AM Colorado, Cory Gardner, January 24, 2013

Station:      KFKA, 1310 AM

Show:        AM Colorado with Tom Lucero and Devon Lentz

Guests:      Gardner, C


Date:         January 24, 2013

Topics:      Balanced Budget Amendment, Fiscal Cliff Negotiations, Fiscal Cliff Debate, Debt Ceiling, Senate Budget, Spending Cuts, Entitlement Reform, Gun Control, Executive Order, Gun legislation, Farm Bill, Food Stamps, Appropriations, Dollar-for-Dollar Spending Cuts, “No Budget, No Pay” Bill, Paul Ryan, Ryan Budget,  Scott Tipton, Doug Lamborn, Michael Bennet, Mark Udall, Exemptions, Continuing Resolution, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Defense Spending, Direct Payment, Counter-Cyclical Payment, Barak Obama, President, Inaugural Address, Speaker of the House Boehner

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HOST TOM LUCERO:  Get us up to speed, Cory.  Last time we talked, it was right before all of the debate was taking – well, it was in the middle of the debate, but before the vote had taken place, on the “Fiscal Cliff”.  Right now, we’re moving into Debt Ceiling negotiations, Republicans gathered for a retreat last week.  So, can you get our listeners up to speed?   What’s going on with the Debt Ceiling? It appears Republicans have a strategy to raise the Debt Ceiling for a short period of time.  And—just– What is the thought process going on right now?

U.S.REPRESENTATIVE (CO-04) CORY GARDNER:  Yeah, absolutely.  And of course, they’re going again to the end of last year, Speaker Boehnoer put forward his Plan B.  I was opposed to Plan B – spent a lot of time in the Speaker’s office trying to –him trying to convince me to vote for it, but I never would, [I] did not support it, voted against the Senate’s Fiscal Plan because it increased government revenue without doing a single thing to decrease the size and scope of government.  Going into the Debt Ceiling, then, we had an opportunity to force spending cuts and to force the Senate to pass a budget for the first time in nearly four years. And then, to actually get the Speaker to agree to put forward a budget that balances in ten years.  The Ryan Plan really didn’t balance the budget until forty years, and so we actually now have an agreement to balance—to pass the Balance Budget in ten years, force spending cuts, and force the Senate to pass a budget dealing with the Debt Ceiling that will be extended for three months.  In the meantime, we continue to go back on the continuing resolution now, and demand more spending cuts and make sure that we are actually locking it in even more.  If we continue down this road of these types of spending cuts, these dollar for dollar spending cuts, we will balance the budget in ten years.  And if we can do more, we’ll balance it even sooner.

HOST DEVON LENTZ:  So, Cory, talk to us about some of your fellow Congressmen here in Colorado, are trying to essentially force Congress and Senate to do its job and pass the budget.  One of the bills is “No Budget, No Pay”. I believe Congressman Tipton has brought that one up.  But Congressman Lamborn has brought one up also that [is] somewhat similar, but they are all calling for a balanced budget.

GARDNER:  And that’s what passed the House yesterday, and that’s what is going to force the Senate to actually pass a budget for the first time in four year.  And again, you know, it is incomprehensible that the US Senate would ignore the law and not pass a budget, the basic function of government.  The House has done it for the past several years that I have been there, and we’re going to do it again, except with the added benefit this year is we’re actually going to pass  a budget that will balance in ten years, instead of taking thirty or forty years to balance.   So, we’ll continue to have more fights on this.  We’re going to have another big fight on the continuing resolution as we demand more spending cuts, but I think we’ve locked them in.  And when the Debt Ceiling issue comes up again in just a couple of months, we’re going to go back for more, continuing to make sure we focus and force this president to actually cut spending.

LUCERO:  Cory, let’s go through some of those items and how you guys are getting to a balanced budget within a ten year period.  […]  So, obviously the big accelerator in the budget – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Defense Spending.  What are you guys doing to get that under control and get us to a balanced budget in ten years?

