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Hensarling on CNN's Starting Point


Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Chairman of the House Republican Conference, appeared this morning on CNN's Starting Point to discuss GOP efforts to deal with our spending-driven debt crisis and the challenge posed by the president and Washington Democrats. Below are excerpts from the interview.

Hensarling on our national debt crisis

"The American people know at some point you have got to stop spending money you don't have. We have a legitimate debt crisis. Under the president this nation has racked up more debt in three years than in the previous 200 on a nominal basis. We have serial trillion-dollar deficits. Not only is it unsustainable, I think the American people think it's immoral to be borrowing roughly 40 cents on the dollar, much of it from the Chinese, and sending the bill to our children and our grandchildren. It's a threat to our national security our economic opportunity and clearly our children's future."

"When people look at your network and other networks and see what's going on in Greece, I think they're waking up to the fact that if we don't get our fiscal house in order, what we're seeing overseas we may see here. So again, regardless of what today's polling data or yesterdays polling data may show … the American people want us to live within our means."

Hensarling on the debt ceiling

"The Speakers says, "You know what? We're not going to do business as usual in Washington.' And we applauded his leadership … we said, "You know what? The debt ceiling is not something to be ignored, it is an opportunity put reforms in place so we can live within our means.' And that's what the American people expect. They don't want business as usual and that's what we're hearing out of the White House."

"If you look at the cash flow, there is more than enough cash flow to insure that our sovereign debt is paid. That's not the issue. What is the issue … are we going to do business as usual? Otherwise why do we even have a debt ceiling? Why don't we ignore it?"

"The threat to our credit rating doesn't come from a debate over a debt ceiling vote, it comes from the fact that we are spending money we don't have."

"Sovereign debt is a red herring -- it is a complete red herring….The only way that our sovereign debt would be compromised is if the president and the Treasury chose not to pay it."

Hensarling on the House GOP "Path to Prosperity" budget

"Republicans have put forward a budget that frankly will grow government each and every year, but it makes sure that the family budget doesn't go broke trying to pay for the federal budget and that we don't cheat our children. … The American people want to make sure our children have a better life. We want small businesspeople to be able to grow their businesses and they're not going to do it when the president is threatening the single largest tax increase in American history, much of it to fall on small businesses."

"We actually balance the budget. We put America on a sustainable fiscal path. And we continue to grow government, but we do it prioritizing and living within our means. We get a tax code that's fairer, flatter, simpler, more competitive to create economic growth."

Hensarling on Senate Democrats' failure to pass a budget

"When you talk about political showmanship, the president's budget got zero votes in the Senate. The Democrats control the Senate, so you need to talk to them about political showmanship. We're trying to solve a problem here, and when it comes to being able to compromise and compromise on policies, as a member of the Super Committee, even though it's against my principles and policies -- I was willing to put tax increases on the table, something Democrats demanded, and we Republicans unified around the plan. The Democrats never put a plan on the table. They said nothing short of a trillion-dollar tax increase, and they refused to engage in an kind of meaningful entitlement reform."

"Democrats in the Senate haven't even passed a budget in the last three years. Apparently, they don't even want a speed bump on the road to national bankruptcy. We have done our part -- we are looking for a partner."

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