Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Representative Andy Ogles (R-TN-05) to the newsmaker line to discuss the passage of a bill that would cut federal spending and raise the debt limit.
Leahy: On the newsmaker line right now, our very good friend congressman from the Fifth Congressional District, Mr. Andy Ogles. Andy, welcome.
Ogles: Good morning. How are you guys?
Leahy: We are great. Andy, I think you were pretty busy up in Washington this week. You passed 217 to 215, a bill that would raise the debt limit but cut spending. Do I have that right? Tell us where that is.
Ogles: Yes. So we sent that over to the Senate. We passed it. It was one of those, if you look at what we passed, that’s actually the framework of the Freedom Caucus plan from March, which is we would raise the debt ceiling so we don’t default on our debt but we would get immediate cuts.
And then over a period of 10 years with one percent growth, it’s somewhere between $3 and $5 trillion. I’m always skeptical of government math. But somewhere in there, in, I’d say the $3 to $5 trillion range. As long as we continue on the same course of being frugal and cutting and cause, you know, we didn’t get here overnight with all of this debt load and this debt burden, and there’s really not enough that we can cut out of the budget to, to fix it on the near term.
So part of the plan and strategy is we have to be energy independent. We’ve got to cut where we can, and we’ve got to grow our economy. And unfortunately, this administration is doing everything they can it would seem to sabotage our economy.
Leahy: Yes. No kidding. So you said it passed from 217 to 215. Very tight. You voted for it, and four Republicans voted against it. It’s gone over to the Senate right now. I’m hearing it’s not getting the best reception over there from Chuck Schumer.
Ogles: A little behind-the-scenes kind of stuff is the Senate Democrats did not think that we would be able to pass it this week, and they did not have a plan. They literally were counting on the fact that it would fail, and then, at the last minute, the coalition would fall apart.
And to Speaker McCarthy’s credit, he worked the Five Families. That’s what we’re called, the Five Families. We held a coalition together. A lot of people worked on that, and they were really caught off guard. There was that oh crap moment in that for the Senate Democrats to say, okay, wow. Now what do we do?
And what we’ve sent is a message to the American people. The House Republicans, we have a plan to fix the economy. It’s not perfect. It’s not gonna get us there overnight, but it’s a move in the right direction. And now it’s up to the Senate Democrats in the White House to come to the table and offer something reasonable that the American people will accept.
And look, saving money and cutting is through the roof polling across the country. That’s what people want to see because everybody knows the gas costs more, milk costs, more bread costs more, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Carmichael: Andy, is the Senate, now that the House has passed a bill to increase the debt ceiling with certain restrictions or certain other things that have to happen, obligated to pass something that increases the debt ceiling?
Ogles: I guess you would’ve to define obligated.
Carmichael: If they don’t, how can the Democrats claim it’s the Republicans in the House who will not raise the debt limit when you’ve already voted to raise the debt limit?
Ogles: That’s right. If we defaulted, if we were to government shutdown, the Senate Democrats are to blame and that’s the corner they’re in now. And so now they’re scrambling. Most of what’s in there the welfare or the SNAP work requirements. That’s simply going back to Clinton-era requirements. We are not asking for things that are drastic.
Some of the budget constraints that we’ve asked for simply going back to pre-COVID levels, so if we increase the budget, increased spending to respond to COVID, the emergency’s been declared over, right? It’s been over for a while. So let’s go back to those pre-COVID spending levels. So everything that we’ve proposed is a reasonable ask.
It’s not as much as the Freedom Caucus would like, and it’s not as much as I would like, but it’s something that we think we can get through the Senate and that the president should ultimately sign. And if they don’t, anything that happens from here on out is their fault.
Leahy: You’ve been up there in Washington representing the 5th Congressional District for four months. Has anything surprised you in that four months? Has it been anything good, anything bad?
Ogles: I would say the hectic pace. Now part of that is self-conflicted on myself. My legislative team, we’ve been the most prolific freshman office in this class. We’ve passed more amendments. We’ve co-sponsored more legislation. We’ve written more letters to agencies asking for accountability. And so that creates a heavy workload.
And literally, as soon as we get off the radio, I’m going to the House floor to give a speech on my t-check. I officially start my day around seven, and I end around 9:00 to 10:00 pm. I’m also on the congressional baseball team, which means my day actually starts at 5:30 in the morning. But again, that part of itself inflicted.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Andy Ogles” by Andy Ogles. Background Photo “U.S. Capitol” by GPA Photo Archive.