Caplis & Silverman, Cory Gardner, 7/15/2011

Station: 630 K-HOW

Show: Caplis & Silverman Show

Guest: Cory Gardner


Date: 7/15/2011

Topics: Gardner, debt ceiling, Cut Cap and Balance, Medicare

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Silverman: Cory Gardner, tell us what’s going on in DC. Are you Republicans about to be outsmarted once again? You guys are like Willie Coyote.

Gardner: We are going to go next week and vote on a Cut Cap and Balance measure. This is an idea that I think the American people have embraced. It’s an idea that says we are going to cut spending. We are going to put a meaningful cap in place to keep Congress from ever doing it again. And we are going to require a balanced budget. And that’s what we are voting on next week. In exchange for that, there will be a debt ceiling increase agreed to by a majority of the Republican conference. But it is something that I think is very important. We balance the budget, we cap spending and we cut spending. Those are the three things that we will be asking for next week. And I hope the people that are listening to your show will call their member of Congress and say, “Hey, lets get it done. Its time to stop screwing around and time to start saving our country.”

Silverman: I know about this plan and I know there is support in the US Senate. We had United State Senator Mike Lee from Utah on our show. He’s one of the proponents of that plan. But I can see what is going to happen. Sure you are going to get it through the House but its not going to get through the Senate. And even if it did President Obama has pretty well indicated that he doesn’t like it and you are not going to have a veto proof majority. Don’t you have to accept some baby step here to avoid American default?

Gardner: Again, I think the fact that we are $14.3 trillion in debt, its important to see what happened over the last couple of days in Moody’s, which is the outlook people for US bonds and the creditworthiness of our country have said, “boy, you know what, if the debt ceiling isn’t increased it will threaten the AAA bond rating of our country. But if you read on to it, it says if the United States does not get serious and put in place a plan to lower the debt and deal with the deficit, that too will put a immediate negative outlook on the US bond rating and imperil our economy. This is not a time for President Obama to play politics, this is a time for us to get to work, roll up our sleeves and get out economy moving again. And the only way we are going to do that is by cutting spending, getting government out of the way and making sure that we are bringing common sense to our fiscal problem.

Silverman: You say its no time for the President to play politics. But you guys are politicians. And today he even talked about the 2012 race. He thinks the American people are behind him. He thinks this is going to be a winner for him come November 2012…he thinks he is a winner. He thinks he is in the catbird seat and conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer, he agrees. And he thinks that us guys should come up with the plan that is a baby step in order for Barack Obama to not score a political victory. What do you think about Krauthammer? I don’t know if you had a chance to hear him on O’Reilly last night. You probably read him column in the Washington Post yesterday.

Gardner: I have great respect for Charles Krauthammer and the work that he does. But I also think that this is a President that back in December made a political decision not to address the debt ceiling then when he had a Democrat majority but instead wait for Republicans to be in the House so he could try and have blame shared between him and somebody else. I think this is a President who is disengaged up until the last few weeks when it comes to the debt ceiling. I remember the State of the Union address, when he said we don’t need to cut spending, we just need to freeze spending. And then about three weeks later he said he had to give his budget 2.0 speech to actually talk about cutting spending. The reason this President is talking about cutting spending is because of the budget the House of Representatives passed that cut trillions of dollars to preserve and protect Medicare and to make sure future generations of this country will not face the situation they are today which is be $14.3 trillion in debt.

Caplis: So you guys are ready to call his bluff then. Walk us through what happens then next week.  You guys pass Cut Cap and Balance, or at least the cut and cap part. I don’t know if you can get the balanced budget amendment passed in the House. Get the cut and the cap passed, send it over the United States Senate and then what happens? Are they going to actually act on it, and if they refuse to, then what? Who is going to end up with egg on their face?

Gardner: Egg on the face belongs to all of us, Republicans and Democrats, if we don’t find a solution to bring this debt and deficit down. And that’s what it is all about. I think there will be discussions on the details. There might be a better way that somebody can draft a balanced budget amendment that will allow more additional support to be gained amongst the Democrats. Certainly the pieces of the Cut Cap and Balance idea next week aren’t going to be loved by everyone. But there is room to make it work. The American people can see what is happening. They realized that if we continue down this binge of spending that this country will never be the same. There is a poll that I saw today that Western Europeans believe that China is about to swallow the United States in terms of the leading nation in the world. We’ve got to find that solution. As President Regan said, “we will find that solution because we are Americans and that is what we do.”

