House Republican Conference Chairman and Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (JSC) Co-Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) appeared on CNN’s State of the Union this morning to discuss the ongoing negotiations of the JSC.
On the status of negotiations
“I think it is important to note that the committee has both a goal and a duty and in many respects the duty is more important than the goal. The duty is to put forth legislation that actually addresses our long-term structural debt. Now the president himself has said that the drivers of our debt are Medicare, Medicaid and health care. Nothing else comes close. “So to me what we really have to focus on is that duty, and that is to find programs -- find a way to reform Medicare and Medicaid and our health care programs to get good retirement security and health security for our seniors at a cost that doesn't bankrupt our children.”
On the November 23rd deadline
“A number of plans have already been on the table. Republicans put forth a plan in our House budget -- which by the way would have reduced the deficit by almost $5 trillion over what the president was proposing. “Now Democrats have rejected that plan, but there is a plan with legislative language that the Congressional Budget Office says will actually strengthen and save Medicare. Well, Democrats rejected that. So we have gone to the Democrats and said, OK, if you don't like our plan, at least put a plan on the table. And if you don't, here's a bipartisan plan we would be willing to negotiate around, and that is the Rivlin-Domenici Medicare plan.”
“Tax(es) are already going up by any measurement: nominal terms, real terms as part of the president's health care plan, and expiration of tax relief. “And so we believe that, frankly, increasing tax revenues could hurt the economy but within the context of the bipartisan negotiation with Democrats, clearly they are a reality. So we put a half a trillion dollars of revenues on the table. Some of that fees, but $250 (billion) of it is what most people call static tax revenue. But that is in the context of bringing down marginal rates of tax reform- fundamental tax reform to make the tax code fair, simpler, more competitive to create jobs. “And as we're dealing with the debt crisis, we don't want to make the jobs crisis even worse. So that's what has been put on the table. So we Republicans, we want more revenues, we just want to raise it by growing the economy.”