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FOX "Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace" - Transcript: Debt Limit


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WALLACE: Now that the president has rejected a House Republican plan, there's a question whether the so-called Tea Party faction in the House will accept any deal that comes out of the Senate.

Here to answer that question and more is Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan.

And, Congressman, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

Well, as we said, the president has rejected the House GOP plan and the Senate Democrats have rejected an even more generous plan that was being offered by Senate Republicans. I say generous in the sense that it demanded less of the president and gave him -- or tilted more toward the president.

So the question is, do you get the sense that the other side thinks they have you guys on the ropes and that they can force you to cave?

JORDAN: nbsp; Well, we get the sense they don't want to -- they don't want to negotiate. We've offered, I think, 11 different bills either funding either all or part of the government. And they haven't even debated them in the Senate, let alone -- let alone passed them.

So here's the key. There are two key principles that I think that drives House Republicans.

The first is, you can't keep spending money you don't have. I mean it's a basic concept. We can't -- we can't keep raising the limit on an already maxed out credit cart. The second principal is this. ObamaCare, the way it's being implemented, is unfair. You can't give special breaks to big business. You can't give a special dispensation to members of Congress and then say to every other American, you've got to go to a Web site that doesn't work to try to sign up for a plan you can't afford and send your information to the IRS, which has already proven they won't treat it confidentially.

So this is about fairness and basic commonsense. And you can't keep spending more than you -- than you take in.

WALLACE: All right, we're going to ObamaCare in a second.

I want to talk about what the Senate Democrats are talking about, the plan that might come out of there.

Senate Democrats are demanding that the debt limit be extended for a longer period of time, not even -- you guys were talking about November. They -- the Gang of 12 was talking about January. They want it extended longer. And they want the sequester spending cuts -- and this seems to be the real heart of the problem now -- rolled back, that they're not going to have to live under the sequester spending cuts for a prolonged period of time.

You shake your head.


WALLACE: If that comes out of the Senate, will the House pass it?

JORDAN: We'll break the spending caps?


JORDAN: I don't -- I don't see any way that you -- you'd see Republicans go for that. And, frankly, this idea that we're going to have a debt ceiling where we don't address the underlying problem, the underlying problem being we've got a $17 trillion debt. We have a debt bigger than our entire annual economy.

If you don't address the underlying problem, then -- then we're doing what -- what -- the cliche that always get used in this town and always gets done in this town, we're just kicking the can down the road.

WALLACE: So it -- a direct yes or no. You're saying what will the House do if that's the plan...


WALLACE: -- that comes out of the Senate?

JORDAN: I don't think you're going to see House Republicans -- I mean we -- we are best when we stay united on -- on basic principles of less government, less spending, keeping taxes low. You're going to see us stay united, that we are not going to increase spending. We're -- the sequester has been one of the -- one of the good things that has -- that has happened. It's one of the few things we have done where we've actually controlled spending somewhat in this town.

WALLACE: OK, but let me ask you two direct questions.

If you say you're not willing to accept that, are you prepared to let this go past the deadline on Thursday, when the secretary of the Treasury says that we're going to go into default?

JORDAN: Chris, we -- we have...

WALLACE: I'm not asking you whether you think it's a default or not, I'm -- what I'm asking is, are you prepared to let this go past Thursday?

JORDAN: No one wanted a shutdown. We offered 11 different bills to fund all our private government...

WALLACE: Yes, but things...

JORDAN: -- and no one...

WALLACE: -- have changed.

JORDAN: -- no -- exactly, because we've offered 11 -- we have compromised and given them all kinds of reasonable pieces of legislation that Harry Reid won't even debate, let alone pass. And no one wants to default.

What we want to do is -- is stick to some basic principles of addressing the underlying problem, is we keep spending more money than we have. And if we continue to do that, we're going make it difficult for our kids and our grandkids, for future generations to enjoy this amazing thing we call America.

WALLACE: But, sir -- direct -- answer my direct question. I understand your principle.

Are you prepared to refuse to sign -- make a deal and to let this go past Thursday?

JORDAN: You're -- you're asking the wrong -- you should be asking Harry Reid this and Barack Obama this.

WALLACE: Well, if they were here...


WALLACE: -- I would.

JORDAN: Yes, well, I -- we...

WALLACE: I'm asking you.

JORDAN: And -- and what I'm saying is, we are preparing to do what needs to be done to address the underlying problems in this country.

WALLACE: But you won't raise the debt limit if it doesn't do that?

JORDAN: Well, we won't -- we won't -- we -- we're not going to break the sequester cap. We think that that is -- that's one thing where we save the Americans -- the taxpayers some money here. We think that's important savings that we've achieved.

WALLACE: OK, which raises the other question, the one that...

JORDAN: Unless -- unless we get the kind of mandatory changes, long-term changes in mandatory spending that actually put us on a path to balance and help address the underlying problem. If you -- you can't keep raising the limit on a credit card if you're not going to address the problem long-term.

WALLACE: It is -- I understand that.

He's the other question. You said Republicans won't go for it. There's another way this could happen. If House Speaker Boehner puts this on the floor in the House and it passes, overwhelmingly with Democratic votes, and then a few Republicans, but overwhelmingly with Democratic votes, will he be removed?