GARDNER:  Well, and that’s where the dollar-for-dollar spending cuts in Debt Ceiling comes in.  It’s—if the Debt Ceiling is allowed to increase for every dollar you decrease spending, in ten years the budget balances, if you continue down that path –so that’s one way.  But I think the better way, of course,  is to actually pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, to pass a budget out of the House and Senate that puts a plan in place to balance the budget, to bring reform to the entitlement side of spending, and that’s really where we are right now.  And that’s what we were able to essentially do yesterday, is to force spending cuts upon this president, that are really going to hurt this president – he’s not going to like them.  And hopefully then, he will start being more open to entitlement reform and reducing spending on the entitlement side.

LUCERO:  […] How close in the Congress are we to having the votes to successfully pass a balanced Budget Amendment.

GARDNER:  Well, if we can get it out of the House, and I think we’re very close in the Senate.  And that’s part of the agreements that need to be taking place with this budget.  I mean, we need to have an agreement that says, “You know what? We will allow this Balanced Budget Amendment to go from Congress to the States for ratification.  That obviously takes time to do that, because even if you pass it out of Congress the state have to vote on it and set it up through their electoral process. So in the mean time, then we continue making sure we’re addressing spending through the appropriations process and the budget process.  So, I — there are definitely votes in the House.  We’ve got to get the votes in the Senate, I think they are there.  But that comes, I think, through the fact that we’ve been able to achieve these spending cuts now, and hopefully forcing them to recognize that is something they have got to do.

LENTZ:  And Cory, do you have a feeling on how our Colorado Senators Bennet and Udall will vote on this?

GARDNER:  [laughing] it’s interesting that you would bring that up, because Senator Udall, of course, has said that he supports a Balanced Budget Amendment.  But I think, some of the Balanced Budget Amendments that he has offered exempt a majority of spending out of the budget.  So, we’ve got to have a Balanced Budget Amendment that doesn’t exempt spending.

LENTZ:   I was going to say, “Where does that equate in the same sentence?”  Because  it’s either balanced or it’s not.  You either spend what’s in the budget, or you don’t have a budget.   It—That’s–  That doesn’t make any sense!

GARDNER:  That’s exactly right.

LENTZ:  […] [Tom and Devon laughing and joking and talking about not wanting to call people idiots]  But […] that’s dumb!

GARDNER:  If you read The Denver Post article about it, you would never have seen that.  But when you read the actual language, it starts exempting spending.  And again, it’s – you can’t– if you’re going on a diet, you can’t ignore the calories.

LENTZ:  Exactly!

LUCERO:  […]  Cory, in the last couple of minutes we have left, what else is happening?  There have to be some other issues other than Debt Ceiling and spending going on in Washington, D.C.,–saw the farm bill was extended for one year.  What’s going to happen there?

GARDNER:  Well, I think on the farm bill, you’re looking at – the Senate and the House will have to pass it again through their committees and on to the floor.  The House version actually cuts about $35 billion worth of spending.  The Senate bill reduces spending by only about  $23 billlion, so you’re going to see some continuing talks and conversations about that.  I think the House version could actually save even more money if it was allowed to go into some of the entitlements on food stamp side of things, and use that as deficit reduction.  The farm bill does eliminate direct payments, it eliminates counter-cyclical payments, and I think getting off of those subsidies is the right direction.  And the other things that are going to be coming up, of course, will be discussions on the President’s inaugural address.  You heard a very liberal president lay out a very liberal agenda, one that is focused on growing the government, not saving this country from government.  And that’s going to set up a big debate over the next two years.

LENTZ:  Well, and Cory, what about any of the gun legislation that has been brought up?

GARDNER:  And that’s—and the gun legislation, in my mind, won’t go anywhere, and it shouldn’t go anywhere. We should have conversations about preventing the next atrocity.  I think that can be accomplished  through addressing mental health concerns, but I do not think that additional gun control is the answer and I would vote against additional gun control.

LUCERO:  What is Congress going to do about the president’s – I believe, 23 executive orders as it related to guns?

GARDNER:  And—With– A couple of things.  We– I just signed on to a letter with another – with a number of other members of Congress to the White House expressing our dismay that they would—that the President would circumvent and end run around Congress over what clearly is a legislative issue.  We also must consider legal action, and I think there will be others outside of Congress that consider legal action against the president should he do something like that.  And then, I think, you’re looking at legislative action to overturn anything.  The Speaker has said that if legislation is going through, then it has to start in the Senate, but I don’t even think there is support for gun control in the Senate, and certainly not in the House.

LUCERO:  I can’t imagine there would be.