Interview with Representative Jim Jordan

Interview with Representative Jim Jordan

By The Situation Room - July 26, 2011

BLITZER: Joining us is Ohio Republican Congressman Jim Jordan.

He's the chairman of the very influential Republican Study Group.

Congressman, thanks very much for coming in.

JORDAN: Good to be with you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Why do you oppose your House speaker, John Boehner's, proposal that he wants a vote on tomorrow to deal with this crisis?

JORDAN: Well, Wolf, I mean, look, we appreciate the speaker's hard work he's been doing, the fact that there aren't tax increases in this plan, I think that's a -- that's great step in the right direction. But we've always maintained that let's take this moment to ultimately fix the problem and for the first time in American history, get a balanced budget amendment sent out to the states.

Every family, every business, every township, every country, every municipality, every state, everyone has to comply with a balanced budget requirement except, oh, by the way, the one entity that has a $14 trillion debt. And we're getting ready to raise that a couple trillion dollars more.

So let's put that requirement in place. That's the long-term game changer that can ultimately fix the country.

BLITZER: You tried that last week. It was defeated in the Senate. And even if it passed the Senate, the president says he would have vetoed it. So -- so you've got to deal with reality now.

JORDAN: Well, but -- but, Wolf, remember this, the president is saying the same thing about the -- the proposals on the table now and -- at least the "Cut, Cap and Balance" plan actually passed the House. It's the only plan put on paper --


JORDAN: -- the only plan available that's passed the House.

BLITZER: Republicans only -- only have a majority in the House. They don't have a majority in the Senate.

JORDAN: Obviously --

BLITZER: They don't have a majority in the executive branch of the government. You've got to deal with the hand you're dealt. And you can pass anything you want in the House, but if it doesn't pass in the Senate, it's not going anywhere.

JORDAN: Well, the -- the bill that's supposedly being talked about sending over to the Senate tomorrow, Senator Reid is against it. And the president said he's going to veto that, too. So at least one bill has been through the House, one body of Congress --

BLITZER: But it's been rejected in the Senate.

JORDAN: It hasn't been rejected, it's been tabled.

BLITZER: But that's the same thing --


BLITZER: -- for all practical purposes --

JORDAN: No it isn't. No it isn't.

BLITZER: Procedurally, it -- it's not going anywhere right now.

JORDAN: Well, maybe not right now, but who knows what happens down the road here.

The other -- Wolf, this is the thing, it's laid on the table. They didn't have a debate. Put a debate -- let the American people watch. The most deliberative body in the world is supposed to be the United States Senate. Allow it to be debated.

BLITZER: Do you -- do you trust Eric Cantor, the majority leader?

Because he says you and your fellow Republicans who are opposing the speaker right now are just whining and not dealing with reality, the economic crisis that could develop next Tuesday.

JORDAN: I have great respect for Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor. They've got a tough job. They've got to deal with the president of the United States, who's spending his time out there scaring senior citizens instead of reassuring the country that there will be enough money in August to take care of our bond holders, to take care of our senior citizens, to take care of our troops in the field.

So I have a great deal of respect for them. I appreciate the fact that they fought and don't have tax increases in any of these proposals. But we still think, let's put together a plan that ultimately fixes the problem.

There's only plan on the table that would prevent a downgrade. That's the "Cut, Cap and Balance" plan. There's only one plan on the table that has support of the American people, as evidenced by your poll. A CNN poll said 66 percent of Americans like our plan.

So why in the world would we not go with the American people on a plan they support, and, frankly, a plan that fixes the problem?

You know, here's the thing Washington always misses. Washington always wants a deal. America wants a solution. Americans sent us here to solve problems. Our plan solves the problem. It's the smart thing to do. It gives the president the debt ceiling he needs so we can have time to work out of this. But it puts on us the right path by ultimately getting that balanced budget amendment --


JORDAN: -- sent to the states.

BLITZER: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce just put out a statement -- it's not necessarily a liberal Democratic group, as you well know -- backing Speaker Boehner's proposal, saying this, "This legislation is critical. Default on debt obligations is not acceptable option. The time for Congress to act is now."

JORDAN: Wolf --

BLITZER: That's the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

JORDAN: Wolf --

BLITZER: It's not -- it's not the Democratic Party.

