On Monday, Breitbart News asked GA Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) whether he thought the House would agree to a budget deal with President Obama that further increased taxes. Rep. Price responded bluntly, “the President got his revenue,” referring to the $600 billion in new taxes agreed to during the fiscal cliff negotiations. Price also noted that the looming implementation of ObamaCare would bring more than $1 trillion in new revenue through higher taxes into the government. “We don’t have a revenue problem,” Price said. “We have a spending problem.”
The exchange came during a wide-ranging interview with Rep. Price on the current fiscal debates. Price is the number two Republican on the House Budget Committee and a former Chair of the conservative Republican Policy Study Committee. He has assumed an increasingly vocal role in crafting the House’s budget strategy.
“At the start of the year, looking 4-6 months ahead,” Price observed, “we saw four events; debt ceiling, sequestration, the continuing resolution and the budget. We hoped that getting a few early wins would build towards getting a deal on a balanced budget plan.”
A challenge for Republicans at the start of the year was that a number of small “crises” were scheduled to take place before the debate over a budget began in earnest. Holding the line on the sequester cuts and pushing the debt ceiling and government funding debate until after the budget is resolved, provides the opportunity to have a “clean” debate over a balanced budget plan.
Achieving a balanced budget is not simply an accounting issue for Price. “It isn’t really about getting two numbers to add up,” Price said. “It’s about how we grow the economy and create the jobs we need for Americans, as well as future generations.”
Price stressed that America’s fiscal dysfunction is the greatest threat to creating an economy that affords our children the same opportunities we have enjoyed. “We have to balance the budget in order to grow the economy,” Price said.
Asked about the long-delayed Senate budget plan released last week by Senate Democrats, Price dismissed it, saying, “It never gets to balance. It raises taxes. It does nothing about entitlements.”
Price said that it is vital we have meaningful entitlement reform if we are to balance the budget. He is hopeful that Obama is open to some reforms, but noted he would have some difficulty with his Democrat allies in Congress.
The House GOP is in a better negotiating position on the budget then they have been the past two years. Part of this have been avoiding manufactured “crises” that make substantive negotiations almost impossible. Without these, the GOP can put the full focus on the need to balance the budget and the positive economic growth that will result. Growth, rather than accounting, is the path to successfully restoring our fiscal house.
Even this, however, only gets on so far. Asked about whether he thought the GOP could successfully win the necessary reforms, Price reflected, “it depends on whether the public engages.”
It always does.