Speaker Boehner Calls America's Anchorman to Explain His Proposal
July 26, 2011
RUSH: We welcome back to the program the Speaker of the House, Mr. John Boehner. Fill me in, Mr. Speaker -- and, by the way, congratulations. It was a great speech last night that you followed the president with. What are the details of this latest "deal," if I can call it that?
SPEAKER BOEHNER: Well, this agreement was worked out between myself and the bipartisan leadership in the Senate, and it's a two-step process. It cuts $1.2 trillion from the discretionary portion of the budget over the next ten years and puts spending caps in place that will make sure that that savings actually does, in fact, occur.
RUSH: When, over the next ten years, do the bulk of the spending cuts take place?
SPEAKER BOEHNER: It mounts up over time, but in the first year, you know, we're already spending $38-1/2 less than what we spent last year in that portion of the budget. This will cut another $26 billion out of real outlays going out and about $7 billion in what we call budget authority. Secondly, though, it sets up a joint select committee of the members of Congress: Six members from the House -- three Democrats, three Republicans -- and six members of the Senate. And they're charged with finding an additional $1.8 trillion worth of deficit reduction over the balance of this year. And they all meet. Any proposal that gets seven votes out of that group would go into a package where there's an automatic up-or-down vote in the House and Senate.
RUSH: Are you confident there are any Democrats Harry Reid can pick that actually want there to be cuts in spending and the debt ceiling not exceeded?
SPEAKER BOEHNER: There really are Democrats who want to cut spending, and I'm confident that our members can go in there and make the case for why America needs to act because the greatest risk to our country is not missing August the 2nd. The greatest risk is that we do not make the cuts necessary to put our financial house in order.
RUSH: Now, what would you say...? I've got an e-mail here. As you can imagine, I get e-mails constantly from people who attempt to influence my thinking. I'm sure you do, too. I've got one here that says, "Rush, the Senate Budget Committee is gonna confirm in the next hour or so that the Speaker's plan only cuts $6 billion in fiscal year '12 versus the CCB's $111 billion in the House version or $142 billion in the Senate version." Now, what do you say when people --
SPEAKER BOEHNER: Well, listen, now we're getting into budget talk. It's $7 billion in budget authority below the current year. It's $26 billion below in actual outlays that go out the door -- and again, remember, we made big cuts from last year into this year. We're gonna make more cuts going into next year. When have you ever seen a Congress in that one-third of the budget actually spend less from one year to the next? And we're gonna do it two years in row, and frankly we might even get to three years in a row.
RUSH: Okay. So we're gonna raise the debt limit in this deal through probably -- you think it will probably go to next March or April, somewhere?
SPEAKER BOEHNER: Yeah. First, if this bill were to pass, the President could ask for an increase in the debt limit up to 95% of the cuts. Remember one of the principles here: We are not gonna increase the debt limit by anything more than what we're willing to cut spending. I've said the cuts have to exceed it, he'd have to ask for it.
RUSH: He gets the new trillion dollars.
SPEAKER BOEHNER: Trillion dollars roughly and will take them probably into February, maybe March.
RUSH: Right, so he gets that immediately but the cuts are spread over ten years?
SPEAKER BOEHNER: That is correct. That is correct.
SPEAKER BOEHNER: Rush?
SPEAKER BOEHNER: We waited too long to deal with the problem -- and when we got 10,000 Baby Boomers like us retiring every day, more money for Social Security, more money for Medicare, it's just a fact. But I believe that the joint select committee can in fact produce real cuts in spending. But there's a third part of this, Rush, and that is that it requires the House and Senate to have a vote on a balanced budget amendment after October 1st and before the joint committee would report -- and the idea here is twofold. One is to get all of our friends on the same page as to which balanced budget amendment, and secondly, to allow the American people our members and others to put pressure on these liberal members of Congress to step up and to vote for a balanced budget amendment -- and, frankly, we need time to build that support because today, I'm not sure it's there.
RUSH: Well, what happens -- and I want to go back -- when we get to next April when this new trillion-dollar line of credit that's being added expires and we're right back where we are today?
SPEAKER BOEHNER: That's the point the President's making. That's why he wants a $2.4 trillion blank check today that lets him continue his spending spree. If, in fact, the joint committee does not report the Congress is going to have to act, and we could be right where we are today. But it's the only way to force the Congress to make the cuts necessary to get our fiscal house in order. Now, I'll be the first one to tell you, this plan isn't perfect. Again, it was an agreement between both houses of the Congress.
RUSH: What are the main criticisms you're getting of it?
SPEAKER BOEHNER: Well, some people are concerned that the joint committee, "My God, they might raise taxes." Well, I'm gonna tell you what: It's gonna be pretty hard for the joint committee to do that. I don't believe that the Republicans on this committee that get appointed are gonna vote to increase taxes -- and if they did, I don't believe the House of Representatives would approve the report of the joint committee. So I don't fear that problem -- and, frankly, I'm not afraid of the debate. If they want to have that debate, let's have it.
RUSH: I spoke to you on Thursday and it was a major concern yours that the country not default on credit ratings. Our credit rating has already been downgraded by a couple of agencies. They tried a trick over the weekend, the President did, "The markets are gonna open on Monday, the Asian markets!" and I saw a chart: The Asian markets were not affected by this at all. All of these scare tactics are being used to try to her this along, and of course the vast majority of people that voted last November actually want the debt ceiling lowered! That's what this is all about. They want it lowered. They want spending really reduced because we don't have the money, can't afford it. They're worried about their kids' futures.
SPEAKER BOEHNER: Let's separate the two issues, Rush. The debt ceiling is about debts that America has already incurred, obligations that we've already made. It's like you going out and buying something on your credit card. You're obligated to pay for it, and these debts have already been incurred -- and, frankly, I think it's the moral obligation of our government to meet its debts. Having said that, it is time. If you're charging more than what you can afford, it's time to start spending less. What I'm trying to do is set up a scenario with this bill that we're trying to move through the House to force the Congress to finally act.
RUSH: What happens if there's a deadlock on this blue ribbon committee? I've got about 35 seconds. What happens if there's a deadlock and they can't move forward on anything?
BOEHNER: Then Congress will have to go through the regular process, which isn't that hard in the House. It's much harder in the Senate, and frankly this joint select committee was set up to facilitate a real vote to cut spending in the United States Senate.
RUSH: All right. Well, I appreciate your time again. We're out of it. I wish I had more, but we don't.
SPEAKER BOEHNER: All right, Rush! We'll see you.
RUSH: Speaker John Boehner.
RUSH: Well, in a nutshell, Speaker Boehner seemed to be saying that we're never really gonna be able to cut spending seriously because of all the Baby Boomers retiring. And we got another congressional commission, blue ribbon or whatever you want to call it, we've had one of those. It's called Simpson-Bowles, and everybody's ignored it, forgotten about it.