Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the fourth-highest-ranking Republican in Congress, tells Newsmax that President Barack Obama continues to “run and hide” from the deficit problems facing America.
He also asserts that the federal government’s entitlement programs are becoming a “cruel Ponzi scheme” for future generations, and declares that the stimulus program has been an “abject failure” in dealing with the unemployment problem.
The Texas legislator, who was elected in 2002, is chairman of the House Republican Conference and vice chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Hensarling discussed efforts to reduce federal spending and stimulate job growth.
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“It’s clear to me that Democrats don’t want to do anything to put America on a fiscally sustainable path,” he says.
“If we are going to remove some of the uncertainty that job creators are facing so they’ll create jobs, if we want to spare our children from a future of doubt, despair and debt, and eventual national bankruptcy, we’ve got to quit spending money we don’t have.
“Republicans aren’t going to pass a spending bill that doesn’t acquire savings for the American people, so that we can get job creators to know that ultimately we’ll put America on a fiscally sustainable path.”
As for the possibility that Republicans and Democrats won’t reach an agreement that will prevent a government shutdown, Hensarling says: “No one wants to shut down the government. That is totally irresponsible.
“But on the other hand, we’re not going to pass legislation that doesn’t create savings for the American people. There’s too much riding on the future of America for us not to cut spending.”
Hensarling was asked whether he would be willing to cut entitlement spending to reduce the deficit.
“You don’t need to cut one single penny from entitlement spending. What you do need to do is reform current entitlement spending for future generations,” he responds.
“I wish we could solve the nation’s debt crisis, which is a spending-driven crisis, by just dealing with earmarks or foreign aid. Unfortunately that’s not where the numbers are. We’ve had a government that has made promises to future generations that it cannot keep.
“Medicare and Social Security have been great programs for my parents and my grandparents, but they are rapidly morphing into cruel Ponzi schemes for my 7-year-old son and my 9-year-old daughter.
“The greatest thing missing from the equation, frankly, is presidential leadership. Our president continues to run and hide. He knows the facts and that he must deal with this.”
But Obama, who Hensarling calls a “serial spendaholic,” is “presenting us with a budget that has red ink as far as the eye can see and is going to keep job creators on the sideline, and saddle our children with unconscionable debt.”
Asked whether continued high unemployment means that the stimulus spending program was a bust, Hensarling says: “It’s a complete abject failure. The only thing it stimulated is the national debt.
“We are witnessing the longest recession and the most tepid recovery since the Great Depression, and the president’s policies [are] designed to spend, borrow and bail out your way to economic prosperity. It does not work. He’s tried it and it has failed.”
Hensarling tells Newsmax he was “encouraged by the presence of the tea party in the last election,” adding: “I think the freshman class brings a lot of energy. It’s a very welcome addition to the Republican team.”
Republicans will continue to “look for every opportunity to try to repeal and defund Obamacare, he says.
“But it’s not easy. Republicans didn’t win the government in the last election. We gained control of one third of it. So it will be a challenge.”
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