JORDAN: I mean, I don't think (INAUDIBLE) the speaker's -- look, over the last several weeks, you've seen our caucus very united -- 230 some votes for all these bills I've talked about. I don't think you're going to see that -- that -- that, um, -- don't think you'll see that happening.

WALLACE: If he did it, what would happen to Boehner?

JORDAN: Well, I mean, who knows?

That's -- we're -- I don't -- I don't think that's -- that's not even being talked about. We're focused on the principles that I've described. We're focused on addressing the underlying debt problem. And we're also focused -- and this -- the -- I've watched the previous segment -- we're also focused on ObamaCare. It is unfair the way this is being implemented.

WALLACE: All right, let me take -- let me ask you about that. There's a widespread feeling in Washington -- maybe right, maybe wrong, but the feeling in Washington is you're going to have to accept, in the House, something that you hate because, quite frankly, the perception is that you misplayed your hands on ObamaCare.

I want to put up a couple of polls.

According to a Wall Street Journal poll this week, 53 percent now have a negative view of the GOP. That's the worst rating since The Wall Street Journal started polling in 1989.

And support for ObamaCare has actually gone up in the last month from 31 percent to 38 percent, despite all the massive problems with the rollout. And the feeling is it's because of the disgust with the shutdown.

JORDAN: Correct.

WALLACE: Congressman Jordan, rightly or wrongly, forget ObamaCare, politically, has your strategy of linking ObamaCare to all these things, has it backfired big time?

JORDAN: Well, look, we need to delay this law, plain and simple. And you can look at the polls and whatever. But we were elected to stand for certain principles. The vast majority of the American people still know this law doesn't work. The president knows this law doesn't work. We've had 13 days where this thing has been rolled out and it's been a disaster.

And I always point to this -- why is it OK, Chris, for big corporations not to be subject to the plain letter of the law, why is it OK for members of Congress to get a special break under the law, but for that single mom working at a small business, now she has to be subjected to trying to deal with Obama -- and maybe she's now gone down to 29 hours a week because of Obama -- why is that fair?

This -- this is a fundamental...

WALLACE: Congressman (INAUDIBLE) --

JORDAN: -- this is a hallmark principle about this country, equal treatment under the law.

WALLACE: I understand...

JORDAN: And this bill can't do that.

WALLACE: -- your argument, but the fact is, when Paul Ryan had his op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal, his way out, it never mentioned ObamaCare. When John Boehner offered the House Republican plan, which would have extended the debt ceiling and have these budget talks, he never mentioned ObamaCare.

It feels like that has left the station.

JORDAN: There's still a lot of members of the House of Representatives who understand that -- that ObamaCare is unfair the way it's been treated. And all of that -- look, I want to repeal it. We know that's not going to happen with this president.

All we've asked for is delay it. Delay it for individual Americans just like you did for members of Congress...

WALLACE: But you're never going to get that through...

JORDAN: -- just like you...

WALLACE: It's just -- I mean -- I mean, I'm not saying you're right or wrong...

JORDAN: That's a -- that is a -- that is such a simple, fair, pro -- a basic argument consistent with what -- what makes our country such a special country, equal treatment under the law.

WALLACE: But does it -- but doesn't it feel to you like -- like the House Republican leadership...


WALLACE: -- has -- has abandoned you?

JORDAN: And that's an indictment on us, making it better. We need to make a better argument. We need -- we need to make a stronger argument with the American people.

But I think that resonates with the American people, if we continue to make that.

WALLACE: So I -- I guess what -- I'm a little bit confused, because what you're basically saying -- I mean here we just talked to two senators who say, you know, we -- we're going to move even more in the direction -- they agree with you, we're not going to relax the spending cuts, that that's -- that's a nonstarter. But they, you know, ObamaCare never came up in that discussion, either. And -- and, you know, the president is pushing them for fewer and fewer concessions and you're demanding something...


WALLACE: -- that it sounds like your House Republicans...

JORDAN: -- Joe Manchin said last week that he thinks the individual mandate should be -- he thinks it should be relaxed for individuals, they should be given equal treatment.

So here's a Democrat senator from the state of West Virginia who agrees that -- that this is being enforced in an unfair -- unfair fashion.

WALLACE: So how -- well, the last question.

How do you -- do you think that the House Republicans, or Congressional Republicans, are taking the hit that everybody else seems to think they've -- they've taken when you see...

JORDAN: Well...

WALLACE: -- this record level of disapproval?

JORDAN: -- no one -- no one likes a shutdown. We understand that.

But I -- I keep coming back to -- to this idea that somehow we're the bad guys because we're standing up for the simple concept of fairness. This is why people elected us, to stand up and say you know what, we should be treated fairly under the law, this law doesn't work. We all know -- we've had 13 days since it's been rolled out. It hasn't worked.

And the other thing that I'm always amazed at, this president can waive the law for big business and for members of Congress, but he can't waive the law during this shutdown for families whose sons gave their lives serving our country and want their death benefit for the -- I mean to me, that's unbelievable.

So this is a simple argument about fairness. And we're going to keep making it.

WALLACE: Congressman Jordan, thank you.

JORDAN: Thank you.

WALLACE: Thanks for joining us.

Always a pleasure to talk with you, sir.
JORDAN: Thank you.

WALLACE: It's going to be an interesting week.

JORDAN: It is.


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