Face the Nation transcripts February 24, 2013: Duncan, Kaine, Ayotte & governors
Sunday on Face the Nation: Countdown to sequester with Sec. Arne Duncan, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Gov. Martin O'Malley, D-Md., Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Va., Gov. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., and Gov. Jan Brewer, R-Ariz. Plus: what's the connection between gun violence, video games and mental illness?
AYOTTE: I have offered that proposal along with Buck McKeon in the House. It's taken from the president's own fiscal commission. But I'm actually working on an alternative with other spending cuts to bring forward, working with other senators, that I believe we will bring forward, and I think that's the right thing to do. I mean, stepping back for a minute, think about you had the secretary of education on previously. If you look at between 2008 and 2010, if you add in the stimulus, the education spending increased 41 percent. So what we're looking at is how can we come up with more sensible spending reductions? I agree with Tim that we don't want to undermine our national security. I in fact traveled around the country with Senators McCain and Graham and actually went to Virginia. We've been talking about this for a year and asking the president for a year to come forward. In the campaign he said this wasn't going to happen. It's time for him to lead this effort as the commander in chief of this country.
GARRETT: Senator Kaine and Senator Ayotte, I want to ask you this, sort of, larger threshold question. The fourth quarter GDP numbers showed a negative growth and there were indications that some of that might have been caused or originated with concern in the defense sector. Both of you represent states with large -- that have large defense either operation or contractors. Is this the wrong time to be cutting any spending in Washington? Do we have -- do we risk any sort of contraction in the economy if we go through with these, no matter how they're composed?
KAINE: Major, I think -- I think it is a risk, and that's why I really think we need a balanced approach. You know, the Senate and House working together have already reduced spending by about $1.4 trillion, and as Kelly indicated, there was a $600 billion increase in revenue. The right way to fix it going forward is a balanced approach that doesn't cut too deeply. Just to use a Virginia example, yesterday Governor McDonnell, my governor -- you're going to have him on in a minute -- worked on a legislature of Democrats and Republicans for a compromised transportation package that reduced spending in some line items and increased revenue. It was a balanced approach. He had to buck Grover Norquist to do it. It wasn't perfect, because compromises aren't perfect, but it's that kind of balanced approach that will preserve Armed Services, preserve defense and enable our economy to start to grow instead of choking off what we're seeing as, you know, a strong stock market and some other indications that we can have real success if we approach this the right way.
GARRETT: Senator -- Senator Ayotte, quickly, do we have an austerity risk here or do these cuts need to happen; it just needs to be a debate over how they're composed?
AYOTTE: Major, I think that we can do this in a more sensible way. What we need is leadership from the commander in chief, rather than -- you know, he's been out campaigning -- even though this idea came from the White House, apparently from Jack Lew, his Treasury nominee -- he's been out trying to blame Republicans -- I think the American people are tired of the blame game -- to come up with responsible spending reductions. We can do that without hurting our economy, in fact, letting -- also dealing with our tax code to make us more competitive instead of just the first answer being further increasing taxes. That's what we can do to help economic growth and to move forward.
GARRETT: Senator Ayotte, thank you very much. Senator Kaine, we've got to go. I appreciate you both very much and we'll see you on Washington...
KAINE: Great to be with you.
GARRETT: We'll see you on Capitol Hill very soon.
KAINE: Thanks, Major.
GARRETT: And we'll be back in one minute to hear from four of the nation's governors.
GARRETT: The nation's governors are in town this weekend for their annual meeting, and we're joined now by Maryland Democrat Martin O'Malley, Virginia Republican Bob McDonnell, plus Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer and Democrat John Hickenlooper from Colorado. Governors, it's great to have you with us. Thank you.
O'MALLEY: Thanks, Major.
MCDONNELL: It's good to be with you.
GARRETT: I want to start with you, Governor O'Malley and Governor McDonnell, because I understand you had a conversation yesterday and you two, despite representing different parties, are trying to figure out some way to resolve the sequester across-the- board spending issue. What do you have to tell us?
O'MALLEY: Well, Governor McDonnell and I talk fairly often, actually, about issues that we share. And on both sides of the Potomac, we sit in the middle of a security -- I mean, a corridor of science and security. And this sequester stands to wipe out a lot of hard-fought job gains in Virginia and in Maryland. So for whatever our differences might be, we understand that this is an economic threat. This is going to hurt a lot of moms and dads in our region who go to work every day, working in places like NIH and NSA and also the people that work in the private sectors that support our federal government in these important missions. So both of us hope that the Congress will come together and find a way to avoid the sequester.
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