Silverman: But I heard Mitch McConnell say that it’s not going to happen with this President in office. So isn’t the big solution to wait till 2012? Do you think Barack Obama would like to strike a deal on Social Security and Medicare? To me, if he got that grand big bargain, he’d probably be a shoe-in in 2012. Are you guys playing politics to deprive him of that?

Gardner: No, I am certainly am. We passed a budget that would cut $6.6 trillion in spending. If there is a way to cut  $6.6 trillion in spending that is a conversation that we aught to have. The reason this President is talking about big ideas is because we forced him to with the big ideas that we have passed out of the House of Representatives.

Caplis: My take on the President’s action is more that he wants to showcase the Republicans as the only ones who are working to reform Medicaid and Social Security. I don’t see that he is willing to do that. But today, for the first time ever, did come out a say we might have to do some means testing for Medicare to help cover some of the Medicare expenses. That is the first time that he has publically mentioned anything even closely related to entitlement reform. I think the only way you are going to see real reform is when both parties hold hands and walk down that plank together. And maybe this debt ceiling argument is the time where we can focus the attention on that and the necessity to do that. To walk the reform plank together because you are going to make people unhappy. But if one party or the other decides to use it primarily as a tool to win the next election then I am afraid that we will never solve this debt problem until it is completely out of hand and we are looking at a Greece type of situation.

Silverman: I am trying to picture Cory Gardner walking down a hallway with Nancy Pelosi’s hand in his.

Gardner: [Laughter] No comment.

Silverman: I do always see you always tailing behind John Boehner. Is it because of your good looks or are you really rising in power more rapidly than any freshman in history?

Gardner: We were talking about jobs and the economy and I passed a bill out of the House. My first bill I passed a couple weeks ago and I was at an event with Speaker Boehner to speak about the 5,400 jobs that that bill would create and it would bring as many as one million barrels of American-produced oil online and almost completely offset our import from Saudi Arabia. That is why I was at that particular event with the Speaker.

Caplis: Lets get to that her quickly. Now Cory is one of the rising stars. One of this huge class of freshman Republicans that I believe is holding the leaderships’ feet to the fire along with the pressure from the Tea Party. To make sure that we don’t pull a “go along to get along” McConnell type of increase in the debt ceiling just to kick the can down the road. I say congratulations to you I think you need to hold the line and I am anxious to see what happens next week. Remember this is a President who told us that he was going to close Guantanamo Bay and he didn’t do that. He said he was going to pull all the troops out of Iraq and that hasn’t happened yet either. He told us he’s going to try Sheikh Mohammed in New York and that didn’t happen either. I think you call his bluff. I think that your sense is right that the American people strongly oppose raising the national debt but instead want to get our spending under control. And this is how we are going to have to do it.

Gardner: In the President’s own words, he said, “don’t call my bluff” and then he walked out of the room. So he has already admitted that he is bluffing right before he walked out of the room and into negations.

Silverman: Yea, I hadn’t thought about it. That is pretty interesting when he allegedly dressed down Eric Cantor. It’s all interesting stuff. Cory Gardner, my last question for you: are you guys willing to compromise about anything. I don’t know if you get to watch Bill O’Reilly before Krauthammer sort of turned him around. It just seems to me that if you could just get 95 percent of what you want, would you allow corporate jets to be taxed in a different way?

Gardner: The budget that we passed closed corporate loopholes. Certainly we aught to look at loopholes and look at subsidies and shut them down. It was President Obama that created the corporate jet subsidy in the first place. The one that he is talking about.  Even if it was saved by him its not going to save the trillion that we need to. So certainly we can look at those and we aught to. But what we need to do more than anything is stop talking about something that will save one tenth of one percent to the deficit goal that he wants to get to ,but start talking about trillions of dollars.