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REP. TIM HUELSKAMP (D), KANSAS: Good evening.
SHARPTON: Congressman, you voted no on the deal today. Why?
HUELSKAMP: Not enough. I know talk about --
SHARPTON: Not enough cuts?
HUELSKAMP: Well, not enough of a lot of things, Al. Not just enough cuts.
I mean, the cuts next year that we"re talking are a little over 1 percent of the deficit. If I go home and tell constituents we cut 1 percent this year, they"ll say, well, you never will balance the budget. I"ll say, exactly.
This won"t get us in balance. With a $1.65 trillion deficit, just a few million in cuts, that"s not nearly enough for what we need to do.
SHARPTON: Yes, but don"t people in your district need jobs? I mean, almost a quarter of your district makes under $25,000 a year. You think you coming home arguing about the deficit in Washington and not dealing with the needs of your constituents is going to satisfy them?
HUELSKAMP: Well, I"ve been talking to them. I"ve had 64 town halls, probably more than most of my colleagues, and that"s what they"re saying is they"re tired the spending in Washington. They"re tired of the so-called help from Washington. They"ve gone through a stimulus package and it hasn"t worked.
They understand the economy grows by business men and women creating jobs. Not Washington is doing. They want to be unleashed to let this economy grow forward. I"m not opposed to new revenue. You get Washington out of the way by folks that make things, and create jobs every day of the year.
SHARPTON: Well, then, if you"re not against new revenue, then why not support allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire? Less than 1 percent of your district makes over $200,000 a year. Why don"t you allow them to go an ahead and pay the same tax rate before they were paying before the Bush tax cuts for the last years? It hasn"t produced jobs in your district.
HUELSKAMP: Well, there"s been a miserable job production going on in this country, with the stimulus package, after what"s occurred there. You know, we were promised 6.7 percent unemployment. Today it"s 9.2 percent. It certainly hasn"t worked.
When I talk about revenue, I"m talking about revenue from the private sector, versus what Washington is doing. Washington can"t borrow and spend to prosperity. We proved that in the spending package. We need less regulation out of Washington. We don"t need more.
SHARPTON: But we can"t get over $400 billion just by restoring the Bush tax cuts?
HUELSKAMP: Well, yes, I know those numbers, and that"s assumed that those Bush/Obama tax cuts will go way.
SHARPTON: Well, I don"t know how they become Obama tax cuts when in 2001 when they started George Bush was the president of the United States. It was extended in December, but it was Bush"s tax cuts.
HUELSKAMP: Who was the president --
SHARPTON: We could have different opinions but we can"t have different facts.
HUELSKAMP: No, the fact is President Obama signed the tax cuts and extended those for two years.
SHARPTON: Extended the Bush tax cuts.
HUELSKAMP: Yes, for two years. You released a statement today explaining your vote. Quote, "I voted no today because I refused to dig America deeper into an un-scalable hole. I refuse to be complicit in recklessly spending and borrowing on the backs of the next generation."
But your colleagues, Paul Ryan and Mike Pence and Eric Canton and Sean Duffy, they all voted for the deal. The Tea Party caucus voted for the deal 32 to 28.
Are they implicit in recklessly spending and borrowing on the backs of the next generation?
HUELSKAMP: Well, I"m optimistic we can do better. And they thought it was historical and it was that finally made two years in a row where we had discretionary spending cuts. But what most Americans don"t know, the budget next year is going to be bigger, and the next year it"s going to be bigger.
We"ve locked in major spending increases, but the deficit is still likely to be a trillion dollars for a number of years to come -- $1.65 trillion this year, maybe a trillion dollars next year. We can"t sustain that.
Americans can"t afford that much government, and that"s what I"m talking about. You said you thought that they thought it was hysterical or historical?
SHARPTON: I"m just checking.
Congressman, thank you for your time tonight.
HUELSKAMP: Thank you, Al.
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