CBS "Face the Nation" - Transcript: Unemployment Benefit Extension and the Budget

Interview

By:  Pete King Matt Salmon
Date: Jan. 5, 2014
Location: Unknown

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BOB SCHIEFFER: --for joining us. We appreciate having you.

And now how it looks from the other side of the street? We do have, indeed, two Republicans. Congressman Peter King is in New York and Congressman Matt Salmon joins us from his district in Phoenix. So let me just go to you. I'll go to you first, Congressman King. What's your reaction to what you heard from Senator Reid here this morning?

REPRESENTATIVE PETER KING (Intelligence Committee/R-New York): Actually, Bob, I was very disappointed because I thought the days of government shutdowns were behind us, and just the whole implication with Senator Reid is when you basically said--are you going to pass the Omnibus Appropriation Bill. And he sort of hesitated, somehow sending out a threat of maybe shutting down the government or slowing down the process. That's the wrong attitude to have at the beginning of the year. We can have disagreements but I think we have to find ways to compromise on-- on all the issues he was talking about. I think there's a possibility for compromise. But if he's going to be talking from day one implying that there could be shutdowns, to me that-- that's the wrong way to start, it's the wrong message to send, and if something does happen, it will-- I think it can be traced right back to the show this morning what-- basically what Senator Reid said.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, Congressman Salmon, what's your reaction?

REPRESENTATIVE MATT SALMON (Foreign Affairs Committee/R-Arizona): Well, I think it's interesting that Senator Reid spent his entire time just blaming Republicans for everything, every calamity in the world, and not really offering any solutions. I think that's why the American people think that Congress is so dysfunctional because it's just partisan politics. Honestly, I think we deserve better. And if Senator Reid is that interested in improving the economy and in helping us get jobs again, maybe he could just take up at least one of the thirty-nine bills, jobs-related bills, that we've sent from the Republican House to the Senate which language is in his drawer. The fact is these giveaway programs, government programs, don't create one job, not one job. If we want to energize the job market, we need to get rid of back-breaking, job-breaking regulations and our tax policy that is-- is hurting our economy.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, let me-- let me just ask you, Mister Salmon, what about this extending the unemployment benefits? He does make the point and economy has backed this up that-- that some of this unemployment insurance that is paid out does go back into the economy. It's-- it's not all a giveaway. I mean, when you-- obviously, it's a-- it's a big cost, a big ticket item, twenty-six billion dollars for a year. But some of it does get back into the economy. Will you-- will you support that in some fashion?

REPRESENTATIVE MATT SALMON: If the senator comes up with any kind of a reasonable idea to offset the twenty-six billion, I think that he might find some people that are willing to talk to him. But I think that we need to focus our attention more on not what the-- the--the-- the-- the out-- the problem itself, but focus on the root cause. And that is unemployment. Let's get people back to work. Let's approve the Keystone Pipeline. Let's deal with one of the thirty-nine jobs' bills that we've sent him to try to get our economy going again and people working in the private sector.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, let me--

REPRESENTATIVE MATT SALMON: The answer isn't government, the answer is the private sector, and let's get it going again.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Congressman King, do you see any way, any kind of a compromise that could be struck to continue at least some part of this unemployment insurance for these people?


REPRESENTATIVE PETER KING: Yeah. I agree with Matt said about cutting back on the regulations and trying to unleash the economy in the private sector. I would, however, want to support the extension of unemployment benefits at least to some extent for brief period of time. And only speaking for myself, I am-- I'm not saying it's be offset dollar for dollar, but there has to be some compromise coming from the Democrats. I don't want to have this permanent state of unemployment insurance where you end up like Europe. On the other hand there are people who are looking for work, who need some help. So I would like to find a way to get a compromise to extend unemployment insurance, at least, for a brief period of time. But at the same time the Democrats should make compromise as far as some, you know, burdensome regulations that attempt to unleash the economy because the ultimate answer is not unemployment insurance, the ultimate answer is more jobs. But for a temporary period of time I could see an extension of unemployment benefits, but again with restrictions on it so we don't have a permanent class of people on unemployment insurance and it doesn't become an impediment to jobs.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me--

REPRESENTATIVE PETER KING: And it doesn't create a state of dependency.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And let me ask both of you, is-- do you think there is any chance that raising the minimum wage will happen this year, Mister Salmon?

REPRESENTATIVE MATT SALMON: Well, first of all, I think that the raising of the minimum wage actually hurts the very people we're trying to help. If the Obama administration wants to the raise minimum wage to ten bucks an hour, I-- I don't believe, again, that's the government is the answer. I believe that the answer is to strengthen our economy.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, can I-- can I just stop you and just ask you an obvious question?

REPRESENTATIVE MATT SALMON: Yeah, please.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Why, does it hurt someone to pay them more money? Because that's what you just said.

REPRESENTATIVE MATT SALMON: Well, I'll tell you how it hurts them. The people that are mostly on minimum wage are the folks that are eighteen to twenty-eight. And those folks right now have the highest unemployment rate in the country, by far, not even close. And history has shown us that when the minimum wage rises those companies that are paying minimum wage jobs end up laying people off and they end up hiring less people.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Okay. All right.

REPRESENTATIVE MATT SALMON: And that's what I mean by them actually being the people that are hurt.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Got you. Mister King, what do you think about, have you-- do you think we ought to raise the minimum wage?

REPRESENTATIVE PETER KING: I've supported it in the past. For the last several years I have not because when the economy is down the way it is, I think it-- it's an extra burden that you're imposing on employers as they try to come out of the recession. I would again consider an increase in it but it has to be coinciding with a cutting back on some of the burdens that are on employers because otherwise as-- as Matt was saying we can increase the minimum wage but it would mean more people being laid off. To me we have to-- again, we can get to compromise, we can get things on the table where the Democrats are willing to give up some of these restrictions and burdens that are on businesses, then I'd be willing to consider somewhat of an increase in the minimum wage. But again the ultimate answer is to allow the private sector expand and we're not going to do that so long as we keep adding regulations on top of regulation and people like Senator Reid, you know, refuse to talk about lifting any of those regulations.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you, Mister Salmon.

REPRESENTATIVE MATT SALMON: A lot of-- Bob, a lot of the--

BOB SCHIEFFER: Go ahead.

REPRESENTATIVE MATT SALMON: Yeah. I was just going to say that I-- I have conversations with a lot of the Democrats on the floor, a lot of them very, very difference than mine and they're as frustrated as I am with leaders like Harry Reid that just want to continue to push partisan agenda. They, like us, believe that there are answers that we can cross the aisle and work together but I think that the leadership has to come from the top. When I was in Congress before we served with Bill Clinton as President, in fact, Peter King and I both served together during the nineties and we were able to do all kinds of things. Trade policies that grew our economy, reducing the deficit, in fact, we balanced the budget for the first time in forty years in '98.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Okay.

REPRESENTATIVE MATT SALMON: This president is a polarizing figure that does nothing but address a "my way or the highway" attitude.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right.

REPRESENTATIVE MATT SALMON: And until we have a President that's willing to reach across the aisle, it's going to be very, very difficult.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. We have to stop at there. The clock just ran out.

REPRESENTATIVE PETER KING: Okay.

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