"We are focused on trying to do everything we can to bring down gas prices. There's no question that more than $4 a gallon gas in some parts of the country is denting the ability for working families to get through the month. This Administration continues to be an impediment to energy production here at home. The bills that we will bring to the floor this week say, stop we need to have maximum energy production here to bring gas prices down and we can do that.
"I started off the week with a visit to the New York Stock Exchange, and while there talked to many individuals engaged in our capital markets; investors, traders and the rest. The message that I heard was keep at it, don't back down, cut spending, reform entitlements and make sure we get our fiscal house in order. In particular, they were focused on the issue before us, as far as increasing the debt ceiling of this country. What I heard and what I believe is: it is reckless for us to increase the credit limit of this country without cutting spending, without reforming entitlements, without getting our fiscal house in order. Just as any family would have to do if they were seeking an increase in their credit limit, they've got to have the wherewithal to pay the loan back, and that's what we're trying to do here.
"I attended the Biden-led commission yesterday at the Blair House, and we continued in our discussions, following up on the entry level discussions we had last week. The substance of those discussions was trying to focus in on areas where we can cut spending, and cut it big. We are anticipating returning to the Blair House again tomorrow, and there is a lot of work to be done. As the Speaker said in the speech he gave in New York the other night, we are about accomplishing major spending cuts. It is trillions not billions that we are talking about. And it's pretty obvious why we are saying that, we've got a $1.6 trillion deficit this year alone, anything less is not serious."
Q & A:
On Requirements for Raising the Debt Ceiling: "We are not for increasing taxes. In fact, that is a line that has been drawn in the sand as far as the discussions that are taking place around how to deal with the deficit. We don't believe that Washington has a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. If we are going to incur more debt, we have to prove to the people that elected us, as well as the investors who are lending us money that we are going to reform the way this place works, and frankly, get more return on the investment of the taxpayers. Again, we are in a very tough economy right now; we are relying on job creators to create more jobs. Increasing taxes is a negative if you want to see job creation. We are in a discussion about how to go forward when this country reaches its credit limit. The only way we see going forward is to cut spending, reform entitlement programs, that is what's causing the deficit, not that we aren't taking enough money out of the taxpayers' pockets, that's not what is causing the deficit."
On the Progress of Biden-led Debt Commission Negotiations: "We are focusing on areas that we can agree on first, for sure. We have all dedicated ourselves not to reveal in detail as to what is going on in those meetings. But I can assure you, we wouldn't be meeting if we couldn't find areas of agreement where we can save, and I mean save to the tune of what the Speaker was talking about. Because as you heard the Whip say, Republicans are not interested in increasing the credit limit without big spending cuts, in the trillions not billions, as well as enacting reforms that we can be assured in the out years that we're getting this deficit under control."
On Completing Appropriations Bills Before August Recess: "We are trying to do so, because frankly what we would like to be focusing on is how do we create an environment for job creation. That's what we're trying to do as well. We had a discussion in our Conference today about our jobs program, I know there's been a lot of discussion coming from the Democratic Whip and others saying that we haven't brought a jobs bill to the floor. Well the fact is we have bills on the floor this week that directly relate to bringing down the costs on employers so we can see more job creation. We've also moved full force on the regulatory front, removing the regulatory impediments, whether it is EPA or any other agency, as far as job creation is concerned. So we are looking to stay on course as far as our Appropriations calendar is concerned as well as a growth oriented jobs agenda."