Steve Chiotakis: Voting could come as early as today in the U.S. House and Senate on a plan to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. Supporters say the proposal cuts $2.4 trillion out of the federal budget over the next decade — including to entitlement programs — making liberal Democrats angry, and to defense programs, making conservatives unhappy. The number is closer to $2.1 trillion, according to the very latest estimate from the Congressional Budget Office. That’s the number that holds the most weight ahead of the vote today.
Republican Congressman David Schweikert serves the fifth district of Arizona, Scottsdale, Tempe — he also sits on the Financial Services Committee. He’s with us now. Congressman, good morning.
David Schweikert: Good morning.
Chiotakis: How are you going to vote on today’s bill?
Schweikert: Well, I don’t know yet. I’m only about one-third into reading the 74 pages so far.
Chiotakis: Well, let’s imagine that you’re one of these meters and you’re reading the pages — where are you leaning right now?
Schweikert: Well, my big concern, and it would be one of the reasons I’d be right now tilting towards a no — I don’t think it’s going to do enough in the 2012-2013 budget cycles. Which is all we really have control of. Our ability to basically hold a future Congress accountable to our numbers is impossible.
Chiotakis: Do you think it’s going to pass?
Schweikert: I do. I think there’s a number of members here that are ready to move on to other subjects.
Chiotakis: What do you say to President Obama who says he was looking for a balanced approach in this deal making and a lot of Republicans, particularly right-wing Republicans, were not ready to get there?
Schweikert: A lot of us found that to be almost sort of silly. Let’s figure, you run up the debt at a crazy rate, then you say ‘oh, the balanced approach would be to give me more revenues.’ If it was a balanced approach, we would have never run up the debt.
Chiotakis: But that wasn’t his debt — it wasn’t all his debt, certainly.
Schweikert: Well — but, but no — the huge spike is his.
Chiotakis: What do you think is missing from this plan?
Schweikert: It’s time for us to start getting our act together to deal with the regulatory overhang, the healthcare overhang — many of these things that are the unknowns out there. I spent a lot of time working on Dodd Frank legislation, and what it’s doing to squeeze down capital formation and expansion of loans instead of helping it. So, we now need to move on to the next level, which is what will grow our economy — what will create more jobs.
Chiotakis: Representative Schweikert from Arizona. Republican and freshman member of Congress. Congressman, thank you.
Schweikert: I’ve enjoyed the discussion.
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