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I'm announcing that his dinner with twelve Republican senators at the White House last night was quote constructive.
They apparently covered big issues like the economy and immigration as well as gun control all of which have been.
So much in the headlines over the course -- this week -- joined now by South Dakota Republican senator John -- Who was in attendance last night -- and that's such a vegetables and that dinner there that they -- at the White House is the chairman of the senate.
Republican conference and he joins me now ask senator welcome.
Always good to have you and us thanks so much this morning Martha thank you -- Anderson has a very tiny room -- you had dinner and that that's sort of forces everybody to be really.
Upping each other's faces so to speak what was it like -- there.
Well as it was very it was nice the president was very very gracious with his time listened patiently to what what we had to say so.
From that standpoint it was a constructive discussion as you mentioned we covered a lot of subjects principally.
Spending the budget the president's budget tax reform things like that I tried to focus on things that I thought were important economic growth.
We got some very grim economic news last month and the month of march we had half a million people who quit looking for work.
The labor participation rate was lowest level since since 1979.
-- so there's a real issue out there in terms of what we can do to stimulate and grow the economy and that's what I thought that's I think the president and we appear in congress ought to be focused on right now -- Brought that up I'm curious about the labor participation rate and that the bleak numbers that we got on the jobs front what was the president's reaction to that.
Well I think that the president is obviously like all of us concerned about getting the economy growing but the challenge I think we have -- we have very different ideas about how to do that in.
As you saw it reflected in the president's budget he he didn't do anything to address the long term drivers.
Are spending in our -- he instead relied on tax increases and I think that's the big challenge that we have most of us up here believe.
That in order for us to get our fiscal house in order to stimulate and grow the economy great jobs and an -- take -- pay for middle class Americans.
We need to reform the tax -- we need to approve projects like Keystone Pipeline but we've also got to have a spending plan that addresses.
Restructuring and reforming entitlement programs the president wants to instead rely on tax increases which we think are very harmful to -- -- that now and I think it up last night had back -- Well I just think it's it's it's a very hits it I came away from the meeting.
Thinking that we're a long ways apart on this now the good news is that people are talking and hopefully there's there's that you know sweet spot -- we can find some consensus by -- Is already says senator excuse me right after he he says you know -- -- earning more than met the Republicans halfway.
You know he feels that doing the -- CPI which I'm sure this makes a lot of people's eyes glaze over but.
You know if it doesn't change our finances all that dramatically never gonna start arguing over -- CPI.
Are we a long way from sort of beginning to fix this this debt situation.
We are and most of us give him credit for at least.
Rolling out a chain CPI fix -- your right more people's eyes glaze over but that scratches the surface of what needs to be -- in terms of reforming.
-- -- -- And again that the president in his budget it's very clear in the in the good contrast in approaches here one is more spending more debt.
More taxes that we believe we've got to get spending under control and we need to put -- and.
And let me Wimbledon -- at a taxes won't do that and I don't concerns have been on senator I -- has been.
It was it your feeling do you leave the dinner feeling like there was any room to move in terms of spending cuts.
From from the president's side.
-- -- I don't see that I mean I think I think there's some some into some interest in doing some spending cuts in the area of Medicare change CPI.
I think the discretionary budget there's some additional savings that he proposes in his budget but the real issue here.
Is not on the table and that's what are we gonna do to reform Social Security Medicare Medicaid those things that are driving federal spending.
And and I he insists upon and I think this is where we're gonna have a very big difference of opinion Republicans believe the tax issue was settled when he got the big tax increase that he wanted on January 1.
And that now he did talk about spending the president wants to talk.
About more revenues that is you have very big differences are very hard to figure out how we get this done.
I thank you so much senator and it's it's very good to have you with us and it fascinating figure out what what happened in their last night.
We'll see stand and make things sounds good thanks.
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