House Majority Leader Eric Cantor
believes the stopgap measure the House passed Tuesday to keep the government running three weeks after March 18 will be the last, and this year’s fiscal issues can get resolved so Congress can proceed with next year’s budget. Cantor also said everything is on the 2012 budget table, including entitlements and defense spending.
“I think very clearly we all want to get this thing resolved, and I am hopeful that this is the last stopgap measure that we’re going to pass, and we can get about the business of resolving this year’s fiscal issues, so we can go on to the work we are supposed to be about, for next year.” Cantor Wednesday said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Host Joe Scarborough asked if there was any friction between GOP leadership and freshman members of Congress on spending cuts, or whether such reports were overblown.
“Well, Joe, if you look at the numbers, 75 percent of the freshman class supported this stopgap measure,” Cantor said. “I think that there is concern throughout the country, just as there is some concern that exists within our members in Congress, that we ought to get this done.
“We all know that this is all about job creation, and we know that these kinds of discretionary cuts and these [continuing resolutions] pale in comparison to the problem,” he said. “So … the Republican budget will reflect our commitment to tackling the real issues of entitlement reform, and I think most people want to get on to that business, because that’s really how we are going to turn this economy around, and begin to see jobs again.”
Cantor was asked what the window will be to strike a deal – if one can be reached – on entitlements and tax reform.
“That’s really a great question – where is the sweet spot,” Cantor said. “We’re going to be unveiling our budget next month. The Budget Committee under Paul Ryan is hard at work right now trying to get straight on the numbers, and really the prescription on how we are going to deal with these entitlement reforms.
“The bottom line is: We are going to protect seniors and those nearing retirement,” he continued. “But for the rest of us – 54 and younger – we believe strongly that we’ve got to come to grips with the fact that if we’re going to save these programs for the next generation, they’re going to look a lot different.
“So I’m hopeful once this document comes out, once we’ve passed it in the House, that we’ll see some reaction on the part of the president and the Democrats in the Senate,” Cantor said. “Because so far, what we’ve heard out of [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid is that Social Security doesn’t even have a problem.
“So we really, I think, need to be very honest with the people, confront these problems, and then get on to the issue, as you suggest, of tax reform, because all this is about how we are going to attract more business, to start investing and create jobs,” he added.
Cantor also said all spending cuts are open for discussion, including Defense Department expenditures.
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