The markets cheered Tuesday when news came out the "Gang of Six" had a deficit-cutting plan and the President gave his stamp of approval. But as with all deals, the devil is in the details. One of my GOP contacts tells me they are leery of the plan saying the tax increases will be higher than what's being said.
One of the Senators who has been voicing his concern over the debt ceiling discussions and his fear of America becoming a dead beat dad is budget committee member Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin).
LL: The House's Cap, Cut and Balance bill is expected to fail in the Senate and the members have been told they are staying this weekend to vote on some sort of debt ceiling plan?
Sen. Johnson: It is a shame that the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act will not have a chance to be considered by the public for a longer period of time. If it were up to me, I would hold the vote to build public support to improve its chance of passage. I do not believe I will have that opportunity. By refusing to present a serious plan, the President and his allies in Congress have intentionally prevented a real debate on spending. That's not how we should conduct business.
LL: What do you say to Jay Carney's comment of the bill as “duck, dodge and dismantle.” ?
Sen. Johnson: He’s simply wrong. I have always felt that in order to prevent the bankruptcy of America, we must establish hard spending caps and the fiscal discipline that will force Washington to limit and prioritize spending. That is exactly what the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act would do. The fact that President Obama is so opposed to this approach reveals how much he wants to continue Washington's tax and spend business as usual.
LL: The polarization of both sides is very strong and the hatred is even palpable on main street. A small businessman I spoke with recently called the President a new type of socialist, an "Obamanist". How can Americans and politicians put aside their hatred to recognize the ramifications of getting nothing done?
Sen. Johnson: Elect more fiscal conservatives in 2012 that are willing to limit the size, scope, and cost of government. We won't solve the problem with politicians that just want to create more programs and spend more money.
LL: We are less than two weeks away from the August second deadline. How confident are you that a debt ceiling agreement will be reached?
Sen. Johnson: I'm not confident, which is why I wrote my May 25th letter to President Obama asking him to develop a "Plan B"...just in case.
A Senior Talent Producer at CNBC, and author of "Thriving in the New Economy:Lessons from Today's Top Business Minds."
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