Interview with Representative Ben Quayle

Interview with Representative Ben Quayle

By John King, USA - July 13, 2011

KING: The new freshman Republican class in Congress does not have a representative at those big White House meetings yet, it is a driving force nonetheless. Because Speaker John Boehner is on notice these new members expect their campaign promises to be honored in any deal.

Ben Quayle is a new representative from Arizona's 3rd Congressional District. He's with us live from Capitol Hill tonight. Congressman, do you believe there needs to be a deal or if we get to August 2nd and there's not a deal to your liking, so what?

REP. BEN QUAYLE (R), ARIZONA: Well I would like to see a deal. I think that we need to make sure that we do not default on our debts, but we also need to make sure that we actually have some spending reductions and some structural reform the way we spend money in Washington. Now you talk about Moody's and their ratings and talking about if there's an actual default, and we don't want to default.

But we also have to understand that if we don't have the real spending reductions and the structural reforms, the bond vigilantes in the market, we're going to take it out on us going forward because they realize that Washington isn't serious about cutting their spending and living within our means.

KING: And so when you hear the Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell say, you know what, I might agree with everything you just said there Congressman Quayle, but we Republicans will get the blame if the government defaults. What do you say to him?

QUAYLE: Well I understand Senator McConnell's frustration. He's been in the room and there's been a lot of frustration with how the White House has been able to handle this. But what I say is that you know if you hit August 2nd, you know we can actually not default on our debt, but we're going to have to prioritize our spending. So what we need to do is hopefully we'll be able to come to an agreement that actually gets our spending down. But let's not start to fear monger when we're out there talking about cuts to Social Security if we don't reach an agreement by August 2nd.

KING: Well let's -- you make the point about prioritizing. I'm just going over the wall here to show our viewers because you make an important point. And by fear mongering I assume you believe -- mean the president's thing when he said just yesterday perhaps Social Security checks wouldn't go out, perhaps veteran's checks wouldn't go out. This is an analysis from the bipartisan Policy Center.

They say essentially the government in years past in August takes in about $172 billion, has about $306 billion in bills to pay. Therefore, you'd be short about 134 billion. Remember this number, 172 billion, if you go back and look at big ticket items here. As you come out to the safety net. I need to take this one off -- make that one go away.

And you come back and you look at this deficit scenario here, if you look at interest on the debt and you look at Social Security payments and you look at Medicare and Medicaid, some other services, then you hit up to the money pretty quickly there of what the government has. So the question is priorities. Congressman, yes, the president could send the Social Security checks out, but if he did that, something else wouldn't get paid. The military might not get paid. How would you prioritize?

QUAYLE: Well that's the thing, is that we need to prioritize. I think we should be looking to not default on our debt. We should be paying Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and our military pay. And I believe we can do that with the revenues that we're taking in. Now I want a deal. I want to make sure we do not default that we don't have to get this prioritization, but those are going to be the president's responsibilities. If he cannot come to the table and actually agree with the House Republicans, the Senate Republicans, the Senate Democrats on a deal that will get through both chambers --

KING: And can a deal have any revenue increases?

QUAYLE: Well you talk about revenue increases, I want tax reform. Not in this deal because it's going to be too late. It's too complicated of a matter. I think tax increases at this time is a bad idea. It's going to hurt job growth and economic growth. We need to get this focused solely on spending and reductions in spending. And then we can get to the tax reform later on that can get rid of the loopholes and lower the corporate tax rate and personal income tax rate that the president has been talking about and seems to be in agreement with us on.

KING: There's been a lot of talk in town that when there was word that Speaker Boehner might be negotiating a grand compromise with the president, $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the decade, but the possibility -- and the speaker says this never came up in any detail, but the possibility of some revenue increases, that freshmen like yourself said, whoa, wait a minute. We campaigned on this. This is our red line, no way. Is that true?

QUAYLE: What Speaker Boehner and what Leader Cantor said that there were no tax hikes that Speaker Boehner was going to be agreeing to, we believed that that was off the table because it's not a good time to be raising taxes during an economic slowdown. When we're having such an anemic recovery right now, we need to get more revenue into the government, and that happens through more economic growth, getting more taxpayers into the system, not through increasing your taxes, which is going to slow economic growth and actually hurt our feeble recovery right now.

KING: Do you include loopholes in that, taking away some oil -- subsidies to the oil companies perhaps, corporate jets, the ethanol subsidy, could you support a deal that has closing loopholes like that in it?

QUAYLE: If we have closing loopholes and tax reductions, then we can start talking, but the things that you're talking about, these loopholes, you know talk about things that the president is saying and some of this stuff, we're talking about tax deductions for companies, not just specifically for one industry. We want to, and we talked about it in our 2012 budgets about getting rid of those loopholes and making the tax code a lot simpler and actually having a tax code that's pro growth so that companies that provide the best services and the best products actually succeed rather than those who have the most influence in Washington to give them a special carve-out (ph) in the tax code. These are the types of things that we want in the future, but it's going to be too late going up against the August 2nd when we want to come to an agreement right now.

KING: Congressman Ben Quayle of Arizona, appreciate your insights tonight. We'll keep in touch as this one plays out.

QUAYLE: Thanks John.


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John King, USA

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