Live from Music Row, Tuesday 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. – guest host Aaron Gulbransen welcomed Representative John Rose (R-TN-06) to the newsmaker line to discuss the debt ceiling talks.
Gulbransen: On the newsmaker line, we have U.S. Congressman John Rose. Good morning, sir. How are you?
Rose: Good morning, Aaron. Thanks for having me on The Tennessee Star Report this morning.
Gulbransen: I’m glad to have you, and I want to thank you very much for waking up this early. We have to be here, but no, thank you for taking the time. I wanted to get an update. And obviously, feel free to talk about whatever you’d like, but I want to get an update on the debt ceiling talks.
I feel like the Biden administration has just bombarded the public with misinformation about the process in general, the 14th Amendment, and a number of things. And I know this is a loaded and lengthy question, but yes, if you could do that, sir, I’d appreciate it.
Rose: Sure. I think what’s important to remember, despite what you hear in the mainstream media, including newspapers right there in Nashville that have been really misleading the public about where we stand is, the House has done our homework.
We have extended the debt ceiling in a sensible, reasonable, and responsible manner. We’ve turned in our homework, it’s done, and the president hasn’t done his homework. That’s really where we are.
And the president has been around Washington for a long time, as we all know. He brags about that and his experience in Washington. You would think that he’d know how this is done. And so we’ve done our homework. We’ve extended the debt ceiling. There’s no reason for default.
The House Republicans have gotten that job done, and the Senate needs to do its job, and the president needs to do his job. And then we can avoid default, and we would not have to put in jeopardy millions of Americans’ benefits, and our soldier’s pay or the risk of defaulting on the payments of interest and debt might happen if the president continues down the reckless path that he is on.
The president wasted all spring, refusing to negotiate like an obstinate, stubborn child. I’ve got a two-year-old named Sam. And Sam throws temper tantrums sometimes when he wants his way, and he refuses to do what we tell him he has to do.
And that’s what the president has been doing. So if the markets are roiled, if the full faith and credit of the United States are put at risk, it will be because Joe Biden decided to go down this path when he knew better.
Gulbransen: Just, for those who are not very educated on high finance, I just say high finance, but sometimes the government can be called low finance. But how really at risk are we at default given this situation?
Rose: I would say the risk is more symbolic than real in that the U.S. government and by the way, Secretary Yellen made this point over the weekend herself, it didn’t get a lot of attention, but the U.S. government takes in dollars every day in tax revenue, and so there’s no reason why the government couldn’t prioritize its payments and fully pay interest and principle as it came due and fully pay social security benefits and fully pay our soldiers in the field that are defending this country.
But if the debt ceiling is not extended, they would not be able to pay all the bills as they come due. And so, it would become necessary to cut back on spending. The same thing that every Tennesseean listening to this show this morning would do if suddenly they didn’t have enough money. They might not take a vacation.
They might not buy as expensive food or clothing as they would, but they would have to make some reasonable cuts to their spending. And that’s where we are as a country. And so Republicans have proposed what could be seen as very modest cuts, really. In fact, they’re not cuts at all other than we are saying. Let’s go back to the baseline budget that we had in December. Just in December.
Let’s go back to that point. And then let’s allow the discretionary portion of the budget, the discretionary domestic portion of the budget, to grow at one percent a year for the next 10 years. So we’re not talking about cuts each year over 10 years. We’re saying let’s let it grow at just one percent. Those two steps alone save $3.6 trillion.
The other cuts we’ve proposed, which again are things that we would just not do that we haven’t been doing, like hiring 87,000 IRS agents or handing out billions of dollars in Green New Deal tax credits to wealthy Americans who buy electric vehicles or install solar panels, and that sort of thing that the president has proposed. These are the kinds of cuts we’re talking about. So for your listeners, we’re not talking about taking food out of babies’ mouths.
We’re not talking about depriving seniors of the basic benefits they need or removing healthcare benefits. We are saying, by the way, though, that those folks who receive Medicaid, which in Tennessee we call Tenn Care if they’re able-bodied working adults without children.
They have to get a job, and that seems like a reasonable thing. We all know the best way to end poverty is for people to go to work and to get a job. And so we are putting some, and it’s a basic requirement that was in place just before COVID, and again, these are very modest, very reasonable changes that Republicans are suggesting.
These are not the things that will solve our problem once and for all, but we believe this is a reasonable first step. And obviously, the debt ceiling extension that we’ve proposed would take us through next March 31st, which means that we would have time then to sit down with the president over the coming year and figure out what the second step should be for getting our financial house in order.
Gulbransen: I lament the day and age we’re in where the White House and its far-left compatriots and what I call the left-stream media. I am basically saying that everything you just described, which is common sense, and you guys have already passed out of the House, a debt ceiling package, and that you are not doing your job. That is very sad to say that is the message coming out of the White House and is patently untrue.
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 for Tennessee. Background Photo “U.S. Capitol” by Quick PS.