Debt

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      Congressman Mark Walker: We’ve got to get the spending under control and we hope the Administration will also begin to make this a high priority as well.

      Congressman Walker heads the House Republican Study Committee. A coalition of conservative lawmakers and made up of some serious deficit hawks.

      Congressman Walker: Many of the members who are now serving had that as part of their platform in running for the United States Congress, it’s something that’s crucial, we’ve got to take on.

      Walker’s caucus includes Tea Party Republicans who rode to office in the 2010 midterm elections campaigning for a rejection of Obama’s $800 billion dollar stimulus bill.

      One of them, Mick Mulvaney, is on track to be the next Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

      Mark Walker: Choosing Mick Mulvaney as OMB Director was the strongest message that fiscal responsibility is important. To me that laid down a huge line from this Administration saying that we are going to make fiscal responsibility a high priority, I have huge confidence in Mick and hope he gets passed Senate confirmation.

      On November 9, 2016, Donald Trump said “We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, hospitals, we are going to rebuild our infrastructure.”

      But President Trump campaigned on promises to cut taxes and spend more.

      Donald Trump on Oct. 6, 2016: “We’re cutting taxes for the middle class, and I’ll tell you we are cutting them big league for the middle class.”

      Donald Trump on Dec. 6, 2016: We've got to start spending on ourselves but we've got to be so strong militarily, like we've never ever been before.

      Maya MacGuineas: I am worried. I am worried because I think a lot of promises were made in the campaign that have big price tags with them. We have over promised, we have over borrowed, we need to deal with that first.

      Maya MacGuineas leads a bipartisan group that studies US fiscal policy. She says Trump’s proposals would add another $5 trillion dollars to the debt.

      Maya MacGuineas: The question is, what policies, spending cuts, entitlement reforms, or new revenues is our political system willing to talk about? Because, the truth is, and voters know this, politicians aren't coming clean about this. They're not talking about these tough choices at all.

      Dean Baker: We can’t just say Oh we are going to cut back on government spending, we’ll balance the budget and don’t worry the private sector will fill that gap. I don’t see that story as making sense.

      Economist Dean Baker disagrees on debt. He thinks spending cuts could bring worse damage to the economy.

      Dean Baker: It’s very hard to see how the debt is negatively impacting our standard of living now. I would argue that it's positively impacting it and that’s creating demand in the economy and if we didn’t have that demand from the budget deficit then we’d have fewer jobs, less growth.

      One pending clash could come between the President and his own party. Over half of the federal budget is spent on two programs Medicare and social security. That’s fixed. And it will take an act of Congress to change it.

      On May 24, 2011, Paul Ryan said, “We can save Medicare, but we have to reform it.”

      House Speaker Paul Ryan has spent years talking about reform. But he’s up against a President, who has promised there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.

      Even with a Republican president and a Republican Congress nothing can fuel a Washington fight like a battle over the budget.

      Congressman Mark Walker: Ultimately we have to remember as the legislative branch that we are the ones in charge of the Purse there may come a time, but to kind of guess or speculate, I think it’s a little early to tell, but ultimately we do have the fiscal responsibility in the House.