- Pelosi: No Hint of Jobs Agenda From GOP
- Barbour: A Way for GOP to Swallow Tax Hikes
- Goolsbee: Focus on Private Sector
- Paul: Debt Default Might Not Be the Worst Thing
- Palin: Don't Raise Debt Limit for Free
10:59 a.m. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi criticized majority Republicans’ job-creation efforts on Sunday, and she defended President Obama for having “pulled us from the brink of a financial crisis.”
“Five months in this new Congress, we haven’t seen anything close to a jobs agenda coming from the Republicans,” the California Democrat said on CBS’s Face the Nation.
She called bipartisan negotiations over raising the debt limit “civil and constructive” and warned, “We must not default on our loans, so we’re going to have to raise the debt limit.”
10:52 a.m. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour opened the door on Sunday to the possibility of Republicans accepting tax increases as part of a broad agreement to reduce government debt, citing the tax increases Ronald Reagan approved as president.
Barbour said he hates tax increases and believes they are bad for the economy. But if they are packaged with enough spending cuts in a budget deal, he said, “like Ronald Reagan, that may be the best we can get for the country.”
Barbour said that “there’s certainly a possibility” the nation will slide back into recession, “because the policies of this administration are bad for the economy.”
In particular, Barbour took aim at several of President Obama’s proposed energy policies, almost none of which have been enacted, in blaming the president for rising gasoline prices.
“This administration’s policy has clearly been to drive up the price of energy, so people will use less of it,” Barbour said, referencing Obama’s proposed cap-and-trade plan to limit carbon emissions and proposals to eliminate tax breaks for oil companies. “They’ve tried to raise the price of oil, they’ve tried to raise taxes, they’ve tried to raise the price of coal, they’ve made it harder to get permits” to drill.
10:35 a.m. Austan Goolsbee, the chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, cautioned Sunday against reading too much into Friday’s dismal jobs report and reiterated the administration’s position that the economy has exited its “rescue phase” dependent on government intervention.
“Our effort now as a government ought to be to get the private sector to stand up,” Goolsbee said on ABC’s This Week, adding: “The government now is not the driver of recovery.... We’ve got to leverage the private sector” to grow.
Goolsbee conceded that the recovery has been “somewhat slowed” by headwinds included high gas prices and the Japan earthquake, but stressed the trend of private-sector job gains over the last few months “is relatively clear.”
He rejected a suggestion that the economy was stuck in a prolonged jobless recovery: “It is not a jobless recovery,” he said. “That is an incorrect phrase.”
10:28 a.m. If Congress votes to raise the debt ceiling this summer, Ron Paul won’t be going along.
The Texas Republican, who’s making his third bid for president, said on CNN’s State of the Union that the current debate is “100 percent gamesmanship” and that “if they thought there was a problem, they would, you know, cut the spending and get down to business.”
“But, it will come down to the wire and they'll pass it because they will beat the drums of fear,” Paul told host Candy Crowley. “That's how we get things done in Washington, whether it's on foreign policy, you know, they're about to attack us and they're going to bomb us with nuclear weapons and they get Congress to do things.”
Asked by Crowley what the upshot would be if it didn’t pass, Paul said, “It depends on how it's done. If it was a sign that we were getting our house in order, it might restore a lot of confidence. It might restore confidence in our dollar.... But if it's just sort of a mistake and they missed it a week or two and something like that, it could be very negative.”
10:04 a.m. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Sunday that she would not vote to raise the federal debt ceiling if she were in Congress, and warned that the Republicans and Democrats who do raise the limit “had better get something out of it” in terms of spending cuts.
Speaking on Fox News Sunday and doubling down on themes she sounded during her East Coast bus tour this week, Palin blamed burdensome government regulations and debt for America’s job woes. She also offered an unqualified endorsement of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, including its controversial provision to transition Medicare into a voucher-style program to support seniors buying private health insurance.
She questioned whether U.S. military actions in Libya and Afghanistan were worth their cost to the federal budget: “We have to rethink everything that we’re doing with foreign aid and foreign intervention,” Palin said. “We have to make sure it’s America’s interests being met first.”
Amid mounting speculation over whether she will enter the 2012 presidential race, Palin said she was “still right there in the middle” on a decision and “trying to figure out what the lay of the land will be.”
She gently critiqued potential GOP rival Mitt Romney over the health care plan he enacted as Massachusetts governor, which includes a mandate for individuals to buy insurance: “I don’t like local, state, or federal government mandating anything in our families or in our businesses,” she said, “unless it’s about saving lives.”
But she apologized if her bus tour had distracted from Romney’s campaign launch in New Hampshire last week: “I didn’t mean to step on anybody’s toes.”
Palin spare no criticism for the Obama administration. Asked about the Treasury secretary’s warnings that the government will exhaust its accounting maneuvers by August 2 and default on U.S. debt unless Congress raises the borrowing limited, she replied:
“I don’t believe Timothy Geithner as he cries wolf for the fourth time now” on the debt limit. “We don’t have to raise that debt ceiling. We can make sure we’re funding that debt service as a highest priority.”
Geithner has consistently warned that the government would hit the debt ceiling in mid-May—which it did—and that Treasury’s “extraordinary measures” to prevent default would expire a few months later. Better-than-expected receipts from income taxes have pushed the potential default date, which is determined by career Treasury staff, back from July to August.
Geithner has argued that if the ceiling is not raised by August 2, markets will react as if the government had defaulted—even if it prioritizes debt service and enacts massive budget cuts to compensate, such as reducing Social Security and Medicare benefits.
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