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President Obama and Mitt Romney gave us a preview this week of a central issue in the fall campaign.
What to do about the country's growing debt while also getting the economy going again joining us now to continue the discussion and perhaps helped separate the rhetoric from reality are two leading senators.
Republican Ron Johnson is a key member of that committee morning gentlemen welcome and happy Easter.
Happy -- -- -- -- -- W senator Conrad you have been over the years one of the people who warned most vigorously.
About a coming debt crisis.
And the -- and the bulging national debt.
Chairman of the Budget Committee.
We're now approaching three years since a budget was passed.
And you're about to retire.
How do you feel about that.
I feel good about retiring that's for -- let me just say this.
Notion that we have not had a budget for three years is just wrong.
Last year we passed the budget control act and if you read the budget control act that makes very clear.
That it stands in place of a budget resolution in many ways it is stronger than a budget resolution because of budget -- a little slower this concludes the law require.
That you and activist.
What the budget control act does is stand in place of -- budget resolution it has in its language what's called a beaming resolution.
And it says very clearly.
That the spending limits put in place by the budget control act.
Are the spending limits just as -- budget resolution would provide them but it stronger.
Because of budget resolution is purely a congressional document.
Never goes to the president for signature the budget control act is law.
And had not only sets a limit for this year and next.
It sets spending limits for ten.
Years -- so that's I mean the budget control act is maybe couple dozen numbers mean the president's budget which by the way lost.
His budget last year lost zero to 97 in in the senate in two weeks go his current budget lost -- 414.
In the house the presence bugs are -- 500 pages long has all kinds of numbers and that's that's actually -- real budget it's not a serious budget.
That's true -- a budget is budget control act -- justly say just just about 24 numbers it is simply not adequate at all.
So Senator -- you nonetheless are preparing now to try to bring a budget to the -- -- right the look.
It's very clear the budget control act.
Does provide the spending limits gotcha this year and got -- -- a lot of what I wanna make real but the point because I hear over and over in no budget for three years.
The fact is there is.
And the fact is what we don't -- is a longer term plan.
What we need I believe -- at least a ten year plan that's -- I'm going to mark up.
The first week that we're back in session.
And what we need to do is work on a long term plan that gets deficits in -- under control.
And has a way of bringing us together because if we don't get together we can accomplish and.
-- assurance that should you produce such a document from your committee.
Here majority leader senator Reid would bring it to the floor.
That becomes a matter of time I think senator Reid has made the judgment probably quite correctly.
That there is very little chance that we're gonna get the two sides together before the election -- two -- -- -- house and senate.
No I mean Republicans and them -- those and it's a matter of time -- matter will.
In fact the matter is there are no plans -- present has put forward for budgets now.
No plan no no plan -- a seasonal spirit got it about budget budget we know didn't succeed I'm talking now about yes -- -- -- so you've got you've got 23 democratic senate seats up.
Sixteen of those democratic senators running for election.
They don't want their fingerprints on a plan that's why they didn't pass a budget the last two years they don't want to pass a budget and and actually commit to a plan.
The can be -- No offense look at what they do the Ryan's wife he brings -- if he offers a budget in committee hears it and senior member of the committee and and -- -- government Republicans on the committee.
You compared to active to vote to bring such a plan to the floor absolutely we're would we boredom -- -- but we have to force -- -- -- I guess I morning.
Will any democratic senator should bring present it going bottom Obama's -- in -- only takes 51 votes you get client you get funny Democrats presumably in more than 51.
What's hard about it produce a budget bring -- -- the -- what's hard about that.
That is what what's hard what is hard is.
Actually getting results what is hired.
Is producing a plan that both sides can support because look.
We've got the senate both sides will need to support do you know Finland and a Democrat that it has a vote you know the last time I checked.
Gets enacted in just one house.
You gotta have both houses and his signature by the house right so how do you do that how do you actually produce a plan bullet that can.
Get through both sides and be signed by the president look I've I was under the present budget if you pass a budget and in a negotiated government version with -- house and doesn't go to the president.
-- of the budget resolution does not that's why.
The budget control act that we passed is stronger than about -- -- -- that but you let it pass a budget anyway.
Then it has to be implemented that means appropriations bills have to be passed and the president has to science so look.
Anybody that this is the regular order there isn't -- radio -- regular order is first you have a budget.
Then you have appropriations bills we have a budget now we're gonna have appropriations bills the president isn't gonna make judgments on those what we still lack -- let's be.
We we've we've got to get serious about what is required.
We've got to have a long term plan.
The only way you're gonna have a long term plan the sustainable.
As we get Democrats and Republicans to agree I I was part of the fiscal commission Bowles Simpson.
There are eleven of eighteen of -- -- five Democrats five Republicans one independent.
And reduce the debt from one or whatever otherwise be by more than four trillion dollars.
That is what is required and -- does -- get done I don't think it's gonna happen with the vote on the senate floor before the election.
Rick what we need his leadership and we are sorely lacking presidents we sure remember this Mr.
President promised to cut the deficit in half by him his first term.
Hasn't exactly producing he's added five trillion dollars of debt.
-- in getting our children or grandchildren.
No leadership whatsoever no plan to see Social Security no plan to save -- water -- and even leadership in screening process we -- which is why.
