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Public Statements

CNN "CNN Newsroom" - Transcript

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Congressman Price, good to see you. Good to have you on here.

REP. TOM PRICE (R), GEORGIA: Thank you so much.

BALDWIN: Let's just get right to it. Will you be a yes vote? Will you be a yay vote in terms of this Boehner plan on the floor of the House in just a little bit?

PRICE: I tell you, absolutely, and I'll tell you why. This bill will allow for significant reductions in spending, allow for some spending caps, limitations over the next couple of years, and most importantly this bill will allow for a vote on the balanced-budget amendment on the floor of the House tomorrow. We have to change the way Washington does business, the American people know that and this is the fundamental change that I believe they've been clamoring for, and we're excited about the opportunity to move things in the right direction.

We would only hope and call on our Democrat colleagues, both on the other side of the aisle in the House and on the other side of the capitol in the Senate, to try to assist in some positive way as opposed to just saying no.

BALDWIN: Right, we've heard from Senator Reid has already said if it gets to us, it will be defeated. But I do want to put your attention to this, Congressman Price.

The nation's top bankers sent this letter today to the White House. They also sent it to where you are on Capitol Hill and I want to quote, just part of this letter here, "A default on our nation's debt obligation or downgrade of America's credit rating would be a tremendous blow to business and investor confidence, raising interest rates for everyone who borrows, undermining the value of the dollar and roiling stock and bond markets, and therefore dramatically worsening our nation's already difficult economic circumstances."

The letter is signed by Jamie Diamond of J.P. Morgan Chase, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs and others. Do you think, sir, that will get much attention up there where you are? And do you think a default, if it happens of the U.S. Treasury would be a catastrophe?

PRICE: Well, we're in uncharted territory, so nobody really knows that, but this is an absolutely serious matter that needs to be addressed. That's why it's confounding to us with the economy and the terrible shame it's in, with jobs being lost, why the president doesn't lead, which is what this nation is clamoring for right now in Washington, is leadership.

Republicans on the House side, this will be the third time we passed a solution, a bill that would actually get us on a path to a balance budget amendment hopefully paying off the debt. It's that kind of activity that would reinvigorating our economy and creating jobs.

Why the other side continuous to just say no, no, no, not any way are we going to be able to support anything that would create jobs is beyond me.

BALDWIN: Well, the other side, Congressman, they have demanded higher taxes on the wealthy to help pay down the debt. Your side isn't budging on that.

So now it sounds, as some of these Democrats may be willing to accept no tax increase up front, but down the road, that may happen if certainly debt reduction targets aren't met, a trigger mechanism. Would that work for you?

PRICE: Well, listen, that's the kind of proposal that we put on the table in our budget in the spring. We said you have to close the loopholes. You got to broad the base, lower the rates so that we can reinvigorate this economy.

And Harry Reid, Senator Reid continues to bulk about what he's for, but they've never passed a bill. They've never put in legislative language. The American people are sick and tired of Washington standing in the way of their ability to get more jobs created in their communities and get their life moving in the right direction.

What the Republicans are doing over and over and over here in Washington is putting forward solutions. Not just in rhetorical language, in real legislative proposals. Why the president and Senator Reid and his colleagues won't do the same thing, so that we can have an honest debate and then an honest consensus brought about, is just confounding.

BALDWIN: So you would be OK with higher taxes down the road?

PRICE: What I'm OK with is making certain that we reform our tax system in a positive way. For me, I'm a big fan of the National Retail Sales Tax, doing away with the income taxes all across the board, because we've got to reinvigorate this economy, but what we need is the debate.

That's why we put our budget on the table earlier this year because we believe that there needs to be fundamental tax reform. You've got to get to a point where we take away the kind of incentives and favorite treatment for all sorts of entities.

But in order to do that, you have to lower the rate, broaden the base and make it so that it's much more fair for individuals all across this land and reinvigorate this economy. We're not creating jobs and it's not because the American people don't want to work. It's because Washington is standing in the way.

BALDWIN: Congressman Tom Price, I appreciate you stepping away from the debate going on right now in the Florida House, sir. Thanks for talking to me.

PRICE: Thanks, Brooke.

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