Live from Music Row Thursday 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 John Rose (R-TN-06) to the newsmaker line to discuss the vote passed by Republicans in Congress to increase the debt limit contingent upon a cut in spending.
Leahy: On the newsmaker line now, our very good friend, Congressman John Rose, a Republican, who represents the 6th District of Tennessee. Good morning, Congressman Rose. Thanks for joining us.
Rose: Good morning, Michael Patrick. Thanks for having me on the show this morning.
Leahy: There was a vote last night on the bill that the speaker put together to increase the debt limit, but only if spending was cut. Tell us about that bill. Tell us how you voted and why.
Rose: Sure. I’ll again, by saying I voted in favor of this, and I think it is exactly the right approach. We have; we’ve exceeded the debt limit of the United States, and we have to pay our bills. And what we are offering to the president, what we’re proposing.
And I really applaud our speaker, Kevin McCarthy for leading us down this path to put this in the president’s hands and force the president to react. But we’re proposing to increase it, but only if we tighten our belt and we get our spending under control.
And so we’ve proposed a raft of items that would tighten the belt of this country and do what I think every sane American and every Tennesseean would do if they found themselves in this problem.
And that is that they would start cutting expenses and try to live within their means. And so we’ve proposed over $4.8. trillion in cuts over the next 10 years. And importantly, real cuts just under a trillion dollars in year one. And I think that’s a very good start. And that’s why I supported it.
Leahy: And the vote was very narrow. Two hundred seventeen voted yes on the Limit Save Grow Act of 2023, 214, voted no. Did any Democrat vote in favor of this?
Rose: No Democrats, all Republicans. And I think that’s really telling, and I think it sends a message that Democrats are the ones that apparently want to default on this country’s debt, and they’re not taking this seriously starting with.
The president of the United States and certainly leader Chuck Schumer over on the Senate side, they’re playing a game of chicken and racing toward a collision that would put the full faith and credit of this country in jeopardy. And I think that’s really irresponsible.
So we’re proposing a reasonable, responsible approach to dealing with this issue. And again, I think it’s the way that most Americans would approach this in their personal finances or in their business finances if they found themselves deep in debt.
You start by cutting out the expenses that you can and tightening your belt and getting your spending in line. And that’s what we’re proposing here. And a message to the president, don’t monkey with the full faith and credit of this country. Don’t risk default.
Leahy: President Biden previously said he wouldn’t negotiate with the House, but now this is passed. Will President Biden sit down and talk with Speaker Kevin McCarthy about their differences on the debt limit?
Rose: I certainly hope so, and I believe it would be the only reasonable thing for him to do. I don’t know if he’s capable of having that negotiation, but perhaps some of his lieutenants that actually do the real thinking at the White House may be dispatched to do this, but it is time to have that negotiation. He doesn’t need to delay any longer.
Speaker McCarthy met with him more than two months ago. I think, 70 days ago, and the president has not followed up one time. Obviously, he spent a lot of time in the press trying to blame Republicans for this, and it’s just unreasonable. I think the president has shown his colors, he’s shown his cards. And he’s recklessly taking us toward default.
Leahy: Would you say President Biden is negotiating in good faith?
Rose: I don’t think he’s negotiated at all yet, and he knows the answer. Obviously, we were told about this when he was running for president two and a half years ago, that he had spent his entire adult life in Washington in a public position in Congress. And so he knows how this is done. He’s done it many times. He’s participated in it many times as a senator during his decades of service.
And so he knows, and he knows well, that the last eight times that we seriously addressed the spending of this country, it was occasioned by a need to increase the debt limit of this of the nation. And so he understands the drill here, and he’s just engaging in reckless brinksmanship.
Leahy: Isn’t this political theater, though? Whether or not he even meets in person with McCarthy, he’s not going to do anything. He’s going to say, you reckless MAGA extremists! You’re trying to ruin the country. Then he’ll go out and he’s not going to do anything. Schumer’s not going to do anything. What happens, then?
Rose: We’ve got a proposal on the table and so ultimately they either let the clock run out and this country defaults on its debt. As Republicans, I think we’ve stepped up in a way that they didn’t expect we could. We pulled together. We passed this bill. We garnered the votes.
All on our side that we had to get the job done. I don’t think they thought we could do that. Going all the way back to this election of McCarthy as Speaker. And we’ve proven now that we can. I think it really puts the ball in their court, and the House has acted, so ultimately, they may wait till the 11th hour.
But if they don’t act, they can’t say it’s because the House and Republicans didn’t act. We have given them a solution to move forward as the proposal includes extending the debt ceiling through March 31st, 2024, or extending it by $1.5 trillion, whichever comes first.
And so it’s a perfectly reasonable proposal to make sure that this country continues to pay its debt. And so if there’s a downgrade in credit rating, if there is turmoil in the markets, and if we ultimately were to default in some way, that’s completely on the shoulders of Joe Biden.
Leahy: When does the clock run out on the current budget?
Rose: That’s interesting because we have a case where I guess you could say our negotiating partner in this in this issue, which is the administration, also is the official that decides when the clock runs out.
And so they aren’t telling us that exactly. We have heard that spending has been above what was expected and that it probably comes sooner than later. But from what we understand, the extraordinary measures that the Treasury Secretary has been taking to continue to finance the government since we actually technically hit the debt ceiling back in January supposedly will run out perhaps sometime in June.
That’s really their call, but it, but. We’ve acted now in the House. We’ve done our work, and you know that it’s now time for Senator Schumer to do his work and for the President to do his work.
And if they don’t like our proposal, they’re perfectly entitled to present their own proposal and see if they can get the votes to pass that. I dare say they don’t have the votes in the House to pass their proposal at this point. We’ve shown that we do have those votes.
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 “John Rose” by John Rose.