Cantor: Entitlements Will be on the Budget Table

Wednesday, 02 Mar 2011 08:04 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says when the House releases its budget, either later this month or the beginning of next, entitlement reform will be on the table and he believes the government won’t shut down before then, as both Republicans – and seemingly the White House – don’t want to see that happen.

cantor, entitlements, budget, tableIn a Wednesday interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Cantor said he spoke to White House Chief of Staff William Daley, and “he seems to indicate that they don’t want to see a shutdown and, you know, we in the House as Republicans have said all along, we don’t want to shut down the government, we just want to cut spending.”

“We’ve averted it and I think for the first time we’ve taken a step towards actually doing what the American people are having to do right now, which is tighten their belts, and do more with less,” Cantor said.

Host Joe Scarborough asked Cantor whether it was easier to deal with the White House now that Daley is chief of staff.

“I’ve spoken to Bill Daley more in the last couple of weeks … then I’ve spoken to [former chief of staff] Rahm Emanuel the several years that he was there,” Cantor said. “If that’s any indication that the White House is willing to try and work things out, and reflect the outcome of last November’s election, I think maybe it is a positive sign.”

Cantor then turned to the issue of raising the debt ceiling and when a decision will have to be made.

“We really don’t know exactly when the date will be that we will have to act, we are waiting for April 15 and tax revenues to indicate exactly when the date is that the ceiling needs to be raised,” he said.

“But we’ve said all along, that vote reflects – and the increase in debt limit reflects – dollar for dollar, the fiscal mismanagement of years gone by,” Cantor continued. “And I think that most Americans believe that we should take some steps and make sure we don’t keep spending like that, and that’s why we said cuts first. We’ve got to demonstrate that we are tightening our belt.”

Cantor was then asked about entitlement reform and what he thought the odds were that cuts in programs would be addressed.

“I don’t think we have a choice. We’ve got an economy that is still ailing, too many people are out of work,” he said. “Our focus is to try and jump start this economy. And what we continue to hear when we talk to small and large businesses is, if you want to fix the economy, fix the deficit.

“Everyone knows that the uncertainty hanging over the economy is caused by the entitlement future of this country,” Cantor continued. “And we just can’t keep going like we’re going. That’s why Republicans have said, when we produce our budget … later this month, or the beginning of next, we are going to include entitlement reform in that budget.”

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