New Year New Congress

Fiscal Donnybrook 

With John Roberts hosting for a vacationing Chris Wallace, Congressmen Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) had a lively discussion about the fiscal fights ahead in the post fiscal cliff new year.

Van Hollen says: 

Representative Chris Van Hollen called a Sunday statement by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that the recent fiscal cliff deal means taxes are off the table in future debt reduction talks “a recipe for gridlock.”  Asked about the lack of spending cuts in the deal and if cuts should be the focus moving forward, Van Hollen acknowledged more needs to be done to reduce the debt and reiterated the President’s position of a balanced approach of cuts and revenue.Van Hollen called the option of letting the debt limit lapse as part of a republican negoiation position linking any rise in the debt limit to spending cuts, a “madman theory” that would tank the US economy. 

Jordan says: 

Congressman Jim Jordan said the only winner in the recent fiscal cliff deal was Washington and was adamant that spending cuts now be the focus of further debt reduction.   Jordan was highly skeptical of administration claims that they are open to further spending cuts, calling them the same old promise. Jordan called the current situation “madness” saying “we have yet to cut one dime.”  The Ohio Republican went on to say that so far the President was simply asking for a new credit card and that he would not support any future deal that didn’t address the problem of a government that he says “can’t control spending.”

Cruz comes to Washington 

In his first appearance on Fox News Sunday since becoming a senator, Republican Ted Cruz talked about a spectrum of issues: 

On the fiscal fracas in Washington – Cruz reiterated that he would not have supported the recent fiscal cliff deal on taxes, and he believes that the best way to solve the country’s debt woes is a pro-growth approach.   

On the debt limit negotiations - Cruz, said the President was “trying to scare people” over the debt limit, though the Texas Senator was clear that he does not support government default as an option. 

On former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as Obama’s likely pick for Secretary of Defense – Cruz would find it very difficult to support him saying, Hagel has “not been a friend of Israel,” and has projected weakness. 

On bipartisan bickering in Congress – Cruz says Washington doesn’t need more compromise, “it needs more common sense.”