Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, tells Newsmax he was “very disappointed” by President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech because Obama showed he doesn’t understand the seriousness of the nation’s economic problems.
But the third-term Ohio legislator also says the American people are ready to adopt the “tough love” measures needed to deal with those problems — and declares that the new Republicans in the House are in Washington “to fix the nation.”
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The Republican Study Committee is a caucus of 175 conservative House Republicans. Jordan and the committee on Jan. 20 unveiled the Spending Reduction Act of 2011, which would cut $2.5 trillion in spending over 10 years.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Jordan was asked what he liked most and least about President Obama’s Tuesday night State of the Union address.
“What I liked least was that it was more of the same,” Jordan says.
“More programs, more spending. High-speed rail, et cetera. And when he had the line about freezing spending, that’s just not going to get us there.
“We’ve spent so much money. We’ve got such a deficit, such a big national debt. We’ve got to cut spending. It’s not good enough to freeze it. So I was very disappointed because this is not going to get us where we need to go to put the country back on the right fiscal path.
“Policy-wise, the one positive I think was Obama talking about reducing the corporate income tax. The truth is, our corporate incomes taxes are some of the highest in the world, and frankly in my judgment it’s unpatriotic if you’re not for reducing the corporate income tax. We want to make it so American companies are on a more level playing field competing with companies around the world.”
Press reports show that, during his speech, Obama mentioned far more areas where he would spend than where he would cut. Commenting on that, Jordan says: “Again I don’t think he understands how serious the situation is. I don’t think he understands what took place on November 2.
“We’re starting to approach the countries you’ve read about in the last year and a half: Portugal, Spain, Greece, Ireland. These are countries that have real financial problems. The situation is so serious, if we don’t start dealing with it now the window of opportunity to put the country back on the right path is closing rapidly. We’ve got to understand how serious this is.
“That’s why last week we introduced the Spending Reduction Act, which over the next decade will cut $2.5 trillion in spending. We go back to 2006 discretionary spending levels and we hold those levels. That’s how you get real savings. And I would argue that is just a good first step. We’ve also got to look at the entitlement programs. We’ve got to look at the Pentagon budget as well, because the situation is just that serious.”
Jordan questions how Obama could say he wants to freeze domestic spending for the next five years yet constantly used the word “invest” in his address.
“It’s contradictory. And even if he’s accurate in freezing domestic spending, that’s not going to get us there.
“But here’s the good news. In my time in elective office I have never seen the American people more ready, more receptive to the tough love measures that need to be taken to fix our country, to put us back on a fiscal path that is actually sustainable.
“The American people understand. The question is, will the political class have the courage to rise to the standard the American people have set and do what needs to be done.
“I think we will, mostly because of this freshman class coming in. Seventy-some of the 87 new freshmen are members of the Republican Study Committee. They’re coming here to fix the nation. They understand what we’ve been doing spending-wise is wrong.
“That’s what encourages me. I think we can actually get some things done in spite of the president and his wanting to continue to invest in certain programs and only freeze spending.”
Referring to Rep. Michele Bachmann’s insistence that Congress should not raise the debt ceiling, Jordan says the ceiling should be raised only if the increase is accompanied by significant cuts in spending, plus reforms such as a balanced budget amendment.
Jordan also says he has “no problem” with Bachmann's delivering a tea party response to the president’s speech Tuesday night.
“I think it’s appropriate in America for anyone to speak out and say what their reaction is to the president’s State of the Union speech.”
Jordan tells Newsmax that Congress should make the Bush tax cuts permanent despite Democrats’ claims that it will add to the budget deficit.
“Democrats always say that. This is fundamental. The left thinks all money belongs to them except what they let people keep. We happen to think no, that money and wealth and resources belong to families and individual taxpayers. It’s their money so it doesn’t add to the deficit if we let them keep it.”
Jordan also denies the Congressional Budget Office’s contention that repeal of Obamacare will add $230 billion to the deficit.
“Whenever you have huge tax increases in a bill they view that as, if you take away those tax increases that’s going to add to the deficit. It’s just not true,” he says.
“The way the CBO works is the data you give them at the start dictates what kind of conclusion you have to reach. Remember the Democrats said we’re going to give you 10 years of revenue and only six years of expenditures when they did the bill. So of course it’s going to look like it adds to the deficit. The truth is [Obamacare is] a big tax increase.
“More importantly, Obamacare is bureaucrats getting between you and your doctor, and that’s what Americans most dislike about this legislation.”
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