Lawmakers made the rounds on the Sunday talk shows to defend their parties’ positions on both the fiscal 2012 budget and whether the debt ceiling should be raised. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood discussed the debt limit and the rash of air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job respectively. Donald Trump also made an appearance, lambasting President Obama and taking a jab at fellow Republican and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
Meet the Press (NBC)
Treasury Secretary Geithner: We need to raise the debt ceiling
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that Congress will have to raise the debt ceiling, even if it hasn’t yet completed work on reducing long-term deficits, which Republicans say is an essential part of getting their support for raising the limit. “If by the time we need to raise the debt limit, we haven’t worked all that out, Congress still has to raise the debt limit,” Geithner said. He said the Republicans holding the debt limit as a bargaining chip are playing a dangerous political game. “They’re going to own the responsibility for the risks that creates for the American economy,” he said. Geithner also said higher gas prices are not putting the economic recovery in danger, even though they have slowed progress.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), responding to Geithner, reinforced that long-term cuts need to be in place before he will vote to raise the debt ceiling. “That’s his opinion,” Lee said. “It doesn’t make any sense to do that. We need structural reform, reform like a balanced budget amendment.”
Former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan said there should be no debt limit, since Congress and the president already set the budget and know how money it will need to be borrowing in the future.
This Week (ABC)
Geithner: ‘I think it would make the last crisis look like a tame’
Geithner said that the consequences of Congress not raising the debt ceiling include stopping government payments like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and veterans’ benefits and would risk defaulting on its interest payments. “If we did that, we tip the U.S. economy and the world economy back into recession, depression,” Geithner said. “I think it would make the last crisis look like a tame, modest crisis.”
In response, tea party-aligned Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) said, “I don’t believe in leadership by fear and intimidation.”
Fox News Sunday
Sen Tom Coburn: Lawmakers will have to ‘swallow’ Gang of Six plan
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he is “outraged” about a series of incidents in recent months in which air traffic controllers have fallen asleep on the job. “They have to be well-rested, and they have to be alert,” LaHood said, calling it a “personal responsibility issue.” LaHood said he will make three recommendations: that the time between shifts be increased from eight to nine hours, that managers be more available late at night and early in the morning, and that air traffic controllers no longer be allowed to stack shifts in order to have a longer weekend. He said the air traffic controllers’ union has agreed to the changes. He said he will not be allowing employees to take naps on the job, as some other countries do to encourage alertness.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said that budget proposal from the bipartisan Gang of Six, of which he is a member, won’t appeal to either side, but that they will have to “swallow” it. “What the country needs to hear from the leaders in Washington is, ‘We understand how big this problem is, and we’re willing to lose elections to do what is best for the country,’” Coburn said. “And that’s not happening now.”
State of the Union (CNN)
Rand Paul: ‘We’re still heading head-long towards a debt crisis’
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) discussed the ongoing debate over the budget and whether the debt ceiling should be raised. “I don’t want to keep giving an irresponsible government more money,” the Kentucky Republican said. “Somebody needs to stand up and say, ‘The Emperor has no clothes.’”Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) followed immediately after Paul saying, “The debt ceiling should be passed as clean as possible,” said Weiner. “The Republicans really have to stop playing politics with this.”
Real estate mogul and reality TV host Donald Trump joined to discuss the high price of oil, his potential presidential bid, and the perception of the U.S. abroad. “I wish I didn’t have to do it,” Trump said regarding a potential presidential bid. He said. “He said he enjoyed his life and “has a very successful show.”
“I will tell you, I am giving it serious, serious thought and I am honored by the polls,” said Trump, referring to recent polls that show him leading other potential 2012 Republican hopefuls. “You know why they know my name? It’s because of success.”
McKeon: ‘I hope that there is a request to keep some troops’ in Iraq
Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), Armed Services Committee Chairman joined to discuss both defense spending, Iraq and the subject of women and homosexuals serving in the military.
Asked whether the troops should pull out of Iraq at the end of the year, McKeon said “I hope that there is a request to keep some troops there. … I’m not convinced that the Iraqis are totally ready” to maintain security. McKeon’s remarks come a day after House Speaker John Boehner made a surprise visit to Baghdad.
Asked about women in combat, McKeon said, “People may be talking about it, but it’s the first time it has been brought up to me.” When pressed, McKeon referred to his granddaughter who joined the National Reserves, “I can’t imagine that little blonde out there on the front lines, but that doesn’t mean that others may not be qualified. We’ve lost men and women in Afghanistan, whether they call it a combat role or not.” Asked if was leaning towards a “yes,” McKeon said, “I try to keep an open mind on things. And I don’t think that I’m the smartest person that ever walked the planet. … So I’m open to debate, hearing what other people have to say.”
Asked what he personally thought about gays serving in the military, McKeon said, “It doesn’t bother me at all. What I’m concerned about are the troops that it may bother.” McKeon went on to say that his chief concern was readiness, and that he did not believe the question as to whether having gays serve openly would create a distraction in the military and upset troop readiness had been answered sufficiently.
CBS’s Face the Nation
Sen. Mark Warner: ‘We’re going to make everyone mad with our approach’
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) joined to discuss his 2012 budget proposal, the debt ceiling and the president’s speech Wednesday in which he criticized Ryan’s spending plan. “Look, I could go point-by-point on all of those things, but I don’t see how productive it would be to get into a partisan bickering match with the president,” said Ryan after listening to the president’s remarks recorded during a hot-mic moment on Friday. “I think the tone needs to be set at the top,” said Ryan, going on to say that the tone should be one of “mutual respect.”
Asked about his comments on The Charlie Rose Show that he may have to move on the budget without the president, Ryan softened his position saying, “My point is that we need to lead. … If our leaders are not actually leading, that doesn’t get things done.”
Ryan dodged when asked to give a direct answer as to whether he would vote for or against raising the debt limit in a clean vote, saying that the vote would be on raising the debt limit in conjunction with spending controls.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) followed Ryan, immediately criticizing those who would consider voting against raising the debt limit: “I think it’s dangerous to kind of roll the dice on the debt limit. … This is literally potentially lighting the match that could burn down the house.” Warner, a member of the bipartisan “Gang of Six,” was asked about how the group was faring, “Bob, we’re very close,”Warner said, complementing Ryan’s plan for being “serious,” but going on to criticize it for placing a “massive responsibility on our seniors” to bring down the debt. “I think if we start with a bipartisan plan, I think there’s a whole host of folks in both parties who want to actually be for something,” Warner said. “I assure you, we’re going to make everyone mad with our approach,” he said referring to the Gang of Six proposal.
Asked about the president’s speech and whether it helped or hurt the work toward a bipartisan solution, Warner said, “I think the president laid out his vision. . .in stark contrast to representative Ryan’s vision.”