JORDAN: You know -- you know there -- that there is not a default problem. We are not going to default on --

BLITZER: Most economists --

JORDAN: -- August 2nd.

BLITZER: Most economists say --

JORDAN: No, no, no, no, no.

BLITZER: -- come August 2nd, Congressman, the U.S. will have a limited amount of money. They'll have to pay the bills, but there will be --

JORDAN: Right.

BLITZER: -- a shortfall and there will be a lot of bills that won't be paid. Maybe they will pay the bills to China and to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but they might not --

JORDAN: Wolf --

BLITZER: -- pay bills to your constituents --

JORDAN: Wolf, there is enough --

BLITZER: -- who need some Social Security payments.

JORDAN: So now you're -- now you're engaged in the scare tactics.

Wolf, remember this, there is enough money in the month of August to pay the bondholders, to pay Social Security recipients and to pay our troops. Now after that this -- BLITZER: But there will be a lot of people that won't get paid. You know that.

JORDAN: And -- and -- and (INAUDIBLE) --

BLITZER: And a lot of parts of the government --

JORDAN: Wolf --

BLITZER: -- will have to shut down.

JORDAN: -- Wolf, even after paying those three that I just described, there's still money to pay other things. But the president would have to actually make some decisions. He would actually have to lead.

He would actually have to prioritize, imagine that?

But there's enough money in August that -- that we can pay the troops, pay Social Security recipients and pay the bondholders to service the debt.

BLITZER: You voted last week for the proposal, the "Cut, Cap and Balance" proposal.

JORDAN: Sure did.

BLITZER: As you know, the speaker himself said on Sunday, he is ready for $800 billion in increased tax revenue as part of the deal. And he also said on Sunday that proposal that he made to the White House still is on the table.

You hate that proposal, don't you?

JORDAN: Well, we're not for tax increases. And there's been no indication that that proposal is still on the table. But I --

BLITZER: He said it was on the table Sunday.

JORDAN: Yes. He said that Sunday, but there's been no indication of that this week. We're -- I'm against tax increases. I think there's a huge majority of Republicans that are against tax increases. I think the American people are against raising taxes on the job creators out there.

So that -- that proposal -- tax increases aren't going to fly in the United States Congress.

BLITZER: Here's what -- a recent CNN/ORC poll asked this question: ""Are Republicans in Congress cooperating enough with President Obama?"

Thirty percent said yes; 68 percent said no.

So I know you have your supporters out there, but this poll shows that they're in the minority. JORDAN: Wolf, the American people sent us here last fall to do the big bold things that will fix the country. There's only one plan on the table that does the big bold things that addresses the problem and provides a solution -- not a deal, but a solution for the American people. That's the plan that passed last week that's sitting on the table in Harry Reid's Senate.

Have him bring it up for a debate. Let the American people watch the debate. I'm -- I'm -- maybe, call me optimistic, but I actually think if the American people could see that debate, they would say to their member of the United States Senate, vote for the "Cut, Cap and Balance" plan.

BLITZER: And just to be precise -- I want to be precise, if there's nothing passed between now and next Tuesday, you're willing to take that chance, whether it's default or not default, you're willing to avoid raising the debt ceiling and let the chips fall where they might?

JORDAN: It's not about falling where they might. Of course we want to get something done before August 2nd. But we want to do the right thing.

Just doing something is not going to prevent a downgrade.

BLITZER: Sometimes you do have to compromise.

JORDAN: But, Wolf -- but, Wolf (INAUDIBLE) --

BLITZER: It sounds you don't even want to compromise.

JORDAN: We want -- we want to compromise.

What do you mean compromise?

We -- we raised the debt ceiling $2.4 trillion, which is what the president wanted. What we're saying is let's put a balanced budget amendment out there so the American people can say, you know what, let's ultimately fix the problem long term and secure a bright future for our kids and our grandkids.

BLITZER: All right, well, we'll see what happens. The vote tomorrow.

You're definitely voting against the speaker, right?

JORDAN: I'm not voting against the speaker, I'm voting against this plan. I think this plan doesn't solve the problem. It's got good things that it keeps out of there, like tax increases. But I'm -- I'm voting against the plan.

BLITZER: And you don't think he has 217 votes to pass it in the House?

JORDAN: I don't think so now.

BLITZER: All right, Congressman.

Thanks very much.


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