"Good morning, I was heartened to see that last week the President's chief political advisor, Mr. Plouffe, indicated that Medicare and Medicaid are the main drivers of our deficit. We have seen, this morning, several editorial writers indicate the same; that it is important that we put these drivers of the deficit on the table and include them as part of any agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff.
"As the Speaker said, we have done our part. We have put revenues on the table, something that we didn't do two years ago during the debt ceiling negotiations. We still believe that it is most important for us to address the economic situation in this country where so many people are out of work. That's why we take the position, and believe strongly, that increasing marginal rates, income tax rates, is not the way to produce growth and to put people back to work.
"But we have not seen any good faith effort on the part of this Administration to talk about the real problem that we're trying to fix. I'm told that Mr. Bowles, who some of us will meet with later today, said earlier this morning that there's been no serious discussion by the White House on entitlements, on Medicare, and Medicaid. This has to be a part of this agreement or else we just continue to dig the hole deeper, asking folks to allow us to kick the can down the road further and that we don't want to do."