the larger caucus?

JJ: There’s no real procedure for that. I mean, what we do, well, I’ll take you back on H.R. 1, when we were having a debate within the conference about the amount of savings we wanted to achieve for the taxpayers. When we go to conference, members stand up and speak. And that’s where you get a sense of it. And that day that we were able to move the number to a bigger number of savings for American taxpayers, it was, I think, had a lot to do with the fact that many RSC members stood up at that conference, and we said we appreciate where we’re headed, but we think we need to do more. And that’s why we got the $100 billion in savings from what the President initially requested, $61 billion from where we’re currently spending in the first bill. So yeah, that’s the procedure you use. You speak at conference.

HH: Okay, last question, I really believe at this point if we don’t come to grips with this, that you’ll see Tea Party activists, and even conservative base people not running primary challenges, but electing Democrats and targeting leadership for payback. Are they aware of this? I mean, do you think the caucus leader gets it?

JJ: Yeah, no one’s advocating that. What we’re advocating is let’s just do what was said, and let’s recognize the gravity of the situation. We had the largest deficit in American history in the shortest month of the year. This February, we had $220 billion in deficit. We’ve got a $1.6 trillion dollar deficit for the year, $14 trillion dollar debt. The window of opportunity to fix this thing is closing rapidly. Let’s get after it. That’s our point.

HH: Congressman Jim Jordan, good luck in that, but I’ve got to tell you, I do believe people are going to go after the leadership, and so please pass it along that they don’t, no surprises, they’ve got to get to closure on this. They’ve got to come…they might not win. The public might turn against them. But they can’t sit out and there and not engage. I mean, that’s the whole deal.

JJ: I think you’re right. I think it’s time to have this standoff and this showdown, and push for what the American people sent us here to push for.

HH: Congressman Jim Jordan, a pleasure, and congratulations to your brother. Sometime, I’ve got to talk to him. 11 state titles in the land of wrestling. That’s…

JJ: Thank you so much. Take care.

HH: That’s amazing. Take care.

End of interview.

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