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Public Statements

Legislative Program

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman, and really appreciate his remarks and willingness to sit down and see where we can find areas of agreement. Because as the gentleman and I have both expressed on this floor on many occasions, there is plenty of disagreement and no shortage of supply in this town of that.

On the bigger issues of the fiscal situation of the country, we still struggle, Mr. Speaker, as the gentleman knows, on trying to come together. But I listened to the gentleman, and I know he's very committed, and has been to his agenda, Make It In America. As the gentleman knows, I gave a talk earlier this year at the American Enterprise Institute, which I spoke of an agenda of trying to make life work for more working people in this country.

There is a lot in common that we have in these two programs, if you will. Because we talk about the kinds of things that will help working families, that will help working people get a job again. The gentleman's intention in a national manufacturing strategy, I'm sure, is to increase job availability; make sure that we have more American jobs.

We also have a skills problem. We passed the SKILLS Act on the floor a couple of weeks ago. My hope is we can increase bipartisan support for things like that, because it was simply an attempt to respond to a GAO recommendation where there are 50 different job-training programs at the Federal level. Certainly we can do better than that. Certainly we can streamline and still protect the kinds of individuals that the statute asks us to, or requires protection of--the veterans, the folks who are on limited income that we can help put in place for employment. Because, after all, all of us believe that we are a society built on hard work, built on playing by the rules and getting ahead. So, I welcome the gentleman's commitment to those type of things.

He mentions the need for us to invest and to look to the future. In fact, I have not only a budget and a spending plan of the future, but a real mentality on this floor of how we can work together for all Americans. I have talked a lot about this in this making life work for people and for families. Really, the priority that we place in this country on medical research, on research and development, because it is the seed corn of the future.

While we are constrained by the current fiscal situation, it does bring to life setting priorities. We're not going to be able to fund everything, but certainly we can agree on trying to find medical cures, trying to understand how we can better discover therapies, treatments, so people can live longer and have a better quality of life. These are the kinds of things I look forward to working on with the gentleman as well, and I accept his invitation and look forward to being able to sit down.

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Mr. CANTOR. I would say to the gentlemen, Mr. Speaker, I, too, am glad that we have finally seen the Senate act and pass a budget. That is an accomplishment in and of itself. And the President also has finally proposed his budget. So the gentleman is right that we've got some things on the table that maybe we can start to discuss.

I know that Chairman Ryan and Chairman Murray are already in discussions about a path forward, and I look forward to the results of those discussions. And in concert with the gentleman's point earlier about setting priorities, it just seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that the best way forward is to find areas where we agree and let's go make some progress on those things. Again, this town is full of division and disagreement, but there are things we have in common, in agreement in these three documents that I believe we can work on together.

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Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman.

Mr. Speaker, as the gentleman has indicated, Mr. Speaker, the majority has committed itself to a budget that balances in 10 years. It is our desire that we can come to some agreement on how to do that. This is where the difficulty, again, comes in, where the President's proposal and budget raises a lot of new revenues. Some estimates have indicated it will create a trillion dollars in new taxes and won't ever balance.

So we've certainly got a gulf between us, but it is our intention to work together to avoid the situation of default; and we are and do intend to consider a bill that will ensure we meet our legal obligations and do not default on our debt, which I'm sure the gentleman agrees with me, Mr. Speaker, is the responsible thing to do.

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Mr. CANTOR. I would just respond to the gentlemen by saying this in terms of the family he talked about going to Macy's and making the charge of $200. I think most families would also think it's prudent to figure out how they're going to pay that bill before they go about incurring it, and that is the spirit in which I think the majority approaches the debt ceiling to say, How are we going to tell the people that we're going to pay off the debt that we've now gone ahead and incurred?

I think a little bit of forethought here, planning into the future how we are going to pay the bills, is the emphasis. I've always agreed, as the gentleman said, the debt ceiling is something that is necessary for the operations of government. We'll bring a bill forward that will ensure that we don't go into default. But I do think that we should be mindful of how we're going to tell the public we're going to go into the future and pay off these debts. Because, as the gentleman, who has many children and grandchildren, he doesn't want his kids, nor do I want mine, to be shouldering the debts and paying our bills.

We should be really committing ourselves not to just borrowing more, not to just taking more from taxpayer dollars, because we've done a lot of that this year already. When the gentleman talks about the need to proceed with revenues, we already have close to $650 billion of additional static revenues--taxes that are accounted for because of the fiscal cliff deal. So it's not that there are no revenues in the mix here.

Again, I look forward to working with the gentleman. I appreciate his commitment to longevity in this country, to sustaining economic growth or to at least restarting it again so we can sustain it, and look forward to joining him in that effort.

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