Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi appeared on Fox News Sunday today. Below are selected excerpts:
Leader Pelosi. Well, I think that sequestration is a bad idea all around. It should be something that is out of the question. The fact is we’ve had plenty of spending cuts – $1.6 trillion dollars in the Budget Control Act – what we need is growth. We need growth with jobs and if you have spending cuts – the education of our children and other investments like the National Institutes of Health, where you are hindering growth, you’re not going to reduce the deficit.
So, what we do need is more revenue and more cuts – where I would like to see that is in a big, balanced, bold proposal, short of that we must do something to avoid the sequester.
On Speaker Boehner’s “Spending Problem:”
Leader Pelosi. Let’s just back up from – with all due respect to the Speaker, what he’s said is not the gospel truth. The fact is that a lot of the spending increases came during the Bush Administration – two unpaid for wars that we got ourselves engaged in, prescription drug plan that added enormous amounts to our spending, and the tax cuts for the high end that did not create jobs and create revenue coming in.
So, that’s how we got to a place…
Mr. Wallace. But the total debt has increased $5 trillion since this President came in.
Leader Pelosi. Well, part of that is from what we had to do avoid going over the cliff of a recession – depression. Yes, we had the Recovery Act which saved or created 3.5 million jobs – you know the record of job growth in the private sector has been consistent for many, record number of months.
So, again, we have to make a judgment about what to – how do we get growth with jobs? That’s where the real revenue comes from, you don’t get it by cutting down your seed corn, cutting in education, cutting back on investments in science and National Institutes of Health, food safety, you name it.
So, it isn’t as much a spending problem as it is a priorities [problem] and that’s what a budget is: setting priorities.
Mr. Wallace. But you talk about growth – even Christina Romer, the former Head of the Council of Economic Advisers for the President says: ‘you increase taxes, that also hurts growth.’
Leader Pelosi. Well, it’s about timing, it’s about timing, and it’s about timing as to when you make cuts as well. We…
Mr. Wallace. But could you – the fiscal cliff you raised taxes $650 billion right away.
Leader Pelosi. Yeah, and that was a very good thing to do on people making over – the high end in our population. So, here’s the thing though: we are here to have a budget that has revenue coming in, that has investments made into the future, we also want to make decisions in those two areas where growth with jobs are created because the more jobs, the more revenue coming in. Nothing brings more revenue to the Treasury of the United States than investment in [the] education of the American people.
So, we have to recognize that. Which cuts really help us and which cuts hurt our future? And cuts in education, scientific research, and the rest are harmful and they are what are affected by the sequestration. So, it is almost a false argument to say we have spending problem – we have a budget deficit problem that we have to address. Right now we have low interest on the national debt and it’s a good time for us to act to lower that deficit. We think that the deficit and the national debt are at immoral levels, they must be reduced, we’re sick and tired of paying interest on the national debt and that’s 15 percent – that’s a large percentage of the budget, the interest on the national debt, it’s lower now because of the lower interest rates.
Mr. Wallace. But, again, all I would say is we got a $3.5 trillion budget and they’re talking about $85 billion in cuts. But let me, let’s go to the taxes though…
Leader Pelosi. Okay, but before you leave spending – we agreed to $1.6 trillion in spending and discretionary domestic spending…
Mr. Wallace. But the sequestration is just spending cuts.
Leader Pelosi. Right. Secondly, we have gone to Medicare and had savings of over a trillion dollars in Medicare already – when I say we, I mean the Democrats. And what Republicans budgets are proposing is to make a voucher of Medicare, no longer make it a guarantee. There are other things in this discussion that I think the American people are made fully aware of – understand what it means in their daily lives.