OTR Interviews

Sen. Ayotte: Pres. Obama has rendered himself 'irrelevant' in the budget battle

Sen. Kelly Ayotte on the looming budget battle and President Obama's failure to meet a budget deadline


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 12, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight: Talk about nerve! The White House slamming Congressman Paul Ryan's budget plan, yet the White House hasn't bothered to put out its own budget. The law says the president must submit a budget by the first Monday in February, but that didn't happen.

Senator Kelly Ayotte is on the Budget Committee. She joins us. Nice to see you.

SEN. KELLY AYOTTE, R-NH: Good to be with you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Where's the president's budget? I know that you're not responsible for the president, but are you curious?

AYOTTE: I'm very curious where it is. I mean, you think about it -- actually, I'm glad that the Senate Democrats are finally, after four years, going to do a budget in the Senate. But basically, he's rendered himself irrelevant because his budget apparently is going to come after the House puts forth its budget, after the Senate does its budget. And so where is he on this issue? You'd think he would have a fiscal blueprint for the country.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know what I don't get -- and you're a lawyer, I'm a lawyer, and maybe I'm too literal about this, but he is obligated to do it by I think the first Monday in February. Now, I know presidents before him have also failed. I mean, this is not the first time any president -- and he's failed a number of times. But he -- when -- you know, when there's just -- when all these presidents -- and they -- I mean, the reason why we have these rules is that we have some semblance of order. But he said, OK, it's going to be the end of March, and now we hear it's going to be into April.

I mean, what's the point of these rules and these laws?

AYOTTE: You know, Greta, you're absolutely right. It's the law of the land. It's been ignored. It's been ignored in the Senate for almost four years. The House has done a budget. And so you'd think that these rules would mean something. They're there for a reason, so that as we're doing the budget markup, the president has actually presented his blueprint for the country.

And so we're going to be going into the budget markup. I'm on the Budget Committee, and we'll be doing it without his piece of it. And frankly, when he drops it, you know, it'll be irrelevant.

VAN SUSTEREN: But you say you're on the Budget Committee, but the fact is, you are a Republican in a Democratic-dominated Senate, and that same thing happens in reverse in the House, is that -- I take it that you have -- I mean, I would hope that the Republicans would have some input, give and take so we had some semblance of bipartisanship.

But I mean, do the Democrats permit any participation by the Republicans? And I guess the question would be in reverse if you were in majority.

AYOTTE: Well, I have to say this, Greta. I mean, one thing -- what we do know is that we are going to be giving our opening statements tomorrow in the Budget Committee in the Senate. But here's the interesting thing. We won't actually get the Democrats' budget until after we give our opening statements, which is absurd on its face.

But we will get their budget. What they have released about their budget so far is it'll have a trillion dollars in new taxes, that it won't balance within the 10-year window. In fact, it may never balance. And also, even though there's a trillion dollars in tax increases, it's not going to fundamentally reform the mandatory programs, Social Security, Medicare, that are going bankrupt.

So you know, I'm waiting to see it. And we will have our chance to weigh in on it. We will have amendments to it. And certainly, we'll present our vision, which will be bringing us to balance in 10 years, like the House is going to do.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you mention balance -- President Obama speaking with George Stephanopoulos, ABC, and he was quoted as saying, in part, "My goal is not to chase a balanced budget for the sake of balance."

AYOTTE: Well, you know, I guess chasing a balanced budget for the sake of balance is not a good reason. But chasing a balanced budget -- making sure we have a balanced budget because, first of all, it makes sense. It's good for economic growth and really getting jobs created in this country.

If we continue to run the trillion-dollar deficits each year, it hurts our economic growth. But also, it puts us in a position -- I'm a mother of two children. I mean, what are we doing? What are we passing on to the next generation? We're spending their money? It's outrageous!

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think the Democrats have such a vastly different view of it on the Senate Budget Committee than Republicans?

AYOTTE: Well, you know, I think that they have a -- I think that they're -- they have a view that if they keep spending and spending, that government can solve every problem. And we have a view that government has an important place but that we believe that jobs are created in the private sector. Let's create a great climate for private sector growth, a tax climate, the regulatory climate, and let's get our fiscal house in order and make sure that we're responsible with taxpayer dollars.

VAN SUSTEREN: You mentioned taxes. I understand that Senate -- Senator Patty Murray, who is the chairman of the Budget Committee, is going to -- there's going to be some stimulus element to this budget bill and that one of the ways they pick up the revenue to do it is from closing loopholes.

Do you have any problem with closing loopholes?

AYOTTE: Well, I actually think that doing tax reform would be positive for economic growth, but what they have put forward and the vision would be to simplify the code and lower rates, to make our tax code easier to file, but also make us more competitive, particular on the corporate rate, but also for individual rates. A lot of businesses file that way.

But what they're putting forth is an additional trillion dollars in taxes. They haven't said how they'll do that. And that's on top of the $600 billion dollars in revenue that came from the fiscal cliff. So then you're $1.6 trillion. And then you put the "Obama care" taxes on top of it. You know, our businesses are struggling already. This has to hit the middle class. It has to hit almost every average American.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do they ever talk to you, the Democrats, about this? I mean, there is -- is there a give and take? Do you have budget meetings where you sit down and talk about this stuff, or it simply the Republicans in one corner and the Democrats in the other?

AYOTTE: Well, we do have some meetings, bipartisan meetings, where they're more informal and we're talking about the fiscal state of the country and how we can come together. But so far, the Budget Committee -- you know, I'm glad that there is going to be a budget markup. I think that it's positive because they're not ignoring the law this year. But not -- we will have different visions on how we make sure that we address the fiscal challenges facing the country.

And theirs doesn't involve balancing at all. That doesn't seem important to them. I think people -- the average American understands at home, they have to balance their budget. States have to balance their budget. So at some point, you keep running these deficits, how do you pay it back?

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, you run up the credit card...

AYOTTE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... eventually it -- it'll bite you because you can't pay the interest on it.

AYOTTE: Absolutely.

VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway, Senator, it's nice to he see you.

AYOTTE: Great to see you, too, Greta.