Interviews

Rep. Jordan: Trump's budget treats taxpayers with respect

Ohio Republican congressman and member of the House Freedom Caucus defends proposal that could impose work requirements for some food stamp recipients

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 23, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, now, the White House is proposing this work requirement for programs like SNAP and some of the others like a work-to- welfare, welfare-to-work. You have heard of the whole -- going back to Bill Clinton working with Newt Gingrich back in the mid-'90s.

Ohio Republican Congressman Jim Jordan was there at that time, a member of the House Freedom Caucus.

And, Jim, when I look at this, it wasn't a crazy idea to think that we should start means-testing some benefit programs.

REP. JIM JORDAN, R-OHIO: Yes. Yes.

CAVUTO: We should also give people the decency and the opportunity for work before they got something.

Now, if they're totally incapable of that, that's one thing. But I cannot imagine 45 million Americans are.

JORDAN: Right. Right.

CAVUTO: What do you think?

JORDAN: No, no, you're exactly right.

Work requirements do two things, Neil. First, they treat taxpayers with respect, something Budget Director Mulvaney talked about today, treating them with the respect they deserve as the hardworking taxpayers who support this government.

And, second, they help those families who have been stuck in this welfare system get to a better position in life. Imagine what we're doing right now. Think about the first job you had, probably making a lot less than minimum wage. But the skill set you learned -- I know we were mowing lawns.

There's the first job, running a little lawn moving business back in Ohio. But the skill set you learn from that that gets you to something better in life, we're robbing people of that right now, because it's better off for them just to live off the taxpayer, to live off of these programs.

So let's change that dynamic. Let's help those individuals and let's treat the taxpayer with respect. That's what this budget does. That's why I think it's off to a good start.

CAVUTO: Yes, already, it's being criticized.

John McCain, for example, criticized the defense budget, around $600 billion of it, that we should have more. My point is -- I don't know your views on the subject -- that if we can't extract some savings or reprioritize there, then maybe we're not looking hard enough. I don't mean to be indifferent to our global pressures and struggles.

JORDAN: Right.

CAVUTO: Having said that, though, there are a lot of people who build into this budget and say, the 3 percent growth target, totally unrealistic.

Now, maybe I'm just an old fart, Congressman, but I can remember when we lapped growth like that and that it was almost routine. Now, I understand, in recent history, it's not been.

JORDAN: Right.

CAVUTO: But if you're telling me 3 percent isn't doable, after less than 2 percent growth, then we're not looking too hard.

JORDAN: Yes.

President Obama was the first president since World War II not to have at least one year, not one single year in his administration, when we hit 3 percent or higher. So I think we can get there.

CAVUTO: And why does that make a big difference, Congressman, just to understand that?

JORDAN: Because you can't do with a $20 trillion debt by -- you can't address that with just cuts alone or even frankly what you were describing earlier, just with spending reduction -- or -- excuse me -- reductions in the rate of growth.

You have to have economic growth, so let's create that kind of climate.

CAVUTO: But how do you fight the media battle on this? Because then you're going to be portrayed as the newer, younger version of the guy pushing granny off the cliff.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: And you're going to be portrayed as being heartless and callous, even though, under Republican, Democrat administrations alike, it seems these programs just grow, grow, grow, grow, grow.

JORDAN: You tell the truth. You talk about the hardworking people in West Central and North Central Ohio I get to represent who get up and go to work every day.

And when they're getting up to go to work, they look a couple houses down and they see a guy sitting on the front porch drinking his coffee, reading the paper. And the worker knows that the sitter can work, but won't work, and is getting their money.

How is that fair? How is that the right thing? How is that good for the guy on the front porch and how is that the good for the guy who is going to work?

So, you talk about it in those terms and say, look, we're going to address these changes. We're going to get our economy growing the way it needs to grow, so everybody has opportunity.

CAVUTO: All right.

JORDAN: That's the way you talk it. You just tell the truth and make the argument and talk about the things that voters sent us here to accomplish.

CAVUTO: Congressman, that is well very put. Appreciate it.

JORDAN: Thank you.

END

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