Earl Ofari Hutchinson's take on the politics of the day
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In an exclusive interview on The Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour with host Earl Ofari Hutchinson on KTYM 1460 AM Los Angeles on July 29, Valerie Jarrett, Senior White House Advisor
VJ: We are still optimistic that when cooler heads come together and compromise, we will be able to get a deal done. The last few days Speaker Bohner has been trying to get a majority vote for the deal he is proposing in the house. The deal was amended today to make it even more conservative, proposing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution in order to raise the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling has been raised routinely by Democrat and Republican presidents. They have never proposed amending the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately he has a group of very conservative Republicans who are pulling him in that direction. Majority Leader Reid has made it clear that what they are proposing would never pass the senate. The president spoke a couple of hours ago and said the time is to come together and compromise. He encouraged anyone who thinks compromise is the right approach to communicate that to congress to have people let their voices be heard in this debate. There are several ways to accomplish compromise and he is open to all of them, as is Majority leader Reid and Majority Leader Pelosi. The Democrats have enormous receptivity and are hoping the Republicans will join us.
EOH: What are we looking at in terms of cuts?
VJ: I think there are commonalities between Speaker Bohner’s plan and Majority Reid’s plan. The president has been clear about not willing to accept entitlement cuts on the backs of our senior citizens, the disabled and people who are vulnerable while we see the loop holes continue to exist where the very wealthy are paying lower tax rates and tax breaks for oil companies or hedge fund managers. The president is looking for balance, and has made it clear that we need to strengthen Medicare, Social Security and not cut benefits. We could be more efficient with the way we allocate our federal resources, and the president has already taken steps to make government more efficient and cut waste.
EOH: Does politics come into play?
VJ: Yes. One of the comments the president made is that it is time to put politics aside and focus on our country and what is good for all Americans expecting their elected officials to work on their behalf. A short term bill of 6 months would be devastating to our economy. Businesses are saying that it would put us in the middle of the holiday season when retailers are looking to make up what they lose during the year, and adds to the uncertainty. The President’s goal is to get our economy going and create jobs. Nobody wants to go through this debate again in six months. We need to reach closure. There is a political game being played, but we can’t play political games when there is so much at risk. We’ve got to get our economy going. If we do not reach a deal by Tuesday, the result will be calamitous. For the first time in history, if we are unable to pay our bills, we will be downgraded by our credit agencies, and that means interest rates will go up, and we won’t be able to afford to pay for Social Security, our Veteran’s benefits will be in jeopardy. The president’s message is compromise, put political ideologies on the sideline and focus on getting the job done.