Eric Cantor MEET THE PRESS 01/23/11 January 23, 2011 VIDEO TEXT TRANSCRIPT
MR. GREGORY: Good morning. This weekend, the president has offered up a preview of his State of the Union address in an online video to his supporters. The focus of his address, the president says, will be "making sure the economy is working for everybody." And with us this morning for his first appearance here as House majority leader, Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia.
Welcome back to MEET THE PRESS.
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA): Good morning, David.
MR. GREGORY: Everybody's talking about the State of the Union address, and the president is already previewing it. This is a portion of the message that he will deliver on Tuesday. Watch.
PRES. BARACK OBAMA: And so my principle focus, my number one focus, is going to be making sure that we are competitive, that we are growing, and that we are creating jobs not just now, but well into the future. And that's what is going to be the main topic of the State of the Union.
MR. GREGORY: Being competitive, in his mind, also means some additional targeted spending in some areas to make America competitive, as well as cuts, as well as dealing with the deficit. Here is the headline in The New York Times this morning, the way they describe it: "Obama to Press Centrist Agenda in His Address. A Retooled Presidency. Balancing Deficit Cuts with New Spending to Create Jobs."
Is that a vision you can support?
REP. CANTOR: David, you know, I'm, I'm really interested to see and hear what the president has to say. I, I, I think he's got a real chance to lead here. But the question is, did he listen and has he learned from the last election? I think that the vision the president laid out over the last two years is one very much focused on increasing government spending and trying to spawn action from a Washington-based perspective. And, and what the people have said is, "Enough. We've got to shrink government, we've got to cut spending, and we need to really look to the private sector to grow jobs."
MR. GREGORY: But he's saying, he's saying now there's got to be a combination of some spending to keep America competitive, and also cuts dealing with the deficit. Is that a vision you can support?
REP. CANTOR: What we've said is our Congress is going to be a cut and grow Congress; that we believe we've got to cut spending, we've got to cut the regulations that have stopped job growth.
MR. GREGORY: Right.
REP. CANTOR: When the president talks about competitiveness, sure, we want America to be competitive. But then when he talks about investing, I think even someone from the White House this week had said that this is going to be a cut and invest White House. We want to cut and grow. Because when we, we hear invest, when--from anyone in Washington, to me that means more spending. And any...
MR. GREGORY: Right. Well, well, let's just be clear. You don't believe that there's a balance that you have to get right in terms of investing in the economy to help it innovate, to become more competitive. That's not a vision you agree with.
REP. CANTOR: David, where--what I would say is the investment needs to occur in the private sector.
MR. GREGORY: Not by government.
REP. CANTOR: And, and for too long, and for too long now there's been uncertainty on the part of investors.
MR. GREGORY: Right. OK, well, let's, let's pick up where Republicans have left off. Cut and grow, that's the mantra. You campaigned on a pledge to America last September, and this is a part of what you said, it was very clear: "We will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving us at least $100 billion in the first year alone and putting us on a path to balance the budget and pay down the debt." And then you came into office and you said, "Well, we're not going to hit that $100 billion figure." And here was the headline on Friday in The Washington Post: "GOP bloc in the House calls for deeper cuts," and the sub-headline: "Campaign pledge divides the party." You're arguing about just how much to spend. I thought this was already worked out.
REP. CANTOR: David, let, let's step back a minute and look at sort of the whole sort of continuum of the spending challenges. We're, we're going to really have three bites at the apple here as far as approaching reducing spending and the size of Washington. As far as the mess in the past, we're going to have this debt limit increase vote that will come, and that is dealing with the rampant spending that's been in place in this town for some time that's gone on overdrive in, in the last couple years.
MR. GREGORY: And I'll get to the debt limit, but this is a targeted question.
REP. CANTOR: But as far as the decisions that we make now, it is about the continuing resolution vote that will come up in the next month or so, al right?
MR. GREGORY: Right. But $100 billion, or not $100 billion?
REP. CANTOR: And, and we've committed to say $100 billion in reductions, which brings spending down to '08 levels.
FULL TEXT TRANSCRIPT Meet the Press transcript for Jan. 23, 2011
TEXT and VIDEO CREDIT: msnbc.com