AM Colorado, Cory Gardner, 2/24/2011

Station: KFKA 1310 AM

Show: AM Colorado

Guest: Cory Gardner


Date: 2/24/2011

Topics: Libya, Budget

Click here for Audio

KFKA: We’re joined by Representative Cory Gardner. Good morning, Cory. How are you doing?

Gardner: Good morning. I’m doing great. How are you guys doing?

KFKA: We are doing well. We saw that you were dealing with – I don’t know – it seems like there’s so many bigger issues right now – the balanced budget, the threat of a government shutdown – and yesterday, you’re getting accosted over, you know, delivering a message to President Obama about, you know, the Libyans and what they, you know, how they should be treated. Is that really – you know, in these town hall meetings – is that what you’re looking for?

Gardner: Well, you know there’s really no shortage of major issues, and there’s no place for the kind of violence that’s occurred in Libya and the impact that it could have on this country, and I hope that democracy and freedom prevails in the Middle East – as we always hope. But certainly, our focus has been, as well, on the budget and the economy, and getting our spending under control. If we’re going – if we’re going to create a long-term economic growth pattern in this country, we’ve got to cut government spending.

KFKA: Absolutely, and before we get away from the topic entirely and into that, what are your thoughts on the strife in the Middle East, these – you know, kind of domino effect of all these countries using the Internet, essentially, you know, Twitter and Facebook to – overwhelm their government?

Gardner: You know, it’s interesting, I have long held that our foreign policy has been changed by the connectedness of the world – the fact that people can use Facebook and Twitter to really kind of get the word out about what’s happening in their movement. And the – obviously I am on the side of freedom, and believe that freedom will lift humanity up, and end poverty around the world – the greater the spread – the greater we have freedom spread around the world. The question is whether will indeed endure and whether or not we will have democratic put in place – democracies put in place.

KFKA: So, back at home – a balanced budget.

Gardner: Yup.

KFKA: That’s the big one. Now you guys have the week off, right?

Gardner: Yes, we do. I left the house this morning at 5:30 to go to a town meeting in Boulder County. We’ve been all over the place, so it’s a district work week –

KFKA: Yeah.

Gardner: And we’ve put thousands of miles on already.

KFKA: Okay. A balanced budget – what are the first steps? They’re talking about a government shutdown if we don’t get things under control here. It’s – it’s a scary time for everybody, and we’ll all thinking back too 1995 – the last government shutdown was not a pretty one. What – what are some of the – the hot points on your plate right now?

Gardner: Well, you know, the only people who seem to be talking or actually rooting for a government shutdown are Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. The Republicans simply want to cut spending, and right now the proposals that have been put forward by our counterparts in the Senate seems to ignore the fact that we have a major spending crisis in this country, and they don’t want to cut one single dime. And so, I look forward to hearing from Harry Reid why he can’t even find a single dollar of cuts that he would like to put forward.

KFKA: That – you know, Harry Reid’s been distracted. He’s trying to end prostitution in Nevada.

Gardner: I saw that, yeah.

KFKA: I’m not sure – does he know there’s a budget problem? He might be closing down the one thing – the one business that’s working for Nevada right now, but we’ll stay away from that one. What are some of your thoughts? I mean, obviously, the Republicans have put forth some pretty significant cuts. You’re watching, obviously, this Wisconsin situation – the battle between the Republican governor and the unions. But it doesn’t seems the unions want to budge on any kind of budget cuts right now.

Gardner: Well, look – I mean, this is the time for this country to really take a step back from sort of the rhetoric that we’ve seen in the news the past couple of weeks, and realize that there’s greater things at stake – and that’s the future of our country, the economy, and the future of our country is job growth. And we have got to get people to realize – and I hope people do realize that we can’t continue to do what we’ve been doing – that’s spending money that we don’t have. There was a great article in the paper yesterday that said, our debt is now equal to the economic output of this country. That’s an unacceptable position to remain in. We have got to grow our economy, create jobs, but we can only do it if the government starts scratching down the level of debt that it’s burdening every taxpayer with.

KFKA: And that’s – that’s – the only way to do that is to do it through cuts, right?

Gardner: Well, you know, we can grow our economy. We have to grow our economy, but we’ve got to cut spending as well. I mean it’s – taxes are not an option. We cannot increase taxes. We’ve got to cut spending.

KFKA: Now, your timeline – when you get back to Washington – is about four days to get this budget put together. Is that right?

Gardner: There’s – March 4th is the deadline, I believe, that there will be a two-week continuing resolution that will be offered in the House, and that will offer to cut spending to the Senate, and say, “Hey, let’s have two more weeks to negotiate a further continuing resolution, but we believe it needs to cut spending.” Right now, the only thing we’ve seen from Harry Reid and the Senate leadership is that they want more of the same.

KFKA: So, basically, you guys keep putting these ideas up – they just get knocked back down by the Senate right now.

Gardner: Because the Senate refuses to cut spending.

KFKA: Yeah, yeah. And still, there’s a Democratic control in the Senate, so you’ve got kind of this partisan push back and forth.

Gardner: Well, I think there’s a number of senators, actually, who support spending cuts. I think that they disagree with the party’s leadership, and – so that’s the goal that we have is to present the Senate with a solution that actually shows that we can keep government in operation, which we want to do. There’s no desire to shut down government, but we can also cut spending, which we have to do.

KFKA: Are you seeing more a handshake across the aisles, you know, since the Democrats were pushed out in November? Are you seeing more desire for bipartisan work? You mentioned that more Democrats are looking for budget cuts, but are they working with the Republicans that are new to the office?

Gardner: Well, I think in terms of the Colorado delegation – the Colorado delegation has always worked well together, Democrats and Republicans. And we have seen bipartisan efforts throughout the entire Congress over the past several weeks. I hope increases – when it comes to realizing the big challenge this country has – is going to take both parties to come to solutions on debt and deficit reduction.

KFKA: Absolutely. Town hall meetings still going on? You’re going to be traveling around Colorado?

Gardner: Yep. We’ve got a town hall meeting in Longmont, Colorado, this morning that starts at 8:00. We’d love to see everybody there. We were in Weld County a couple of days ago, and yesterday, and Holy Oak, Julesburg, Sterling, that we’ve been putting on the miles and doing a great job of listening around the district.

KFKA: And where in Longmont are you guys going to be?

Gardner: We’re going to be 350 Timber Street, so come by and join us, 8:00 this morning.

KFKA: All right, 350 Timber Street in Long Mount, 8 am. If you happen to be going through that area, and you got an extra few minutes to kill, you can stop on by. You got about half hour before that. Representative Gardner, thank you so much your time, and I’ll see you in about a week. We’re coming out to DC ourselves, so.

Gardner: Hey, look forward to seeing you guys. Thanks for having me.

KFKA: Sounds great. Thanks again.