Which is why we need change present time -- I get that point.
-- -- But you don't need present the president to do anything.
For the Senate's right to you need -- you need Senate Leadership these senators Harry Reid to support senator Conrad in bringing a budget to the floor.
-- or forty -- we should on this April 1 we should pass a budget -- fifteenth the house started on house is -- of the right the Ryan budget.
It's been harshly criticized by the president and and many others.
Would you be prepared to support that budget if you can Google -- -- lifting most Republicans in the senate would -- we will probably try and force of Florida that is we'll probably trying to force a vote -- -- we'll.
Prop probably not and that that's real shame because again we you have take -- look.
At the overall problem here -- -- ten years ago our federal government over the last -- spent twenty trillion dollars.
The argument moving forward is the house budget was spent forty trillion over the next ten years pres Obama wants to spend 47 trillion when cutting anything we're just trying to limit.
The rate of growth in government.
But what about a dozen you know because they've been called a radical budget social darwinism.
It written it goes to forty trillion dollars instead of 47 and doesn't sound too radical you know -- that budget is deja Vu all over again look.
The last time these guys were in charge the Bush Administration Republicans controlled at all.
They took us to the brink of financial collapse with their policies.
At the end of the Bush Administration the economy was shrinking at a rate of 9% -- -- is losing 800000.
Private sector jobs a month but now the economy budget.
It has everything to do it because he has the same set of policies.
Contained in that budget that took us to the brink of financial collapse we really want to repeat that we really want to go back to the economy shrinking.
At a rate of 9% losing your -- every thousand prior.
-- really doesn't -- fifth of its spending.
Over the years incumbent on -- budget we're go to forty trillion instead of 47 -- plunges into another was a deep recession.
No I'm talking about the totality is of the policies contain that budget.
It goes right back to the bush era policies that took this country to the brink of financial collapse losing 800000.
Private sector -- must now.
Assume let's assume that you're able.
To get a budget resolution to the floor.
And pass it lose many voters.
He can get.
Do you think that you and Paul Ryan could sit down together at a conference committee with a group -- your colleagues and hammer out a compromise budget that you can live with.
I don't know because this represented Brian was part of the Bowles Simpson commission.
He was one of the members who did not support the conclusion.
That is the only bipartisan conclusion we have -- support.
-- -- Actually put it in place.
Did more than sport and he put a big plays totally ignored no leadership and I -- I don't think that's fair -- look.
You know he asked me for my advice -- look if you embrace this totality.
Bowles Simpson what will happen -- Republicans in the house will not automatically be against it so.
You need do you need to make the case for why it's necessary.
But you need those of us in congress to work it out look.
I'll tell you senator Johnson is a serious member and by the way we should wish him happy birthday.
We'll have visited president thank you happy Easter and here he is I'd say this he is a serious member of the Budget Committee.
I believe people of good faith working together I think it's gonna take after the election.
Are gonna have an opportunity because all the tax cuts are about to expire will be staring sequestering affairs lame duck session -- -- -- either could either of them either them or.
In the first part of next year -- it -- But I appreciate senator parents kind comments was -- -- I ran the United States senate not only reps -- Wisconsin but small and medium sized businesses.
Which -- feel they're under assault by this administration.
Mean the assault in terms of regulatory over burdening in terms of increasing tax rates from 35 cent to 44 point 8%.
Under the obamacare law.
It is so disputing so disheartening which is why this upcoming election so incredibly important for ourselves and a path not have a government centered society.
But one of an opportunity society led by free people and free enterprise yes -- it is extremely stark choice.
In the November election.
And that's a really I think what's so important as a consumer the only way this is gonna get done -- with real leadership and President Obama -- has shown itself not providing issue whatsoever.
Whatever -- you may believe and budget has -- does address.
The burgeoning growth of spending on health care particularly this especially on Medicare it also stabilizes -- the long term debt to GDP ratio answers -- down which is the most dangerous -- understand.
-- -- -- That issue's going to have to be addressed I'd suspect you would like can someone to -- -- now.
You know again I was part of Bowles Simpson as part of group sex and both those venues we had serious reforms to health care.
For example with the document you know to produce.
In the senate encompass them.
A part of it look.
Again what's needed is a bipartisan agreement.
And what we have to have bipartisan agreement if you went to do to get it passed through both houses aren't exactly that's really my thing I don't know if it's possible but.
I don't know if it's possible before the election.
I think you know you just had a vote on Bowles Simpson house only get 38 votes because that I think that demonstrates both sides.
Are unwilling to come together before the election but after the election.
When we're FaceBook overhaul of the tax cuts expiring and were faced with.
Sequester and that will be the time to think -- and people have.
Laura -- minds is that it's that this was related errors in your career appears in in the in the senate anyway you -- -- lame duck session.
You get this done and you write out a -- glory right.
A tea and nothing would please me more of an -- -- part of the solution this is something I've devoted 26 years -- I believe deeply.
In the need to get our fiscal house in order to get us back on track I've spent five years hundreds and hundreds of hours in these bipartisan efforts.
And I believe we could be close.
We could be close to getting a resolution last word quickly -- Republicans are willing to work with people like.
Senator Conrad but we need presidential leadership and we have done all right gentlemen thank you for coming in -- -- to this.
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